Experienced gardeners know that for them to have a healthy soil in their garden, they have to practice crop rotation- the practice of planting different crops within one area. Crop rotation primarily improves soil fertility that is why it is good that you do not grow the same plants every year. For those who are about to venture on gardening and crop propagation, they really have to learn the basics on how to nurture soil. Planting the same crops all the time depletes the soil’s nutrients, which are very important in developing the good health of plants. You can expect a good quality harvest if you know how to rotate your crops properly.
Here is your quick guide on crop rotation:
- Switch regularly. It is recommended that you change the location of your crop every two years. If possible, do crop rotation in a span of three up to nine years.
- Diversify. If it is impractical or difficult for you to rotate crops regularly, then you can still grow one crop all the time. Just make sure that you plant this crop in the soil, which is about 10 feet away from the growing site last season. But if you really want to have a well taken care of garden, then you should explore the idea of planting a diverse set of crops in your garden. Having the soil in your garden support a new set of plants or crop at least bi-annually is a fairly good practice.
- Alternate plant groupings. It is advisable that you plant one type of vegetable or crop in different locations all throughout the garden. This strategy will increase soil productivity and avoid risky and large-scale pest infestation. For instance, legumes (Fabaceae family) have nodules, which are located in their roots that contain a bacteria that is nitrogen-fixing. It makes sense then if you alternate these plants with cereals (Poaceae family) that require nitrates. Another common rotation of crops is alternating corn (maize) and soybeans. When one kind of crop is interspersed with a different crop, then pests will also have a more difficult time reaching all the other plants of the same kind. You will notice that there are some patches of that crop, which are growing better than the others. This will also prevent the fast spreading of diseases in your garden that will affect the health of all your crops.
In choosing the crops that you will grow, you have to consider carefully first the type of soil, the average level of rainfall, and the climate in your area. These factors determine the suitable types of plants that should be cultivated. Crop marketing, as well as other economic variables should likewise be studied well when embarking in crop rotation. Of course, rotating the crops that you are planting is not the only way to have beautiful and healthy vegetation. Aside from crop rotation, you should not neglect the basic ways on taking care of your plants such as adequate water and sunlight, and fertilizers if needed.