crop rotation

Asked August 11, 2015, 6:58 PM EDT

I have 5 raised garden beds and have been growing a variety of veggies in them since building them four years ago. I grow mostly tomatoes and peppers as well as eggplant, zucchini and several herbs. I realize that even though I refresh the soil each year with mushroom compost and regular compost(Leaf Grow) I should do more to maintain the health of my soil. What should I do in September to make my soil the best it can be? What should I plant next year?

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

A long as you're replenishing the organic components of your soil each year, you shouldn't have to worry about crop rotation. On the other hand, if your tomatoes (or other plants) developed disease peculiar to that species, such as early blight, late blight, verticilium wilt, etc. of tomatoes, it would be appropriate to plant tomatoes in another bed next year. In a large field garden it is more appropriate since different crops require different types and levels of nutrients, and over a period of time, the available nutrients in one portion of the garden can be depleted.
Even in your raised beds, you could replenish the organic matter and nitrogen availability by planting cover crops. You could plant oats or crimson clover or intermix both in the beds in September. Allow them to grow all winter. Next spring you could cut them and turn them into the soil before planting. This will also prevent weeds from growing in the garden.