February 2024 - Crop Rotation

February 2024 - Crop Rotation

Crop rotation plays an important part in ensuring healthy plants and great yields. There are some perennials that this does not apply to, asparagus, artichokes, rhubarb etc.

If you have an allotment you have plenty of room to practice crop rotation but it is possible even with a lot less available space. For instance, in our garden we have three areas for growing produce, one border and two 2 x 1 meter raised beds.

It makes perfect sense to switch planting areas each year. By doing this you prevent your soil being exhausted by the same plants depleting the same nutrients.

Many systems exist but they all pretty much do the same thing i.e., groups certain vegetables together and then rotate said groups over a period of years, usually three or five.

In short:

Year 1 would be: peas, beans and fruiting vegetables

Year 2 would be: brassicas

Year 3 would be: roots, onions and leaves

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Aubergine Cauliflowers Onions
French Beans Cabbages Beetroot
Tomatoes Brussels Sprouts Carrots
Soya Beans Kale Parsnips
Sweet Peppers Swedes Potatoes
Broad Beans Radishes Sweet Potatoes
Peas Calabrese Garlic
Mangetout Sprouting Broccoli Shallots
Sugar Snap Peas Kohl Rabi Spring Onions
Lima Beans Turnips Celery
Chillies Pak Choi Florence Fennel
Okra Mustard Greens Jerusalem Artichokes
Sweetcorn Oriental Brassicas Swiss Chard
Cucumbers Choy Sum Leaf Beet
Pumpkins Spinach
Squashes Chicory
Salad Leaves


The benefits of planting the Year 1 group is that the peas and beans have the ability to absorb nitrogen from the air and store it in nodules on their roots. If you leave the roots in the ground after harvest, the following year's crop will benefit from the added nitrogen.

It makes perfect sense to rotate the Year 2 group into the Year 1 space because they are all nitrogen hungry and they are the group that is most susceptible to clubroot. By rotating you lessen the risk of this.

Year 3 come under the root veg badge and they mostly have a low nitrogen requirement and therefore ideal for following in Year 2's footsteps.

If you have plenty of space available you could follow a five year crop rotation plan and that would be:

Year 1 - brassicas

Year 2 - peas and beans

Year 3 - potatoes and fruiting vegetables

Year 4 - the onion family

Year 5 - root and stem vegetables

Squashes, courgettes, lettuce, spinach can be popped in with any group where necessary.