Crop rotation may seem like an old fashioned farming method. Let us tell you why it is essential for your hobby farm.
What is Crop Rotation?
Crop rotation is a farming practice where different crops are grown in the same area of a field or garden, and are rotated every season. The main purpose of rotating crops is to change the nutrients in the soil. Crop rotation is also used to change which insects are attracted to the area. Rotating different families of crops is the typical method used in crop rotation.
Plants that are in the same family are genetically related. This means they also share some characteristics.It’s important to rotate through different families of crops. For example, you could plant corn the first year, soybeans the next year, tomatoes the year after, and so on.
They each benefit each other in the growing process. Many hobby farmers have vegetable gardens, which can still utilize crop rotation. For a vegetable garden, it’s easiest to divide your crops into four categories. Plant a family in each section of your garden. Each year, rotate the families to a different section. Examples of different crop families are found in the chart below.
|Legumes & Onions||Beans
|Potatoes & Others||Cucumbers
Crop rotation is vital for your hobby farm. It benefits your soil’s health and fertility. Some plants give off certain nutrients, while others use up the soil’s nutrients.
By using crop rotation, you can create organic soil conditioning. If you continually plant a crop that requires a lot of nitrogen and phosphorus in the same area, the soil will become depleted of all nutrients. By rotating crops, you can keep your soil healthy and hopefully free of nutrient depletion. Crop rotation can also help to prevent pests and disease from affecting your crops.
USDA Plant Hardiness
When working with crops and crop rotation, you also need to consider the area where you’re planting. Where you live greatly determines your growing season. You essentially want your plants to produce before you’re hit by the first frost. You can figure out your area’s growing seasons from the guidelines set in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone.
Crop Rotation Supplies
When you’ve started crop rotation in your garden, make sure to mark your crops with plant markers or labels.This will help you avoid confusion while they vegetables are still growing. You will also want the proper gardening supplies. A watering can, garden gloves, and garden hoe will get you started.