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Plan a crop rotation

14 January 2014
Plan a crop rotation

Plan a crop rotation to keep your veg healthy and hold pests and diseases at bay. Moving your veg around your patch so you don't grow the same thing in the same place year after year means pests can't find them again quite as easily, and if you've had a minor outbreak of diseases like rust it doesn't get the chance to build up in the soil and re-infest next year's crop.

By spring you'll almost certainly have forgotten where your carrots or beans were last year, though, so writing it down is essential to a good rotation system – if you don't bother, it's all too easy to end up sowing everything in the wrong place.

So sit down now with a pencil and sketch what you grew where last season while it's all fresh in your mind. Hopefully you've grown your crops in three rough groups with their own sets of pests and diseases: roots, brassicas and legumes, plus a fourth group for veg like courgettes or chard which go anywhere.

Move each group around clockwise by one bed, and draw a second plan for the coming season showing what you'll be planting where. Hang it up in the potting shed and you'll never lose track again.