Crop Rotation is the best way to break up weeds and disease cycles in your organic vegetable garden, by not growing the same vegetable variety in the same place twice; you will not allow soil born disease to build up in the soil.
Separate vegetables into 3 categories for crop rotation, to minimize nutrient depletion & build up of soil pathogens.
First crop are heavy feeders, which have a high biomass, plus a shallow root system that depletes the soil.
Examples are Potatoes, Corn, Broccoli, Pumpkin, Melons,
Leaf Crops: Lettuce, Cabbage, Silver Beet.
Second crop should be planted with soil improvers that will replace nutrients into the soil.
Examples are Legumes that return nitrogen to the soil. Broad Beans, Peas, Beans, Clover, Alfalfa, Bio-Mustard and Lucerne.
Third crop is the time to plant light feeders as noted in the graph as follows (this is the last crop of the cycle so the next crop will go back to Heavy Feeders).
Examples are Onions, Beets, Carrots, Parsnip, Parsley, Capsicum, Leeks.
Rotating your crops will reduce the build up of pathogens caused by continual cropping of the same crop in the same position.
It’s good to note that bio-diversity in the garden will stop 90% of pest problems.
Example of a crop rotation using 4 beds
Bed 1: Root Crops, onions
Bed 2: Legumes (peas, beans), brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts)
Bed 3: Tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum (peppers)
Bed 4: Sweet corn, curcubits (cucumber, melons, pumpkin)
Growing Flowers Intermixed With Your Vegetables
By growing a combination of flowering perennials & shrubs along side your food crops, you can establish a balance and diversification that will greatly control pest numbers, providing nectar for predatory insects such as bees and wasps will keep damaging insects under control. These predatory insects need a high protein, high sugar diet found in flowers that don’t have deep pollen tubes such as plants from the Daisy family and also the Parsley family, so companion planting with these varieties will work with you to keep those pests at bay...
The most damage occurs in the summer months so keep summer flowering plants dominant.
In the Spring, grow Artichoke, Calendula, Marguerite, Daises, Gazania, Feverfew, Gaillardia or Yarrow.
In the Summer, grow Shasta, Cosmos, Aster, Zinnia, Sunflower, Carrot, Coriander, Queen Ann’s Lace, Fennel and Dill.
DONT USE toxic sprays no matter what! Toxic pesticides kill bees, to the organic vegetable gardener bees are so valuable because they fertilize the flowers that produce fruit and seed.
Crop Rotation should be planned out before you start planting out your vegetables. Just remember that bio-diversity in the garden breaks up 90% of pest and diseases on plants and never grow the same crop twice in the same spot.
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