Crop Rotation

Written by 
Rate this item
(18 votes)
Simple 4 bed crop rotation plan Simple 4 bed crop rotation plan

Crop rotation is a very simple idea. It is the act of growing similar crops together in a single bed, and then moving them to another bed each year so that you do not grow the same crop in the same bed two years running, and the longer you leave each bed before growing the same crop again the better.

Rotating your crops helps prevent disorders building up in the soil. Moving the crops disrupts the lifecycle of pests and diseases. It also helps nurture the soil as each crop has a different nutrient requirement, and so growing the same crop in the same place year after year will drain the soil of the particular nutrients reducing the crop each year.

Rotation also allows you to prepare the ground specifically for the crop you are growing, so for example potatoes need a lot of manure, brassicas benefit if you add lime to the soil, and so on.

There are countless variations of the rotation system, from a three bed rotational system to an eight bed system. Which version you choose will depend on the size of the plot and the crops you wish to grow.

On this website we have classified plants into the 8 different rotational groups which gives you the maximum flexibility in planning your rotational system:

Brassicas

(cabbage family)

 

Cabbage, calabrese, broccoli,  brussels sprouts, kohl rabi, kale, cauliflower, radish, rocket, swede, turnip

Legumes

(pea and bean family)

 

Peas, runner beans, French beans, broad beans, borlotti beans

Sloanaceae

(potato and tomato family)

 

Potato, tomato, aubergine, peppers, chilies

Alliums

(onion family)

 

Onion, garlic, leeks, chives, shallot.

Umbeliferae

(carrot and root family)

 

Carrot, celery, celeriac, parsnip, coriander, parsley, dill, fennel

Cucurbits

(squash and marrow family)

 

Courgette, marrows, pumpkins, squashes, cucumbers, gerkins, melons.

Chenopodiacae

(beetroot family)

 

Beetroot, swiss chard, spinach

Miscellaneous

Herbs, other salad leaves, lettuce, fruit, sweetcorn, asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke, scorzonera, chicory, salsify.

 

If you have 8 beds on your allotment then you could split the crops as above, however far more common is the 4 bed rotation system, which groups some of the above categories into the same beds. Here is an example of a typical 4 bed rotation system.

 

 

Bed 1

Bed 2

Bed 3

Bed 4

Year 1

Enrich bed with compost or manure and plant potatoes and tomatoes (solanceae).

When crop has finished plant leeks for an overwinter crop, and onions and garlic.

Sow carrots & parsnips (Umbeliferae) and Beetroot and swiss chard (Chenopodiacae) Fill the gaps with lettuce and salad leaves. Follow with a green manure in winter.

 

Sow brassicas – kale rocket and cabbage in summer, and sprouts and winter cabbage for the winter

Harvest your onions and leeks from the previous year, then sow peas and beans (legumes). Add lime once the crop has finished for next years brassicas.

Year 2

Harvest your onions and leeks from the previous year, then sow peas and beans (legumes). Add lime once the crop has finished for next years brassicas.

Enrich bed with compost or manure and plant potatoes and tomatoes (solanceae).

When crop has finished plant leeks for an overwinter crop, and onions and garlic.

Sow carrots & parsnips (Umbeliferae) and Beetroot and swiss chard (Chenopodiacae) Fill the gaps with lettuce and salad leaves. Follow with a green manure in winter.

 

Sow brassicas – kale rocket and cabbage in summer, and sprouts and winter cabbage for the winter

Year 3

Sow brassicas – kale rocket and cabbage in summer, and sprouts and winter cabbage for the winter

Harvest your onions and leeks from the previous year, then sow peas and beans (legumes). Add lime once the crop has finished for next years brassicas.

Enrich bed with compost or manure and plant potatoes and tomatoes (solanceae).

When crop has finished plant leeks for an overwinter crop, and onions and garlic.

Sow carrots & parsnips (Umbeliferae) and Beetroot and swiss chard (Chenopodiacae) Fill the gaps with lettuce and salad leaves. Follow with a green manure in winter.

 

Year 4

Sow carrots & parsnips (Umbeliferae) and Beetroot and swiss chard (Chenopodiacae) Fill the gaps with lettuce and salad leaves. Follow with a green manure in winter.

Sow brassicas – kale rocket and cabbage in summer, and sprouts and winter cabbage for the winter

Harvest your onions and leeks from the previous year, then sow peas and beans (legumes). Add lime once the crop has finished for next years brassicas.

Enrich bed with compost or manure and plant potatoes and tomatoes (solanceae).

When crop has finished plant leeks for an overwinter crop, and onions and garlic.

Cucurbits and miscellaneous crops can be planted in any one of these beds depending on space, however once you have allocated them to a group, then keep them with the same group to ensure they are rotated along with the other crops.

 

If you are new to allotment gardening then I highly reccomend you have a a look at the following book. In my opinion this is one of the best books to help you get started:

Phyl @ The Allotment Gardener

Lifelong gardener and allotment enthusiast. Now have 3 allotments!

Website: allotment.uk.com
More in this category: « What to Grow
Login to post comments

NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

Unless you change browser settings you agreeing to the use of cookies.

I understand