Large Crop Garden
vegetable garden plot
(Image credit: Southern Foodways Alliance)

Last year, you lost half your tomato plants and a quarter of your pepper plants. Your zucchini plants have stopped producing and the peas are looking a bit peaked. You've been planting your garden the same way for years, and up till now, you've not had a problem. Maybe it's time to consider home garden crop rotation. Let's look at why is crop rotation important and how to do vegetable garden crop rotation.

Why is Crop Rotation Important?

Different vegetables belong to different families, and different botanical families have different nutritional needs and have different issues they are susceptible to. When you grow plants from the same family in the same place year after year, they slowly leach away the specific nutrients that they need. Eventually, without rotating vegetables, the area will be depleted of the nutrients that the family needs. On a related note, vegetables in the same botanical family will also be susceptible to the same pests and diseases. Plant the same families in the same spot year after year and you may as well post a sign for an all-you-can-eat buffet for these pests and diseases. Rotation of your vegetable garden plants will stop these issues from affecting your garden.

Home Garden Crop Rotation

Rotating vegetables at home is simple: make sure plants from the same family aren't planted in the same spot for more than three years in a row. If a spot has a pest or disease problem, don't plant the affected botanical families there for at least two years. Rotation of vegetable garden isn't difficult; it just requires planning. Every year, before you plant your garden, think about where plants were planted last year and how they performed the year before. If they performed poorly the year before, consider how vegetable garden crop rotation could improve their performance. Now that you know rotating vegetables and why crop rotation is important, you can incorporate this into the planning of your garden. Home garden crop rotation can greatly increase the yield of your garden.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.