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Crop Rotation Examples and Plant Families

How to practice crop rotation

Crop Rotation in a 3 or 4-year cycle is highly beneficial for reducing diseases and pests by preventing them from establishing in the soil for the next season.

Sometimes not all your crops will do well in a season due to human error, weather or lack of soil amendments, which then opens the window for pests and disease. By rotating your crops you’re helping each crop family from being affected by these diseases and crops that reduces your yield.

If this is your first garden you can get away with not worrying too much about crop rotation. However, once you’ve had at least one gardening season you need to be mindful of what crops you’re growing in each of your garden beds.

There are a couple of different options for how you practice crop rotation, either by family or nutrient demand.

*EDITED* Many people have asked me for a pdf file of the crop rotation chart and plant family chart. I’m happy to now offer it and you can get it here.

Use nutrient demand for crop rotation:

All plants need the following

  • P= Phosphorus
  • N= Nitrogen
  • K= Potassium

Different crops need more or less NPK depending on whether or not they are a fruiting crop or leafy crop. Some crops are soil boosters and make fantastic pre crops before the nutrient hungry crops.

  • Soil Boosters: Dry/soup beans, snap beans, peas, fava beans, soya beans, cowpeas. Restores N.
  • Brassicas & Leafy Veggies: Cauliflower, kale, cabbage, broccoli, kohl rabi, brussel sprouts, collards, swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, mescluns, mustards, arugula, endive & other greens. Uses lots of N.
  • Fruiting Crops: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini/summer squash, melons, winter squash, gourds, cucumbers. Need lots of P & K and some N.
  • Root Crops: Carrots, radishes, parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, beets.
  • Less N & more P.

You can draw out your garden beds with each garden bed # and what crop families you can grow in each based on last years crop rotation.

I use this printable garden planner to make crop rotation notes.

Plant families for vegetable gardening

How to practice crop rotation with the plant families

I personally grow different plant families in the same group, such as the brassicas & alliums for companion planting. Becauuse I grow a lot of polyculture garden beds, I often end up with a mix of plant families together. Leafy greens I plant everywhere in the garden with interplanting and underplanting to make great use of garden space.

This means that you can practice crop rotation with ‘groups’ of families that work well together

Crop rotation is important for the brassica family

Here’s a visual guide using the plant families

Gardening Crop Rotation

Some Crop Rotation Info from Fix


Source: Fix.com Blog

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Crop rotation & plant familiesCrop rotation examples for the home garden

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Comments

  1. Hi Isis, I’m fairly new to gardening and I have 2 garden beds. One is 4 x 4 and the other is 4 x 6. If you plant multiple crop families in the same bed, can you still practice good crop rotation season to season? Or would it be better to use soil amendments to boost nutrients and keep pests away?

    • In general the healthier the plants and soil the better they can fight pests and disease and companion planting with herbs or flowers can help too. A lot of people plant crops from multiple families in the same bed; gardening techniques like square foot gardening is an example where you;d rotate each little square instead of whole beds. If you do notice a pest or disease build up it is best to avoid planting crops that will be affected for 3 years. I hope that helps a little!

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Many of the links to products on this site are affiliate links. These are products that I've used or recommend based from homesteading experience. I do make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) from these sales.Family Food Garden is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com