The Q&A Archives: vegetables

Question: I've planted tomatoes,potatoes and onions on one vagetable bed for 5 years, I want to plant other crops next year to give the soil a break. subgestions?

Answer: Good idea! Crop rotation prevents the buildup of diseases that live in the soil. Certain bacteria, fungi and viruses build up their populations during the growing season, while they are living on crops. Disease populations can become established if the same or a related crop is present and becomes infected each year. Crop rotation counteracts this problem.

The key to successful crop rotation is to remember that plants that are related tend to have the same disease and pest problems. The rotation scheme needs to be set up so a crop does not follow another crop of the same family. For that reason, grouping vegetables by family is a good idea.

Eggplant, potato, tomato, and pepper are all members of the nightshade family so instead of planting these, try the mustard family (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, collards, kohlrabi, sprouting broccoli, pak choi, Chinese cabbage, turnip, broccoli raab, mustard greens, rutabaga, radish, horseradish), the parsley family (carrot, fennel, parsley, celery, parsnip, celeriac), or the gourd family (pumpkin, squash, cucumber, melons). Of course you can also plant beans, peas, lettuces and spinach.

Hope you have a bountiful harvest!

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