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Crop Rotation On An Allotment



Crop Rotation On An Allotment

Vegetable Groups and Crop Rotation
Crop rotation ensures that the same crops are not grown on the same piece of soil two or more years running.

The idea is to group together crops which have approximately the same soil needs and then plant them in a different place each year.

Creating a crop rotation plan however is not as easy as some books lead you to believe. It is not practical to divide your allotment into three equal parts and rotate the vegetables in a 3 year plan. Why not? A quick look around any set of allotments will show you that the area occupied by potatoes is much larger than for other crops and this makes crop rotation a problem. In addition, some vegetables such as runner beans cast a considerable shadow so moving their position each year might well cause other vegetables a problem.

Pest and Disease Control
By rotating crops round your allotment, the build up of pests and disease in the soil will be significantly reduced. The brassica family of vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc) will particularly benefit from rotation. If you grow them in the same position each year they will very soon suffer from club root disease and that's the end of growing cabbage on your allotment for the next 8 years.

Other vegetables are not so prone to the build up of disease. Peas, French Beans and Runner Beans can be grown in the same plot for several years without problem. We recommend you practice crop rotation but don't become a slave to it, although brassicas are the exception. Remember, the soil that sticks to your boots contains literally millions of spores and there is nothing you can do about that!

We propose two systems of crop rotation on the following pages. The first system is the standard one you see in all the books and web pages but it also  takes into account a larger area for potatoes. The idea is to divide the allotment into five equal parts. One part for permanent plants which will not be rotated such as fruit and herbs. Then four more parts which are rotated in a three year cycle. This system does not allow for any part of the plot to lie unused.

The second system is the one we use which takes into account the larger amount of room required for potatoes and it also allows a small part of the allotment to remain unused each year. At first glance this system looks  complicated but in reality all it requires is that the allotment is divided into 5 parts plus one more for the permanent plants. The 5 non-permanent parts are then rotated in an 8 year cycle.

Both rotation plans can be printed and kept as a record so that you know what to do each year. Alternatively you can order our laminated crop rotation sheets which can be pinned up in the garden shed as a more permanent record of what to do each year. This can be ordered by clicking on the buttons at the bottom of the next two pages.



Name: Derek Harold Hicks
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 01, 2011 - 12:56 pm
Message: I have some runner bean "beans" how do I store these for planting next year. thank you

Name: Lynne Bannister
E-mail: Private
Date posted: October 10, 2010 - 04:40 am
Message: I am looking for winter vegetables I can plant with children age 5/6. We have been given a small plot at school as has each year group.