Crop rotation has been used by farmers for many years. Crop rotation now is commonly used by gardeners to control diseases and insects in the vegetable garden. It is also used to build up the organic matter and soil nutrients that certain plants use during their life cycle. Certain families of plants are subject to the same diseases and should not be planted in the same area more than once every 3 years to prevent the disease organisms from building up in the soil. Crops planted in Bed 1 are planted in Bed 2 the following year, and in Bed 3 the year after that, and then Bed 4 and back to 1 again. Every year you are building up the organic matter and soil nutrients in one bed, by adding compost and planting a cover crop, also known as "green manure". The other crops rotate in the same direction, helping to keep your soil makeup balanced, and your garden healthy. You will start to notice a healthy improvement in your garden produce.
Remember that potatoes are the unique vegetable here. While keeping them in a rotation plan, you'll want to be sure they're planted in a bed that has not previously grown tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant.
The concept is very simple! Keep a notebook of where your crops are planted from year to year. This is a sure fire way to keep your crop rotation in line! The block chart below is a simple example of how most vegetable crops can be rotated each year in your garden.