Plant Magazine of Botanical-online September 2017

Natural remedies

CROP ROTATION

How to change crops to increase production and avoid plagues

Benefits of crop rotation

Crop rotation is a plant growing technique which consists on not growing the same crops in the same place. This type of technique is very common, for example, for cereals and legumes. It is also applied to plants that have deep roots and others that have superficial ones or for plants that require a different fertilizer. Crop rotation has been used forever as a traditional method to avoid spoiling the soil and to prevent pests or plant diseases.

With the emergence of spraying with chemicals, the use of chemical fertilizers and the use of agricultural techniques, plant cultivation was achieved for many years without crop rotation. However, the growing practice of organic farming, which is attempted without using insecticides or pesticides, advocates using increasingly abundant natural fertilizers, has once again put in place the benefits of crop rotation.

Crop rotation can be accomplished not only between different food groups but also between related groups. Crop rotation means that the vegetables should not stand forever in the same places. It has been shown that if they are planted in the same place, this usually promotes the emergence of diseases. For example, if vegetables from the cabbage family are planted in the same place one crop after another, after a little time, they develop abundant pests that affect these plants. On the contrary, if these crops are alternated with other plants such as peas, spinach or carrots, these diseases are much more controlled and it is not necessary to use pesticides.

Crop rotation also controls the level of minerals in the soil, maintaining a fairly high level so you do not have to add extra doses. For example, cultivation of legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, soy, etc) enrich the soil because of their fix nitrogen from the atmosphere.

Legumes have nodules on their roots where leguminosarum Rhizobium bacteria develop. They are nitrifying bacteria, since they are responsible for fixing nitrogen. Part of this nitrogen fixes in the soil, enriching it.

When planting vegetables, after legumes or in combination with them, they take advantage of the surplus that remains in the soil. Crop rotation is to learn techniques to combine the right crops in a suitable manner

If proper crop rotations, soil can be kept constantly busy, which determines a lower growth of weeds. For example, potatoes, produce as much air field coming to cover the soil to grow weeds.

How to rotate the vegetables properly

Before planning the rotation of vegetables we have to divide these plants into three different groups, as shown in the table below:

Vegetables that are well suited to rotations. The arrow indicates the order and direction of rotation

Vegetables that require special treatment

Types of vegetables

Legumes

Liliaceae
(onions)

Root vegetables, tubers and solanaceae
(Potato family)

Pea
Bean
Bean
Scarlet runner
Lima bean
Chickpea
Soybean

Onion bulb
Spring Onion
Chive
Chive
Shallot
Garlic
Leek
Shallot

Tomato
Eggplant
Pepper
Solano
Potato
Carrot
Parsnip
Salfisy
Colocasia
Jerusalem artichoke
Rutabaga
Beet
Sweet potato
Celery
Celeriac
Parsley
Fennel

Cruciferae (Cabbage family)

Cauliflower
Cabbage
Brussels Sprouts
China cabbage
Kale
Broccoli
Chinese Broccoli
Calabrian
Radish
Turnip
Kohlrabi
Rape
Kohlrabi
Oriental mustard
Pak choi
Mizuna greens

Cucurbitaceae

Cucumber
Pumpkin
Zucchini
Squash
Melon
Watermelon

Perennial vegetables

Chicory
Artichoke
Thistle
Rhubarb
Wallet
Perennial buckwheat variety
Perennial Lettuce
Dandelion
Watercress
Perennial cauliflower
Sweet lechuguilla
Asparagus
Jerusalem artichokes

Compositae

Lettuce
Endive

Quenopodiaceae

Chard
Spinach

Advice to rotate the vegetables properly

When planting vegetables some very basic rules should be taken into account:

- It is advisable to plant beans before planting another crop.

- The crops best suited to a crop rotation are those who have very different nutritional requirements. For example, if we have planted a crop that requires many nutrients to the point of exhausting the soil, such as eggplants, cabbages, potatoes or spinach, it is best to plant another type of plant that enriches the soil, such as legumes

- Do not plant one type of vegetable of the same group for over two years in a row. If a group of vegetables is planted for longer, many diseases often appear. Once you have abandoned its cultivation, you should rest the ground for this type of plants a minimum of three years.

- Deep-rooted plants should be replaced by shallow-rooted plants and shallow-rooted plants should be replaced with deep-rooted plants.

- Plants that require much manure should be replaced with plants that require less.

- The plants that cover the ground, like potatoes, should be planted before those that have a more open and upright growing, like onions, to control the growth of weeds.

- Salad plants will alternate between other crops or in clumps with other perennial plants.

- Perennial vegetables should not be rotated. It is best to include them in their own clumps.

Crop rotation calendar

The following table shows an example of crop rotation for a period of 10 years.

First period of 5 years

1st year

Winter

Spring - Summer

Summer - Fall

Spinach

Tomatoes

Escarole or Cabbage

2nd year

Winter

Spring - Summer

Summer - Fall

Escarole or Cabbage

Peas or Beans

cauliflower

3rd year

Winter

Summer - Fall

Summer - Fall

Cauliflower

Lettuce

Artichokes

4th year

Winter

Summer - Fall

Spring - Summer - Fall

Artichokes

1 yearLettuce

Artichokes

Artichokes

5th year

Winter - Spring - Summer

Summer - Fall

Artichokes

Spinach

Second period of 5 years

1st year

Winter - Spring - Summer

Summer - Fall

Tomatoes

Celery

2nd year

Winter

Spring - Summer

Summer - Fall

Fall

Celery

Melon

Cauliflowers

Onions

3rd year

Winter-Spring

Spring - Summer - Fall

Fall

Onions

Sweet potatoes

Peas

4th year

Winter - Spring - Summer

Summer - Fall

Peas

Strawberries

5th year

Winter - Spring - Summer

Summer - Fall

Strawberries

Lettuce

More information on vegetable growing in the listing above.

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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.
"Botanical" is not responsible for damages caused by self-medication.

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