Crop Rotation - Knowledgebase Question

Lagrangeville, NY
Avatar for Bob22371
Question by Bob22371
August 12, 2000
As I clean up my garden I am beginning to prepare some beds for next spring. I know I should rotate my crops. How many years do I need to wait before I plant my tomatoes in the same bed? How far away do the new beds need to be from the original?

Answer from NGA
August 12, 2000
Three to five years would be the normal range for rotation of tomatoes, with five being better but rather difficult in a small garden. Here is an example of a rotation.

Divide the garden into three areas, A, B, and C. Tomatoes would be planted in part A the first year, part B the second year and part C the third year. In year four, tomatoes would be planted in part A again. Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers should be considered together as a group for rotation purposes because they suffer from many of the same problems. Since there are other vegetables that also should be rotated such as the cucmber/squash/pumpkin/melon group, this works out rather well.

The distance between the areas is not that important because the rotation is aimed at avoiding a build up of soil borne problems and allowing time to rebuild the soil thoroughly between crops. A good fall cleanup routine helps with other problems such as insects and diseases or fungal infections that could be transmitted via old plant residues.

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