What Is the Purpose of Rotating Crops in My Home Vegetable Garden?

I will give you an example to explain my theory: if you grew tomatoes in the same spot year after year, the soil would quickly become depleted of nutrients. Any pest or disease that is particular to tomatoes would thrive in the soil, overwintering from year to year.

Crop rotation is practiced by grain farmers all around the world for this same reason, so we should take a lesson from them, and instead of having our vegetable garden the same each year, help our vegetables to grow better, and the plants to remain healthier by rotating our garden plans from year to year.

Crop rotation, combined with adding organic matter each season, helps the soil replenish those depleted nutrients. When practicing crop rotation, you don’t grow the same plant (or even related plants like peppers, eggplants, or potatoes) in the same place for at least three consecutive years. The second year, by planting something else in the soil, any specific plant-related pests and diseases that survived the winter would find no particular plants to feed on. Usually with several years between planting of the same crop, the pests and diseases will die off from lack of a host plant.

Truthfully, this rule also applies to several flowers such as gladiolus, asters and tulips, to name a few, that need to be rotated to avoid an accumulation of pathogens in the soil. For crop rotation to work, the same plant should not be grown within a radius of 10′ from where it was previously planted. By this statement, I mean, that if you plant corn in four rows, you must keep corn at least 10′ away from the edges of the planting in successive years.

I would recommend that when you plan your garden on paper before seeding in the spring, you, at that time, make a three-year plan with the first section that you draw out containing heavy feeders and most root vegetables: potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, onions, leeks, and so forth. The next section could be for peas, beans, corn, okra, spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce and the next section would consist of things like cabbage, Chinese cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, rutabaga, turnips and radishes. The last section could be for rhubarb, artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, sea kale, perennial herbs and such things.

Rotate the above-noted crops for three years and in the fourth year, you can return to the way I have laid it out for you above if you grow these vegetables.

It would be extremely beneficial to you to learn which plants are moderate feeders, what each plant provides to your soil and what nutrients certain plants (vegetables) deplete your soil of (including those questionable plants you tend to grow out of curiosity or because your neighbor grows these plants and you want to grow them as well).

Unfortunately, you never find this information (important as it is) printed on the packages of seeds that you may purchase each year – you may have to utilize some other resources.

Do you intend to have a three-year vegetable crop rotation in your home vegetable garden?

Basic Yard and Garden Tools List

This is a list of commonly used yard and garden tools. For those that maintain their own yard, you will probably say that all the tools listed are already in your garage or backyard shed. The list was developed for first time home owners wanting to care for their own lawn and garden. This should provide them with the basics- enough to begin normal lawn maintenance. On the other hand, it may be enough of a warning to help them decide that they do not want to tackle what seems to be never ending task of lawn care.

To prevent this article from sounding like an advertisement, I will not list any lawn and garden maintenance companies for those that prefer not to purchase all the necessary yard and garden tools. After factoring in the time, manual labor plus the cost of the tools, there will no doubt be some drop outs for the do it yourself lawn maintenance program.

For those of you that want to go join the club and go forward with caring for your lawn, you may notice none of the tools have related prices. There are several reasons. Mainly the prices can change at anytime and I simply cannot keep up with them all. You can get pricing while shopping for the tools. I recommend that you do that anyway.

Basic Yard and Garden Tools List

  • Gloves
  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Shovel
  • Spade
  • Trowel
  • Pruner
  • Pruning Saw
  • Sprinkler
  • Garden Hose
  • Lawn Mower
  • Edger
  • Weedeater – gas or electric
  • Blower – gas or electric
  • Fertilizer Spreader
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Hedge Shears
  • Tank Sprayer
  • Hammer
  • Heavy Duty Extension Cord

Again, this is not an all inclusive list of yard and garden tools. It does cover most of the basic tools necessary for regular lawn maintenance. While many home owners have acquired a large number of other gardening tools over the years, the basic list here should be enough for the average startup home gardening and lawn care maintenance project.

The benefit of shopping for the tools yourself is that you can find the best prices. An additional benefit is that you will learn more about each tool and its respective manufacturer. So, review them all. Whether searching locally or on the internet, you will learn about quality and prices. Both will help you determine the right yard and garden tools for your lawn care needs.

Starting Gardens and Gardening

One of the most common misconceptions for first-time gardeners is that they think all they need is some dirt and a few plants. While technically this could be loosely considered a garden, it is more than that and you do have a choice to make. Gardens and gardening can be as simple or elaborate as you choose to make them, so it is a good idea to start a garden that fits your lifestyle and your needs.

Gardens and Gardening for Appearance

When you are out for good looks, the garden of choice is most commonly made up of flowers – a flower garden. Gardening with flowers is a great choice because it can still be as individual as you like. You have the choice of colors, shapes, sizes and possibly the most important decision – annuals or perennials.

Annuals will have to be replanted every year, while perennials will come back year after year without any additional help from you. Each type has their own pros and cons, but perennials are the most hands-off of the two, so if low maintenance is the direction you are looking for, look for perennials in your flower garden.

Gardens and Gardening for Food

When you think of a garden, chances are pretty high that you think about a vegetable garden. They do take a bit more work and space than most flower gardens, but the yield is tremendously rewarding and you end up with more to show from your gardening efforts and you will have fresh produce for a fraction of the cost of buying it at the supermarket.

Another major benefit to starting your own vegetable garden at home is that you will know exactly what has gone into the vegetables in your garden. When you buy produce, you have no way of realistically knowing exactly how it was grown or what pesticides or fertilizers were used. Gardening at home eliminates this worry, and by using organic and natural fertilizers you are ensuring the health and safety of you and your family.

Of course another addition to your food garden is fruit, but you should know ahead of time that fruit can be more high maintenance than most vegetables, so if time and effort are considerations, you may want to steer clear of fruit. If you are feeling like this is something you want to try though, you might want to start with a few strawberry plants, as they can easily be grown in pots called – what else? – strawberry pots.

Now that you have a better idea about the types and work involved in gardens and gardening, you are well on your way to having the perfect garden for you. All it takes is a decision!