The Mains of Drum

Crop Rotation

Published 22/02/2022

It's so exciting starting a new veg garden or taking on your own allotment! There's nothing more satisfying than growing your own produce, and it tastes so much better than anything you can buy at the supermarket.

It's also far more environmentally friendly, with next to no food miles from plot to plate!

However, it's worth bearing in mind that in order to create a healthy plot that will produce some show-worthy veg, it's good to have a system of crop rotation in place.

It's easy to do! Firstly, you'll need a bed/area for anything perennial, such as asparagus, or rhubarb. This won't need to be moved and will stay in this position. Then, a basic three year crop rotation is split up into Area 1) potatoes, Area 2) legumes (peas and beans), onions and roots, Area 3) brassicas (cabbage, kale, broccoli etc). In the following year, legumes, onions and roots will be grown in Area 1, brassicas in Area 2 and potatoes in Area 3. In the third year, brassicas will grow in Area 1, potatoes in Area 2, and legumes, onions and roots in Area 3. Then the cycle repeats the next three years and so on.

Using crop rotation has many benefits; it can minimise pests and diseases on the plot, as the same group of veg isn't being grown in the space year on year, giving the disease less chance of finding a host. Legumes help keep nitrogen in the soil for the following crop of brassicas, ensuring the leafy vegetables grow nice and healthy. And finally, it makes it easier to plan your plot layout year on year, as you'll know exactly what needs planted where.

Now is a great time to start to create a plan for the layout of your produce using crop rotation. It'll ensure that you don't over sow any seeds in the coming months as you'll have a better understanding of exactly how many plants you'll need for each space. So pick up those spades, and get digging for your dinner!