Monday, May 3, 2010

Importance of Crop Rotation

If one wants to have a successful garden filled with different vegetables and plants, it is important to learn about crop rotation. Reading from The New Organic Grower, crop rotation is defined as the “practice of changing the crop each year on the same piece of ground”(Hawken 50).

The main reason to do this is because certain plants restore nutrients back in the ground that other plants can use and vice versa. All plants respond to diverse fertilization patterns. For example, it is good to plant beans one season and then switch to corn the next. The reason for this is because beans give off a bunch of nitrogen in the soil which corn needs a lot.

“Two successive crops do not make the same demands on soil for nutrients, nor do they share disease or insect pests”(51).

Besides not needing the same nutrients, rotating crops can reduce the amount of weeds and insects in a garden. When a crop is grown in the same place, the insects and weeds attracted to the certain plant will start to grow and build up. Weeds and insects are attracted to certain plants, so rotating crops is a good way to stop this problem. A good example of this are rotating potatoes with winter squash.

The book also states rotations need the best of "organic soil amendments”(54).
Manure is incredibly important to the soil and it is important it is rotated as well. Some plants need new compost every year like squash, corn, peas, and beans. While others are better grown on a ground manured the previous year like tomatos, cabbages, and potatos.

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