Home Garden Crop Rotation is practiced to break the life cycle of damaging insects, or to protect against depletion of specific soil nutrients. Most insect pests need time to become established in the soil. The damaging insect may take more than one season to establish their life cycle. Practicing garden plant or field crop rotation by varying the type of plants grown in a particular area of your herb garden from year to year, avoids establishing plant specific types of garden pests.
Each insect type has its own taste in plants, natural feeding patterns and and other habits. Pests like the black cutworm live below the soil surface by day and rise to the surface only at night to damage certain plants in your garden. At the end of the season they overwinter under their favorite crop. Beginning the next season, if their favorite source of food is not available they will seek it elsewhere. So logically, a way to naturally control the cutworm is to simply never plant its favorite meal in the same location two growing seasons in a row.
Many damaging insects have a life cycle and feeding pattern similar to the cutworm. Rotating the planting location of your crops is an economical and effective method of their control.
When planning kitchen garden crop rotation, simply ask yourself what each herb or vegetable adds or takes away from the soil in your herb garden. Think also of the effect that the proximity of certain strong herbs may have on the flavor of adjacent vegetables or aromatic herbs.
Leafier herbs or garden vegetables draw nitrogen (N) from the soil while legumes, which are nitrogen fixing, such as peas or beans react with soil bacteria called Rhizobia and replenish needed nitrogen back into the soil. Logically then, it is a good practice to plant nitrogen hungry plants following nitrogen fixing plants.
Some herbs or garden crops feed heavier certain soil nutrients such as phosphorus (P) and others more heavily on potassium (K). Consider what you might plan to sow in the same spot in your garden next season. Side dress along the rows of the heavy feeders of P and K with fertilizer high in P or K to help keep the soil balanced from each year to the following season. Or you might think of spreading the rows of predictably hungry plants spaced evenly throughout your herb garden.
Crop Rotation is the simple practice of never planting the same herb, crop or plant in the same location in consecutive seasons. One of the oldest and most successful soil management and pest control practices in agriculture is Crop Rotation.
The least expensive and arguably the most effective way in which to benefit your herb garden is to practice home garden crop rotation.