The Q&A Archives: Plant Rotation

Question: I've often heard that it is beneficial to vegetable plants to alternate their location from season to season- is this true?

Answer: It is true, and it's excellent advice from several standpoints. Insects and diseases can overwinter in the soil, ready to attack plants the minute they emerge. If you rotate crops, the favorite food of these pests will not be immediately available and the insects or disease pathogens will die. Some crops are heavy feeders and can deplete the soil of specific nutrients. Rotating your crops will give your soil a chance to recover and rebuild stores of these nutrients. It's always a good idea to map out your veggie garden on paper and plant crops that are not related, or not of the same family, in subsequent years. An easy way to do this is to grow root crops one year, alternate with above ground crops the next year, and finish up with leafy crops the third year, before going back to root crops. Hope this clears up any confusion!

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