You should not grow
a vegetable in the same spot year after year.
If you do then two basic problems are likely to
arise. Firstly, soil-living pests and diseases
which thrive on the crop will steadily increase
and may reach epidemic proportions. Secondly,
continuous cropping with the same vegetable may
lead to the levels of soil nutrients becoming
unbalanced – it is a simple fact that most
vegetables prefer to grow in soil which has been
used for a completely different crop rather than
live in land used by one of their own kind.
Crop rotation is the answer, and the standard
is the 3 year plan. Divide the available land
into three sections, and plant roots in one, brassicas
in another and others in the last. The next year,
move them all along one strip, and again the third
year. By the fourth year the crops should be in
the same position as the first year. A strip of
land at one end of the plot is sometimes used
for permanent crops (asparagus, rhubarb, etc.)
and is left out of the plan. Not everyone is able
or willing to practice crop rotation, and unfortunately
all idea of a rotation is abandoned. It would
be much better to follow a very simple routine
– roots this year, an above-ground vegetable
next year and then back to a root crop…with
the proviso that if a vegetable does badly one
year then you should never follow it next year
with one from the same group as stated below.
Beetroot, carrot, chicory, Jerusalem artichoke,
parsnip, potato, salsify, scorzonera.
Do not add manure, and do not lime.
Star need: Rake in a general-purpose fertilizer
about 2 weeks before sowing or planting.
Broccoli, brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower,
kale, kohl rabi, radish, swede, turnip.
Add some well-rotted manure or compost at digging
time if soil is known to be short of humus.
Star need: Lime the soil unless you are sure it
is already alkaline; Rake in a general-purpose
fertilizer about 2 weeks before sowing or planting.
Aubergine, bean, capsicum, celeriac, celery, cucumber,
endive, leaf beet, leek, lettuce, marrow, onion,
pea, spinach, sweet corn, tomato.
Star need: Add a liberal amount of well-rotted
manure or compost at digging time.
Lime only if the soil is known to be acid; rake
in a general-purpose fertilizer about 2 weeks
before sowing or planting.