A question that we frequently get from new time gardeners is, “Do I have to rotate my garden?” For the sake of your soil, yes! As we all know (or should know), your soil health is critical for your garden health. Soil has the responsibility to regulate water, filter contaminants, offer physical stability for plant roots, cycle nutrients, and possibly most important, sustain the life of your garden!
If the responsibilities of soil are not enough to convince you, Carol Hancock of Extension Mater Gardener Volunteer Extension Mater Gardener Volunteer summed up the importance of crop rotation in three simple reasons:
- Increase nutrition of plants
- Increasing soil quality by having plants roots at different depths
- Improve soil structure
Make it simple
If you are concerned that you are not cut out for rotating your crops, have no fear! We are here to help and have simplified guidelines to help you successfully rotate your garden.
First: separate your crops into the major plant categories http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/gardening-techniques/healthy-soil-crop-rotation-zmaz10fmzraw.aspx?PageId=3
Second: use a durable paper or computer program do document your crop’s locations
Third: plant your crops. In the case of any left over area, plant cover crops in them.
- Cover crops are beneficial to helping keep out weeds and provide additional nutrients to the soil
Fourth and final: Stick to your plan!
If you require more in depth directions, a free online manual is provided by Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education.