Senior Member
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:17 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, 6A

Crop rotation questions/issues.

Background: Raised beds (Bed A is raised off the ground, 32 sq'; Bed B is on the ground, 16 sq'); mix of compost, peat & vermiculite.

This year's crops: Bed A: Spinach, leaf lettuce, parsley, bell peppers, basil, rosemary, thyme, yellow squash, cilantro. May throw some chives in there for the heck of it. Bed B: snap peas (failed to sprout), tomatoes, pepperoncini, cukes, rosemary, sage. Both beds have some marigolds planted here and there.

I know you're not supposed to plant the same things every year in the same place (especially things like beans and peas). But when you only have a small planting area, and some things (like tomatoes), only work for you in certain spots....what do you do? I'm trying to do Square Foot Gardening due to my limited space. If I mix all the dirt around in the beds prior to them freezing in the winter, would that sufficiently mix things up so that I can plant the same crops in the same spots next year (though I plan to *try* to let the rosemary and parsley overwinter where there are, just as an experiment)?

What's the risk if I just can't get things into different spaces?

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2097
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:27 pm
Location: Mid Ohio

Many many gardners grow their tomatoes in the same spot year after years with no problem. Crop rotation is mainly needed by farmers who are trying to conserve nutrients, and who plow under diseased crop residue instead of taking it away. Gardners tend to replenish nutrients adequately nd clean up .

The only thing I would rotate every year would be potatoes because they send up volunteers that can carry disease (late blight), so are impossible to to pull out if you don't know what is what in a replanted patch. The only other thing I would worry about is putting beans or peas in the year or two after onions because onions seem to leave behind something that legumes don't like.

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Ozark Lady
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1862
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:28 pm
Location: NW Arkansas, USA zone 7A elevation 1561 feet

I would simply pretend that each area is its own bed.
If you are doing square foot gardening, then I would simply plan by the foot!
I often roate my beds.
In a 4x8 bed, I will divide it into 4 zones, and just rotate the zones. I may have tomatoes in that bed every year, but in year 1 they will be in zone 1, then zone 2 etc.
The main reason to roate is different crops use up different nutrients.
So, the idea is that by rotating them, the demand on a certain nutrient in a certain area, will not lead to deficiencies and set the plant up for disease.
So, with healthy plants and feeding your soil, you should be fine.
Just look up what various plants use in the soil, and make sure that you replenish what was used up.
I used only manure for years, and I now am discovering that I have a nitrogen deficiency, so I added fish meal to my manure this year.
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Agree with above. I have a city lot with lots of big old trees and limited sunny areas, so I grow my tomatoes in the same raised bed every year. As noted you need to keep replenishing the soil and I do not leave the tomato vines in the bed (they are dried, shredded and then added to the compost pile). Works fine for me.
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