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Tomato Bed Rotation

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Tomato Bed Rotation

Post  mapspringer on 6/27/2014, 3:42 pm

I know for the sake of avoiding potential diseases from the year before, it is advised to use a 3 year rotation for planting tomatoes (plant in 3 different places over 3 years.)  Well, looking towards the 2015 garden I don't know how I'm going to do this.  I really only have two ideal locations for them, with SFG beds built there, and this is the second year of rotation, meaning (if going by the 3-year plan) I would need to plant in a 3rd location.  Has anyone else encountered this "problem", and how did you go about adjusting, or not adjusting?  Is it truly that important of a rule to follow?
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Re: Tomato Bed Rotation

Post  camprn on 6/27/2014, 4:10 pm

I typically have not rotated my tomatoes on purpose, but I have not had any disease problems that winter doesn't cure before the next spring. I DO make sure I get plenty of good compost into the bed, for soil health and because tomato plants are heavy feeders.

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Re: Tomato Bed Rotation

Post  boffer on 6/27/2014, 4:21 pm

When I started SFGing, I pretty much threw all the 'rules' out the window.  A person could drive themselves to the funny farm worrying about all the things that 'could' happen.  I figure that when a problem develops, I'll worry about it then. I don't put any effort into rotating.

It appears that some regions are more prone to diseases than others, but if  you haven't had any diseases, my opinion is to not worry about it.  As camp said, amend properly and go for it.

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Re: Tomato Bed Rotation

Post  mapspringer on 6/27/2014, 4:53 pm

Thanks for the responses.  Those are the kinds of tips I like!  

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Re: Tomato Bed Rotation

Post  yolos on 6/27/2014, 6:28 pm

I am on a three year rotation for everything.  I get one or two diseases each year on my tomatoes so I choose to rotate and I have enough room to do this.  I do not know how effective our winters are at killing diseases so I am not taking any chances that the diseases are coming from the previous year.  I get enough new ones every year.

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Re: Tomato Bed Rotation

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/27/2014, 7:48 pm

We have a great many diseases here, and those that we don't have already are always liable to be brought in on any random nursery plant directly into our own gardens. The latter possibility strikes me as a great incentive to start one's own plants from seed.

Last year I planted so many beds with tomatoes and tomatillos that, if I wanted to practice crop rotation, I wouldn't have enough space this year for all the tomatoes/tomatillos I'd like to grow. So I got some five-gallon buckets and filled them with MM and stuck the tomatoes and tomatillos in that. They're doing great. Next year I will probably grow something else in them, like cucumbers or pole beans or peas or even squash, keeping the rotation going.

I also scrambled up the hill behind our house and stuck a few in some of the few sunny spots between trees.

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Re: Tomato Bed Rotation

Post  walshevak on 6/28/2014, 1:24 pm

Just my 2 cents. but I consider the fall planting to be rotation 1 and that gives me enough space and trellis to rotate every other year for the rest of the garden.  IE, collards/kale in the fall, tomatoes in the summer, peas in the fall, squash or beans the next summer. Of course there is also the lettuces, radishes, peas and such in the spring planting.  Plus I add a lot of new compost between plantings and try to bring my beds up to full depth before spring planting.  I also keep most of my tomatoes in buckets and dump the buckets into one or two of my beds during the winter and refill them with the MM already in the that bed, rotating the beds I dump into every other year.  Hope it keeps working.  This is my 2nd year doing that.

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Re: Tomato Bed Rotation

Post  herblover on 6/28/2014, 2:40 pm

I don't rotate my tomatoes; they are in the ground on the south side of my house.  I have never had disease problems; I do space them well apart from each other (I have 5 plants), attend them faithfully, and add compost in the fall when I pull them up.

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Re: Tomato Bed Rotation

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/28/2014, 3:10 pm

I've read people at tomatoville.com saying they never change the soil in their buckets, just add fresh compost yearly.

It seems clear that, like much of gardening, so much of this comes down to chance. If you have no diseases, there's little motivation to rotate crops. If you have a ton of diseases, there's every urgent and terrible motivation. Most of our gardens probably fall somewhere along a spectrum that goes from least disease to most. So what one person does may not be a good fit for someone whose level of disease (and bug!) infestation differs.

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