Whether you have a farm or small garden, crop planning and rotation is essential to successful growing.
- Know your vegetable families.
Only vegetables within the same family should be planted together in a plot or bed. For example, chiles and tomatoes may be planted together, but beets and chiles should not. Also, in a crop rotation, a vegetable family should only be planted in the same area every three years. Checkout Grow Organic’s A Quick Guide to Crop Rotation & Vegetable Families.
- Create a plan on paper and/or on your computer.
Make a map of your vegetable garden for the next few years showing the plant family succession in each planting area. Keep your records in a notebook or in a file on your computer- somewhere safe and handy for reference. Below is an example of Lomita Farm’s plan:
- Plan on a 3-year rotation.
Wait 3 years before replanting families in the same location. This will help avoid diseases that plague vegetables within the same family.
- Soil maintenance.
Before planting a new crop, prepare the soil by clearing out the prior vegetable family, tilling the soil, and adding compost and nutrients such as fertilizer (we use E.B. Stone All Purpose Plant Food 5-5-5). Sanitize the tools you use in one area before using again in another area to avoid spreading disease.
Other awesome references to get you started: