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How crucial is crop rotation?

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How crucial is crop rotation?

Post  NowWeAreFour on 2/17/2014, 11:03 am

I'm having a hard time with crop rotation. Some plants need the extra sun that only certain beds get, some things need to be grown in the bigger beds vs. the smaller beds, the pumpkins have to be in the back bed so they grow toward the little-used rear yard, etc. Am I supposed to dismantle and move the trellis every year too? 

This will be our third summer, so while I managed to rotate everything appropriately last season, I don't know how I'm going to manage it this time. Plus, it's not like it took long for the flea beetles to find the eggplants 6 feet away and the SVBs to locate the pumpkins in the next bed over (grumble grumble--this year I'm armed with neem oil and wire!).

So how much do you worry over crop rotation? Am I making myself too crazy with this? I'm just starting to plan my layout, and it's already stressing me out. 

Thanks!

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Re: How crucial is crop rotation?

Post  Turan on 2/17/2014, 11:53 am

You can change up the mix instead of moving plants as well. Rotation is a first line defense against things like blights in the tomato/pepper/eggplant family. I think of my trellis use as year 1- tomatoes, year 2- beans/peas, year 3 cukes and melons. Repeat. Winter squash I plant in the maturing compost pile in the same place every year but the compost is a new pile every year.

I hope that helps.

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Re: How crucial is crop rotation?

Post  H_TX_2 on 2/17/2014, 12:06 pm

I have not been doing this very long but I try not to worry about it too much. I try and turn over the MM before planting my fall garden. Hopefully some of the pests will be found during the process and others will not make it through the winter. Each planting season also brings more fresh compost so the planting site is at least a bit healthier than before. I have not had any bad disease problems in any of my SFG beds so I have not been concerned with the disease staying around and killing my next batch of crops. If you have not had any big problems then I wouldn't worry about it too much.

My first year doing a garden I thought I might be able to escape some of the pests since there hadn't been a garden here in previous years. As far as I know none of my immediate neighbors have a garden so I might be able to avoid things like the SVB. Well those SVB showed this rookie how little I knew because my first year they found my plants and enjoyed killing them. Now I get a bit of enjoyment when I find one of their cocoons while turning over my MM and destroy it. You can't really move your crops far enough away to get away from SVB so crop rotation doesn't really help with that pest. Different story if you are attempting row covers.

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Re: How crucial is crop rotation?

Post  mschaef on 2/17/2014, 12:29 pm

The reason that you rotate your crops is because certain crops take certain nutrients out of the growing medium as well as to protect from bugs and diseases. We help combat the nutrient deficiency after plants have used it by adding more good compost. This puts the good stuff back but only if it a well balanced compost. The bugs and diseases cant be help unless you are to move the plants around a bit. Since you only have a few bed in the sun try moving the plants one square to the right or left. Just a thought...

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Re: How crucial is crop rotation?

Post  camprn on 2/17/2014, 12:48 pm

There are multiple back threads about this topic. If you read the previous threads there is a lot of good information there.

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Re: How crucial is crop rotation?

Post  boffer on 2/17/2014, 12:49 pm

@NowWeAreFour wrote:...So how much do you worry over crop rotation?...

Rarely is there any worry in my garden, and there is even less rotation.

(1) Rotation helps equalize the depletion of nutrients in the soil, and
(2) is said to be a prophylactic.

Adding compost after each harvest maintains nutrient levels for whatever comes next, and since  I haven't had any soil disease issues, rotation just isn't part of my planning.

Disclaimer: I'm lazy, and that influences some of my gardening decisions.  Also, I'm in a milder growing climate, and it appears we have less disease issues than gardeners who deal with high heat and humidity every year.

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Re: How crucial is crop rotation?

Post  Turan on 2/17/2014, 1:03 pm

@boffer wrote:

Disclaimer: I'm lazy, and that influences some of my gardening decisions.  Also, I'm in a milder growing climate, and it appears we have less disease issues than gardeners who deal with high heat and humidity every year.

+1  Laughing  This is an area of horticulture that makes me thankful for deep freezes in the winter. Though I did find out the hard way that potato blights take a very long time to die out of a garden even here.

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Re: How crucial is crop rotation?

Post  sanderson on 2/17/2014, 2:06 pm

I am also limited by shade as to where I can plant certain things. Keep the beds clean, remove diseased plants, wash tools and hands, add new compost before replanting, sanitize the trellises before replanting. Just use best gardening practices.

H TX 2, 2013 was my first year, I'm the only one gardening around and every garden insect in the Valley found my garden!

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Re: How crucial is crop rotation?

Post  rabbithutch on 2/17/2014, 2:51 pm

What are SVBs?  Google didn't turn up anything.  I can tell from context that it is some sort of soil-borne pest, but what is it?

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Re: How crucial is crop rotation?

Post  camprn on 2/17/2014, 3:03 pm

@rabbithutch wrote:What are SVBs?  Google didn't turn up anything.  I can tell from context that it is some sort of soil-borne pest, but what is it?
Squash Vine Borer

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Re: How crucial is crop rotation?

Post  NowWeAreFour on 2/18/2014, 1:06 am

@rabbithutch wrote:What are SVBs?  Google didn't turn up anything.  I can tell from context that it is some sort of soil-borne pest, but what is it?

They're pure evil on wings. My first year, I got something like 18 of the most delicious sugar pie pumpkins. My second year, I got...two. I was devastated. They killed my summer squashes too--didn't get a single one. This year I'm making it my mission to squish each and every one of those awful creatures. And I'm coming for you too, cabbage loopers!  Twisted Evil

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Re: How crucial is crop rotation?

Post  NowWeAreFour on 2/18/2014, 1:09 am

Thanks everyone, I appreciate the advice and best practices. I'll just do the best I can!

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