Creating a crop rotation schedule is pretty simple. You must first:
- decide what you want to plant
- consider how much space you want to devote to each crop
- divide your crops into three groups:
- root crops (potatoes, beets, carrots,onions, garlic,)
- fruiting (flowering) crops (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn)
- leafy crops (lettuce, spinach, broccoli, swiss chard, Brussels sprouts)
- leafy crops follow fruiting crops
- root crops follow leafy crops
- fruiting crops follow root crops
Rotating crops helps maintain the correct balance in your soil because each group of crops draws nutrients in different proportions from the soil.
What I did this year was make a list of what I wanted to grow and identified each type of crop. I then made a sketch of my garden beds and listed what I grew in each bed last season. Based on what was grown in the fall and what I had on my spring planting list, I determined what vegetable I was going to put in which bed.
If you had a particular pest problem in one of your beds, sometimes the best thing to do is to skip planting anything in that bed for a year. Without any host plant available for a year, whatever bug was eating your plants will die out. The pests will have to fly from another location to reach your vegetables.
As you can see, crop rotation is not hard. It just takes a little planning and forethought. But it can go a long way in helping achieve a healthy productive yield from your vegetable garden.