I was just reading in another group where crop rotation for the home
gardener really doesn't help much in preventing plant diseases. The
reasoning behind this thought is that the average home gardener simply
can't move his crops far enough away from where they were planted the
previous year. The article stated that you need to move your crop at
least 1/4 mile away because it's likely that the soil will be diseased
up to that distance. One guy in the group said he has been planting his
tomatoes in the same spot year after year for many years now and can see
no difference. Others in the group also confirm this and state that
they get a good crop every year as long as the soil is properly
fertilized each year. Seems to make sense to me. Your thoughts on
rotating crops a very short distance compared to no less than a 1/4 mile
from where they were grown last season :)
It would really help, if you could identify your source of
The problem is with monocultures, where a pest can set up house and wait
for its favorite substrate to be replanted. I have 2 problematic spots
in my garden. In my root garden, if I plant basil next to the retaining
wall, a wilt kills them. (Was probably the seeds that introduced it and
no basil has been planted there in 3 years. In 2 years, I may try
again.) In another bed, I have a ten foot section where beans and
tomatoes get leaf curl and wither away. The other 6 feet are fine. The
tomatoes 50 ft. away are fine.
Plants within the same taxonomic family tend to have similar pests and
pathogens. My problem is that I grow so much from the family Solanaceae
(peppers, tomatoes, potatoes), which take the sunniest portions of my
yard with the cucurbits getting the area that is a little less sunny,
and the Swiss chard and the lettuce getting the least sunniest areas.
I got away with no crop rotation for 10 years. Now I pay attention.
If you can rotate your crops from one end of a raised planter to the
other end, I think you will save yourself some grief.
A quarter mile is more what you do to avoid cross pollination.
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the
This is mainly referring to reducing opportunities for pests which I take to
be insects, nematodes, snails etc. These are obviously fairly mobile,
especially insects. It also mentions microbial issues in passing. Microbes
are much less mobile and so rotation is likely to have more effect. For
example if you have a soil-carried fungus like fusarium wilt attacking your
eggplant don't plant other solanums (which are also susceptible to it) in
the same plot for several years.
The matter of nutrient depletion is not mentioned at all. The last issue
can be dealt with in other ways but there are situations where it does need
to be considered. For example if you have just fertilised with a
nitrogenous manure (chook poo) or you have just grown a legume in the plot
it is smart to plant something that needs lots of N (eg corn) instead of
something that doesn't need it. If you never rotate only one bed is going
to get the benefit of nitrogen fixing from legumes. You don't want to plant
carrots in a bed that is very enriched because they will be the worse for
it. Some rather neat permaculture systems which includes having chooks on
the plot as one stage of the rotation instead of weeding and cultivating.
I agree that rotation is not absolutely essential for the home gardener and
doing it strictly is likely to be more constraints on your management than
you need but there are advantages to be gained. I don't practice strict
rotation nor do I reject it out of hand.
I grow things like I live - eclectically.
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