All vegetable gardeners do it. Flip through endless pages of seed catalogs and click through a huge number of web pages looking at seeds for the vegetable garden. It’s usually the first step in the garden planning process. Once we know what we will be planting, then we can design the layout of the vegetable garden.
For many vegetable gardeners, the size and general layout of the garden does not change much year to year. It is simpler to keep paths and beds in the same places, allowing you to add organic matter when you need to and avoiding soil compaction.
But while the overall layout may not change dramatically, it is very important to move what you plant into different locations in the garden.
Remember the importance of crop rotation
Planting crops in a different location rather than planting the same crop in the same spot each year
can reduce problems with insects, nematodes, and diseases. It is important to remember that disease-causing organisms and nematodes will accumulate in the soil over time. Growing the same crop in the same location year after year will allow those organisms to reach levels that can cause infection of plants or kill them outright.
When deciding how to rotate plants in your garden, remember many vegetables belong to the same family. For example, peppers, eggplants and tomatoes are all members of the nightshade family. Don’t plant peppers in the same location that you planted tomatoes last year.
The key to successful crop rotation in a home garden is knowing which plant families contain the crops that you plan to grow. Good rule of thumb is not to plant anything from the same family in the same location or in the same soil 2 years in a row.