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Tracey Cole

Tracey Cole

Rotate your vegetable crop!

Whether you grow your vegetables in the ground or in raised beds, crop rotation is very important every year, to prevent specific pests and diseases building up on the same plants.

Also, some plant families, such as legumes ( peas and green beans), leave behind nutrients for the following crop, namely nitrogen, ideal for planting brassicas ( cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli). Potatoes and eggplant can also be affected by the same pests and diseases as the brassicas.
There are a few plants that aren’t necessarily in need of rotation and can be planted wherever is convenient to you. Perennials such as strawberries, rhubarb and asparagus can have their own permanent sections. Lettuce can be tucked in anywhere or grown in pots and sweet corn also does well in most areas.

Courgettes and squash are hungry, thirsty plants so an area with rich, moist compost will suit them. Be careful when applying organic manure as this can damage carrots and beetroot, however, tomatoes love a feed of an organic fertiliser.

Companion planting is a good way to help prevent pests from attacking your plants. For example, onions grown near brassicas, tomato plants by cabbages, and leeks grown near carrots tends to deter carrot fly also Calendulas planted between growing vegetables is invaluable. Herbs can play a role too, plant basil by tomatoes and lettuce, oregano with broccoli repels cabbage flies.

Crop rotation should ideally be over a 4yr period, so legumes, followed by brassicas, then onions and roots followed by potatoes;

Brassicas followed by onions and roots, then potatoes and in year 4 legumes;

Onions and roots, then potatoes, legumes in year 3 and brassicas in year 4;

Potatoes followed by legumes, then brassicas and in year 4 onions and roots.

For organic gardeners this method means healthy, pest-free vegetables without the need for desperate use of synthetic insecticide and fertiliser.

More advice and articles :

We at village gardens have a knowledge of all of your local edible plants here in South Africa. We can happily plant up your garden with edibles of all varieties from Mediterranean herbs and local indigenous edibles. We are surrounded by such stunning hardy indigenous plants, let’s get back to nature and have our own garden of local goodness.

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