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
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.
GO TO STANDARD CROP
GARDENACTION CROP ROTATION PLAN