Crop Rotation

The logic behind the idea of crop rotation is that different plants extract nutrients in different combinations from the soil. By rotating the types of plants the soil is allowed to rebuild while still producing.

No hard or fast rules can be offered for the rotation of crops. So much depends on the suitability of particular crops to the area — this will obviously limit the selection. However, there are five different groups of annual vegetable plants and these should be rotated and intercropped.

These crops are classified according to their native characteristics and physical form:

Tuberous - potatoes, carrots, beetroot etc Surface - lettuce, cabbage, spinach, celery Shrubs - tomatoes, capsicums, beans, peas, eggplant Grains - corn, millet, rye, wheat, oats, etc Vines - cucumbers, zucchini, melon, pumpkin.

The selection of crops for successive planting can follow this sequence of groupings. For example celery could perhaps follow potatoes, then capsicums, then sweet corn, and so on. After harvesting a crop such as beans or peas (being legumes they add nitrogen to the soil) carrots, parsnips, turnips or beetroot can be grown without the need to add any more fertiliser to the soil.

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