Crop rotation is a commonly used practice that is designed to avoid any single crop from depleting the soil of particular nutrients. But is it really necessary in the home garden or allotment?
In short, if you are keeping your soil in good condition, then you shouldn’t need to worry about doing crop rotation in any kind of ‘official’ capacity. It is sensible not to grow things in the exact same place two years running, so perhaps don’t plant your runner beans in the same part of the raised bed that you did last year, but if you are feeding the soil well each year, then there’s no real need to carefully rotate crops on a four year programme.
You may have noticed that we’re always banging on about things like preparing your soil for spring, making leaf mould, having a compost bin on the go, adding well-rotted manure and using wormcast. Well, we bang on about it all because doing all these things puts nutrients back into the soil for your plants to use. With good soil management, in a home garden or allotment, then crops will still be able to access the nutrients that they need, and pests and diseases will diminish as soil quality improves. The key lies in adding plenty of organic matter to the soil at the beginning of the season. It really is that simple.
It’s important to say though, that we still think crop rotation is a good practice, and if you do want to do it then we would definitely encourage it. The reason for this post is to reduce that sense of being overwhelmed for anyone who is new to gardening or perhaps a little short on time/knowledge.