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It is best to have a system of rotating crops so that particular nutrients are not used up and pests do not have a chance to multiply. Using a four courses system means that each type of crop is only grown in the same place every four years.
It is not always easy to get a good rotation going as different crops need different amounts of space. The pragmatic approach is to try to rotate crops if possible and to avoid growing the same crop in the same place year after year.
The most basic crop rotation system is to split vegetables into four families: potato, root, legume, brassica. But we will not be growing potatoes in a square metre bed so will need to replace them with another crop
The diagram and table below give basic information for a 4 course rotation. There are other rotations and the scheme can be modified to suit individual requirements.
|A||Replacement for potatoes||Apply compost in spring|
|B||Carrots, beetroot, parsnips, spinach, chard, lettuce|
|C||Overwintered onions*, garlic*, leeks* followed by peas and beans.|
|D||Summer cabbage, winter brassicas, spring cabbage, other brasicas||Apply compost in spring/summer|
|B||Autumn planted onions, leeks, garlic, leeks, green manure|
|C||Winter tares||Check pH, lime if needed|
|D||Winter brassicas||Apply leafmold|
|* = planted in the previous year|