pixelphoto
Senior Member
Posts: 155
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:13 am
Location: Middle Georgia USA

Crop Rotation / Crop Families

Many people do not know the different crop families and what is related to what.
For a good crop rotation you should always plant different families each yeah instead of just planting potatoes in the same spot every year. This limits the amount of pest and disease your plants will have by rotating out things. It also helps with the minerals and nutrients in the soil by not depleting them.
Most people know that corn uses alot of nitrogen. And Beans provide nitrogen. So if you have a plot and you plant corn in it one year the next you should plant beans to replinish the nitrogen the corn used the previous year.
I hope this isnt too long but here is a list of different crop families.

Apiaceae
Carrots Celery Celeriac Parsley Parlsey Root Parsnip

Asteraceae
Artichoke Chicory Dandelion Endive

Brassicaceae
Arugula Boccoli Brussel Sprouts Cabbage Cress Kale Kohlrabi
Mizuna Mustard Radish Rutabaga Totsoi Watercress

Chenopodiaceae
Beet Orach Spinach Swiss Chard

Cucurbitacecae
Cucumber Melon Pumpkin Squash

Fabaceae
Beans Peas

Liliaceae
Asparagus Garlic Leek Onions

Poaceae
Corn

Polylgonaceae
Sorrel

Portulacaceae
Claytonia (Miners Lettuce) Puslane

Solanaceae
Eggplant Tomato Pepper Potato

Tetragoniaceae
New Zealand Spinach

Valerianaceae
Mache

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Thank you very much Pixelphoto, this is a great thread to have started. Yes, crop rotation is very important. Not only that, crop interplanting is absolutely necessary for both soil and plant health.

Corn and Beans (the classic example) actually feed eachother in a symbiotic relationship when planted together.

And as far as crop rotation is concerned it's a good idea to plant crop families that have different growing habits as well as nutrient needs as well in alternating years.

For instance, after growing corn and it's associated companion plants one year in an area of land (notice I don't say section = 640 acres) carrots and their associated companion plants would be good for the next year (which includes peas).

See this site and others for companion plants:

https://www.sfn.saskatoon.sk.ca/business/steephill/company.html

Thanks again Pixelphoto! :wink:

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Great post! Here's two more sites about crop rotation. I really like Eliot Coleman's model on page 11 at this first site.
https://www.agmrc.org/services/cafeii/Production/organiccrop.pdf
https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profiles1200/crop_rotation.asp

Newt

pixelphoto
Senior Member
Posts: 155
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:13 am
Location: Middle Georgia USA

Funny you should mention Elliot Coleman Thats the rotation I use. I have two fo his books and love them both lots of great info in them. I havent finished reading the four seasons one yet but looks good so far.

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

I absolutely adore Eliot Coleman. I taped every episode of his Gardening Naturally program when it was on. I'd never really had a veggie garden before that, but he gave the omph to get one going.

In your climate, having a four season garden shouldn't be difficult at all.

Newt

opabinia51
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Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

I briefly went over that site and it looks interesting, I took notice to the diagram that Mr. Coleman had for a rotation scheme, I did notice that he was basically monocroping in his rotation.

Monocroping does have problems because it does not create a dynamic ecosystem above or below soil and several of the stages in the vegetable rotation contain plants that are considered companion plants which, when planted together and rotated though the planting area from year to year aid in building healthier and heavier producing plants and also in building a very healthy soil ecosystem which benefits the plants enormously.


And it is also a very good idea to intermix your green manures and cover crops with different species. The classic cover crop would be Winter Rye, peas and vetch. I like to throw in some clover as well in the spring and buckwheat is always a good addition.

The point is not to just grow a nitrogen fixer as a cover crop because it can lead to problems in the garden with to much nitrogen being fixed and if you just grow a non nitrogen fixer like buckwheat or Rye, there will be no Nitrogen added to the soil. I like to have a few more non nitrogen fixers than Nitrogen fixers (like legumes and so on).

And you can plant cover crops under your established plants.

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Opabinia, that is a scaled down version of how he plants. You might want to have a look at his site. He was a teacher at a university in Vermont. I can't remember which one at the moment, but he is a huge fan of compost and recycling as well as intercropping and the use of companion plants, especially around the perimeter of the garden, just like the old hedgerows farmers of smaller plots of land have. Not sure if he's still doing that.
https://www.fourseasonfarm.com/

Newt

opabinia51
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Great, thanks Newt.

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