Crop Rotation Strategies
If you fail to incorporate effective crop rotation strategies in the vegetable garden, you can experience recurring pests and disease problems that will become greater year after year. It is crucial to establish the right crop rotation strategies to eliminate these problems. Our goal is to not plant the same family of crops in the same spot in consecutive years.
Crops in the Same Family
Travis shows a comprehensive list of vegetables and their respective families. The first family of crops is Solanaceae, commonly known as the nightshades. This family includes popular vegetable crops like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes. Most folks don’t realize that potatoes are closely related to the other crops in the nightshade family. As a result, you wouldn’t want to plant tomatoes, peppers or eggplant in the same spot as potatoes in a given year. If you are not careful to rotate these crops, you will almost certainly experience some blight issues that will intensify over time.
The next family is Cucurbitaceae, also known as the Cucurbits. This family includes crops like summer squash, winter squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupes, and gourds. All of the crops in the Cucurbit family can have issues with powdery mildew and downy mildew, so rotating these crops ensures those disease problems will not increase year after year. Cucurbits also tend to have high insect pressure with pests like squash bugs, squash vine borers and pickle worms.
The next family is the Brassicas, which is one of the most popular families of crops grown in the vegetable garden. The brassica family includes mustards, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, bok choy, rutabagas, turnips, and radishes. Brassicas can have recurring pest issues if not rotated properly, especially with worms that will chew and eat the plant leaves.
Below is a list of all the important crop families for a vegetable garden:
- Summer Squash
- Winter Squash
- Boy Choy
- English Peas
- Winter Peas
- Field Peas
- Sunn Hemp
- Hairy Vetch
- Sorghum Sudangrass
Show and Tell Segment
On the show and tell segment, the guys sample a few varieties of raw greens including Tatsoi, Arugula, and Savanna Mustard. Greg provides an update on his multiplying onions and guinea nest onions from the garden. He also discusses the Ghost Peppers that are now available. He mentions they are limited and will sell quickly. The guys also mention that 20 more seed varieties will be added by the end of January.
Viewer Questions Segment
On the question and answer segment this week, the guys answer questions about seed starting schedules, cleaning seed trays, favorite tomato varieties, and moving plants from the greenhouse. Travis mentions that his ideal seed starting schedule is to plant early spring crops such as lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, etc., now. And he’ll start planting peppers in late January or early February. In mid-February, he will start planting tomatoes and eggplants, and towards the end of February start planting okra, watermelons, pumpkins, zinnias, and sunflowers. Greg says that he never really cleans his trays using bleach or anything. However, he does let his trays dry completely for a few days or weeks before planting again. The guys mention that their favorite tomato for flavor is the Sun Gold variety and the Bella Rosa variety for bigger tomatoes. When moving plants from the greenhouse to outside, Greg prefers to place them in a full sun area.