Beans produce better in new territory.

Certain parts of the vegetable garden are ideal for certain types of vegetables. Wire fences are perfect for pole beans to climb. Corn belongs at the northern edge where it will not shade lower plants. Vegetable gardening would be simpler if it were like permanent landscaping. Instead, vegetable plants are seasonal and very consumptive. They prefer fresh resources. Garden rotation gives them more of what they crave.

Garden rotation, or crop rotation, is growing vegetables where they have not grown recently. For the most efficiently planned gardens, it happens seasonally. Alternatively, some types of vegetables might be happy to grow repeatedly in the same soil for a few years. Some vegetable plants are more consumptive than others. Some soils are more susceptible to nutrient depletion than others. A few variables are involved.

Furthermore, the various vegetable plants deplete distinct sets of nutrients. Conversely, they allow other nutrients to replenish. That is why garden rotation is so effective. For example, if beans grow in the same location for too long, they deplete their favorite nutrients. The nutrients that they use less of secretly replenish. Tomatoes or corn might appreciate the replenishment, without craving so much of what is deficient.

Eventually, vegetable plants can return to a location where they grew a few years earlier. Again, a few variables are involved. Some might return after an absence of only a single year. Consumptive plants, such as tomatoes and beans, should avoid a previously used location for three or more years. So should related vegetables. Peppers and eggplants are related to tomatoes, so should avoid the same used locations.

Garden rotation can also inhibit proliferation of some soil borne pathogens. In other regions, this is a more serious concern. Soil borne pathogens that infest mildly during their first year might flourish with the same host material during a second year. Garden rotation deprives them of that.


2 thoughts on “Garden Rotation Shares The Goodies

  1. We have been growing tomatoes in the same length of garden for four years now. Everything seems just fine. We did this having read a couple of articles advocating the practice. We do supply them with fresh compost every spring though. Everything else gets moved through a seven year rotation.

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    1. Various vegetables are on various schedules. There are some that I grow in the same spot for several years. In the soil here, only beans seem to complain if not rotated annually, but I grow them on the same fences anyway. (Even if half as productive as they should be, they are still adequately productive.) Other vegetables get rotated annually only because of convenience, but probably do not need it. Technically, (if insects and disease are not a problem) with enough amendment and fertilizer, rotation would not be necessary. Rotation is easier and less consumptive than adding such amendment and fertilizer. What is the advantage of leaving the tomatoes in the same situation? There are a few native species here that are difficult to relocate without a good volume of soil, because they develop a symbiotic relationship with microorganism in the soil. If they are dug bare root, with only a bit of soil on their roots, it takes a long time for the equilibrium to be established.

      Liked by 1 person

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