Rotation – Alternation of Vegetables

Plants do not grow well for several years continuously in the same land. Therefore we change their place on the garden – we alternate. With this, we allow a homogeneous use of nutrients in the earth and slow down the development of diseases and pests. The main rule of rotation is that every year, the plants must grow plants of different botanical families.

Botanical families

  • FABACEAE: They improve the fertility of the soil and harrow it; they are often used for green fertilization. Legumes (bean, pea, broad bean, chickpea, soy, lentil …), dates, alfalfa are part of it.
  • BRASSICACEAE: After the Fabaceae, it is good to plant the Brassicaceae, which are large consumers of nutrients. They require a large turnover – 5 years. The crucifers are part of it (cabbage, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli …), turnip, rutabaga, horseradish, radish, rocket, colza and rape, white mustard …
  • SOLANACEAE: They are not sensitive to a short turnover, two years are enough. It includes tomato, pepper, aubergine, potato …
  • APIACEAE: Turnover every three or four years. They do not tolerate manure or slurry fertilizing well. It includes carrot, parsley, celery, coriander, fennel, cumin …
  • CHENOPODIACEE (SPINACH): They require a very wide rotation. It includes spinach, beet, beetroot, vegetable garden, quinoa …
  • ASTERALES: At least every three years. It includes lettuce, radicchio, endive, dandelion, and comfrey …
  • CUCURBITACEE: A turnover of three years is sufficient. They like fertilizing with manure. It includes cucumber, courgette, pumpkin, watermelon, melon …
  • BULB VEGETABLES: At least every three years. They do not tolerate manure and other organic nutrients. It includes onion, garlic, shallots, leeks, chives …

Pulses and bulbous vegetables do not like each other and, therefore, cannot be used under any circumstances! Some good combinations: Cruciferae after legumes, Brussels sprouts after new potatoes, peas after Cruciferae, spinach or celery after potatoes, cauliflower after celery, beetroot after lettuce or kohlrabi, the onion after Cruciferae or carrots. Also, plant flowers, especially marigolds, marigolds, and nasturtiums, are useful. Avoid gladiolus and dahlias only.

Planning of the rotation

We design in winter or when the garden is empty. We divide the vegetables into three groups according to the needs of nutrients, and for each, we take a third of the garden: demanding (cruciferous and fruit-bearing vegetables), less demanding (roots, Apiaceae, leek, tall beans) and non-demanding (lettuce, vegetables in the bulb, low pulses). To this, we adapt the fertilization project: the demanding must be fertilized with manure or the recommended amount of fertilizers purchased, the less demanding with compost or half the number of fertilizers purchased, the non-demanding do not need to be fertilized. In the rotation, we also consider plants for green fertilization.

A rotation of four years is also fine, where a quarter of the earth is left to rest, we plant the plants for green fertilization. It is not important for the rotation to succeed completely; the important thing is that it will succeed in most cases. The simplest variant is to take into account the parts of the plant that we consume: first, the fruit vegetables or seeds, then the antophytes (cauliflower, artichoke …), the leaves, and at the end the tuberous roots/plants. If we have a net for tall plants, we only plant on half of the net, and on the other half, we plant low vegetables, the following year, we replace the halves, and we get a turnover of two years.

Turn-around system

  • On the first plot, there are the major consumers of nutrients, which must be fertilized with manure (on heavy soils necessarily autumn) or a large number of organic fertilizers. On this plot must necessarily be cruciferous (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi). You can also find pumpkins, courgettes, cucumbers, aubergines, melons and watermelons, new potatoes, spinach.
  • The second plot follows the first one (this part was fertilized with manure the previous year). Here we fertilize more moderately with purchased organic fertilizers. We can add some mineral nutrients. We use homemade compost. Here we plant plants resistant to cold: lettuce, Brussels sprouts, lamb’s lettuce, spinach, leek, chard. During the year: kohlrabi, radicchio, endive, tomato, pepper, beetroot, celery, rutabaga, turnip, leaf parsley, parsnip.
  • The third part of the garden – not fertilized. Here we plant carrot, root parsley, onion, garlic, shallot, legumes. After the pulses, we can plant the same year lettuce, endive, radicchio…
  • In the fourth year, we start the cycle from the beginning.

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