Rotate Vegetable Crops to Fight Disease

Rotate Vegetable Crops to Fight Disease


As gardeners prepare for the new growing season they need to give particular attention to disease control practices. One of the best and least expensive ways to fight diseases is crop rotation. This practice prevents the continuous development of disease organisms that would otherwise build up in the soil and attack one plant species. Crop rotation breaks the cycle of organism development and thus helps limit the damage potential when the susceptible crop is grown again.

A three-year rotation is the most practical assuming that you have at least three crops that can fit into your gardening plan. This allows you to practice disease control simultaneously on all three crops. The chart below shows the vegetable “families”.

Family Varieties

Legume           Peas and beans of all types

Goosefoot       Spinach, beets and chard, Mustard Cabbage, collards, Brussels sprouts,

                          kale, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, turnip, radish

Parsley            Carrots, parsley, celery, parsnip

Nightshade    Tomato, potato, eggplant, pepper

Squash            Squash, pumpkin, watermelon, gourd, cantaloupe, cucumber,

Composite      Lettuce, chicory, endive, escarole, Jerusalem artichoke

Lily                   Onions, garlic, leek, chive, asparagus

Grass               Corn

Try not to plant related vegetables in the same location in the garden more often than once in three years. If you are unable to rotate, then consider implementing other types of disease control measures. Some of these practices would include:

. . . planting a more disease resistant variety .

 . . using a fungicide

. . . adjusting fertilizer rates

. . . planting on raised beds

. . . improving the soil

Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab in College Station can assist with any type of disease problem. Lab tests are available for most plant pathogens.

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