You don’t have to be a full-fledge farmer to reap the benefits of rotating crops. This technique even helps out the smallest garden space. Of course the larger area your garden takes up, the more likely you will be to use the following informational tidbits. Here are 5 reasons crop rotation is beneficial.
5 Soil Structure is Improved
Deep-rooted plants and shallow-rooted plants can be alternated to help rearrange the granules of soil. This change in arrangement of the soil pores influences air and water movement throughout the dirt. When this movement is compromised by planting the same crops over and over again, eventually plants begin to do poorly.
4 Diseases Are Less Common
Some fungi that can remain dormant in the soil during the winter, switching crops will prevent the fungus from damaging even more plants. A variety of plant diseases will become more severe if left to contaminate crops every year. Rotating crop will keep the diseases from running rampant through every crop.
3 Soil Erosion is Less with Some Types of Crop Rotation
Rotating plants that offer the greatest amount of crop stubble prevents soil to be lost due to heavy rainfall. When the ground is protected by leftover plant parts from the previous crop, sediments aren’t carried away by the rain, thus leaving soil and nutrients in place for next year’s crop.
2 Pests Can Be Controlled without Lots of Chemicals
When pests locate a crop they enjoy devouring, they will often lay eggs in the soil to attack next year’s crop. If the gardener plants a completely different crop the following year, the number of pests will decrease due to their lack of food.
1 Allows Soil to Remain Fertile
Rotating crops keeps the same plants from growing in a certain area over and over again. When the same types of plants are grown year after year in the same place, nutrients are depleted. Each plant needs specific nutrients. Rotating crops allows the plants of the following year to return some of the nutrients used by the variety of plants before them. For instance, soybeans have nitrogen-fixing bacteria in nodules on their roots. These plants can put nitrogen back into the soil after a corn crop has depleted it.
Even if you don’t feel you need this information, it is something to keep in mind. Do you already practice crop rotation in your garden?
Top Photo Credit: Michael Oh
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