Rotating vegetable crops each year sounds complicated
but it’s not. It is essential to prevent
pests and diseases building up in the soil and
to give the plant roots the right nutritional
A lot of it is common sense. If a particular
plant such as onion suffers from a soil borne
disease then it is better to grow a different
plant in that position the following year. The
onion is part of a big family which includes
chives, garlic and spring onion therefore none
of these should follow the onion crop for a
It is for this reason that commercial growers
don’t plant potatoes in the same ground
year after year.
vegetables such as the brassicas prefer an alkaline
soil and benefit from an application of lime
before planting. They also do best in a rich
soil with nitrogen and lots of well rotted farmyard
Root crops such as carrots, parsnips and beetroot
prefer soil that hasn’t been limed and
is low in nitrogen fertilizer. Too rich a soil
will encourage a lot of leaf growth and cause
the roots to split so these crops may follow
the third year the plot should be used to grow
other vegetables such as peas, beans, celery,
lettuce, spinach and onions.
If you divide the vegetable area into three
and plant one group of plants in each then one
crop can follow the other without overlapping.
You will still get pest and disease problems
but they will be kept to a minimum. There is
no control against flying pests such as cabbage
white butterfly and the resulting caterpillars
or carrot root fly but a covering of horticultural
fleece will keep them away from your crops.
Remember that some diseases such as onion rot
may be spread from one location to another on
the contaminated soil on your boots.
Do not apply lime and farmyard manure at the
same time to the same ground. Apply the lime
in late autumn and the manure in early spring.
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