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Crop Rotation Involving Nightshades

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sanderson
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Post  sfg4uKim 1/9/2012, 1:53 pm

OK Folks: Very Happy

We've had a great discussion that sort of derailed another post, so I'm going to start a new topic here. Below are some quotes from the other post. Please weigh in on this subject. How do you interpret "automatic crop rotation" SPECIFICALLY as it applies to nightshades? (i.e., does planting lettuce in a square after tomatoes mean you can plant tomatoes in that square again the next year?)

I've included a list of nightshade veggies & fruits at the bottom of this post - I was really stunned that there are a LOT more that I never knew about.

1. Don't forget when growing members of the nightshade family (tomatoes,
eggplant, peppers, etc.) you cannot plant that same veggie (or any other
nightshade) in that soil for 3 years. From eHow: They are the "mother
load" for soil infections, pests, and disease. Grow them in your first bed and give them at least 3 years before you plant any nightshade vegetable in this dirt again.

2. I thought I read in the book or saw on one of Mel's videos, that we do
not have to worry about crop rotation with SFG. I believe - at least
regarding nutrient rich growing medium - that adding a trowel of new
compost would suffice.

3. According to the book, page 144, we are rotating crops when we plant 3
times, 3 crops, per one season in a square. There's your rotation!

4. The boxes that started with pure and correct Mel's Mix have had tomatoes grown in them three years running.

5. I thought one of the main reasons for crop rotation was to deter soil
disease. By rotating crops you (so they say) can eventually combat
soil borne diseases that attack one particular vegetable. For instance,
one of the fungi/bacteria that attack tomato may not attack a broccoli
so the fungi will eventually die if tomatoes are not planted in that box
for a few years. I think??? The question I have is MM a soil that will harbor diseases.????

6. Hhhmmm I would think that the compost that is still in the square could
harbor disease, fungus, etc. So, to my way of thinking, even if you put
in a leaf crop after your tomatoes, while it would help with nutrient
depletion, it would still harbor that fungus. Am I wrong?

List of Nightshade Vegetables (Solanaceae Family)


Culinary Vegetables

Bell pepper (sweet pepper)
Italian pepper
Chile pepper
Examples of varieties:

fresh
Anaheim
Fresno
Jalapeño
Pimiento / pimento
Poblano
Serrano

dried
Ancho
Cascabel
Chipotle
Guajillo
Habañero
Pasada
Pasilla
Eggplant
Potato
Tomato
Tomatillo

Spices
Cayenne
Chili powder (some ingredients of)
Curry (some ingredients of)
Paprika

Sauces
Ketchup
Tabasco

Culinary Fruit
Cape gooseberry
Goji berry
Pepino
Tamarillo

Other
Tobacco

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Post  newstart 1/9/2012, 2:02 pm

would love hear read what others have to say
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Post  boffer 1/9/2012, 2:13 pm

Two reasons for rotation: nutrition depletion and diseases

Adding a trowel full of compost takes care of nutrition.

Two schools of thought on diseases: rotate every year to avoid disease, or, rotate if you have a problem with disease.

This lazy gardener subscribes to the second, doesn't plant by the moon, and doesn't pay attention to companion planting. If you want something to worry about in the garden, you're sure to find company on the internet.

No scientific foundation to support my opinion is offered. Going on six years with no issues. YMMV
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Post  littlesapphire 1/9/2012, 2:25 pm

What a great topic! It seems like such a confusing subject, because everyone has their own opinion about it. My problem is that I have a tendency to have at least one nightshade in EVERY BOX, and some boxes are set up in spots in the yard that nightshades especially love, so they always have them in it. This year will be my third year, so I'm honestly not sure if I'm doing any damage or not. At least nothing has gone wrong yet!

Wikipedia has a good bit of information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crop_rotation

They way Wikipedia talks about it, crop rotation is more about not depleting the soil of nutrients, with the side benefit of deterring pests. I think adding the compost after you harvest a plant takes care of the nutrients, and mixing the soil up in the fall and/or spring takes care of a lot of insects that have overwintered in the mix. I don't know about diseases or fungi or anything, though.
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Post  Chopper 1/9/2012, 2:40 pm

I agree with Mel and boffer and others. Not needed. This is not your average row garden. Perhaps if you devote and entire box to tomatoes and they all get wilt you might not want to plant tomatoes there again for a bit, but if it ain't broke, it really does not need fixing. In my one 4 x 4 box I have 11 different vegetables. Rotating more or less takes care of itself.

I do not sweat it, and will not, unless I see a repeating problem. And with this method, it is unlikely.
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Post  eflan 1/9/2012, 4:37 pm

Crop rotation originated from large scale farms. Grow tomatoes on the same land five years running, and a good chunk of the nutrients will be stripped away. So they decided to rotate them with soybeans and corn to cut down on the amount of money they spend on fertilizer and the number of times of year they have to subject my neighbours and myself to the liquid pig bleep smell (I can usually tolerate the smell of manure - but this goes too far).

Or at least that's my take on it.

It seems with the high nutrient content of the soil and the ease of enriching it further sort of makes the point null and void.

Plus, odds are if you're planting tomatoes, peppers and eggplants they're going to be started indoors and then in the box from frost to frost - you won't be cycling new plants in there. Makes point #3 seem silly unless you're throwing something in there for a winter harvest.

My two cents.
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Post  mijejo 1/9/2012, 4:39 pm

This is a great topic, and I will keep reading it and interjecting my thoughts and questions. However, I like boffer's approach. It it is not broken, why fix it? Until I have a problem, I suppose I will continue to plant the tomatoes in the same spot. If I have to change their location, then it will be a pain to move the trellis and then I have a new problem because the trellis will shade the other plants.

Someone brought up a point that perhaps the MM is not as likely to harbor disease as would dirt. I wonder if there is some truth to that.

I suppose another option is to attempt to remove the MM from the squares which are nightshade plants, and add new MM, or a swap from another square. In that case, we are not rotating the crop, but the we are rotating the growing medium.


Last edited by mijejo on 1/9/2012, 4:41 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)
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Post  UnderTheBlackWalnut 1/9/2012, 4:55 pm

Because my back yard is pretty much entirely in a black walnut dripline, my tomatoes are in 2x4 in front. I can't really intersperse them because so much of my growing area isn't conducive to them. People in my older neighborhood are fairly laid back, but I wonder if they would object if my whole front yard was tomatoes. Smile That said, I was thinking like you mijejo, I would swap out the box, rather than the location. I have to grow the tomatoes in that location but I could just switch that 2x4 box for another one. My husband and I can move small ones like that using a heavy duty hand truck... Kind of leaning toward seeing how it goes, though. But that has convinced me not to put my tomatoes in any larger boxes if I may need to rotate out boxes later. thinking Can you tell I was thinking about adding just one more teensy-weensy box to the front? Embarassed
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Post  sfg4uKim 1/9/2012, 4:59 pm

While I believe in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" I'm also a believer of "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". SOOOO which do I believe in THIS case? Not sure now, and I guess I'll be giving that some thought. Smile

Regarding Mel's quote on p. 144, if you look further down it says "But crop rotation is still a good idea for insect and pest control in addition to soil nutrients. If you grow the same thing continuously in the same place, eventually pests or diseases may take over since they have lived and played in that spot for so long. But if you replant every square three times a year, SFG is going to be no picnic for them. They will have to move every two months. I'll bet they will go somewhere else to set up residency."

I took that to mean that I SHOULDN'T keep planting tomatoes in the same squares every year. My reasoning is Mel talks about "every two months". I don't know about you, but my tomatoes occupy the square a LOT longer than two months.


Last edited by sfg4uKim on 1/9/2012, 5:05 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling errors)

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Post  tomperrin 1/9/2012, 5:24 pm

I like the idea of crop rotation, if only because my farmer ancestors have been practicing it since the middle ages. More recently, Cornell University has put out a number of organic production guides that get into crop rotation. These can be accessed in .pdf form here: http://nysipm.cornell.edu/organic_guide/ While the guides contain far more information than I need for my little plots, I found their tables on crop rotation enlightening.

Our local farmers use a three year crop rotation of soybeans, corn and winter wheat. Again, not SFG, but open field, high volume, commercial production.

Personally, I don't like bugs. I did not have any at all last year until October that I could see. I plan to keep it that way by planting my tomatoes and potatoes in my new squares. These areas did not benefit from any succession planting so last year's potato and tomato areas will go to other veggies, probably garlic (already planted), lettuce, squash, cukes, etc.

I do think that the addition of new compost will solve the nutrient problem. As for build up of nematodes and other nasties, we're dealing with virgin soil for the most part so its difficult to see why that would be a problem for a square for a couple of years. But long term......?
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Post  Mamachibi 1/9/2012, 5:27 pm

This is a concern for me, especially since I can only use certain squares for trellising, so the same plants keep going in the same squares over and over.

Tomatoes (and most of the other nightshades) in my area go in on May 15 and come out sometime in October. That leaves room for two plants but not three. I don't have enough time for a good bean crop to fix nitrogen March-May, and haven't found a bean crop that overwinters. But I do get one root crop (usually carrots, rutabaga or turnip) planted in October and one batch of lettuce in spring between summer nightshade crops.

That being said, I REALLY need to stop eating nightshades because they do a number on my arthritis! But who can give up a good garden tomato? Not I!
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Post  CarolynPhillips 1/9/2012, 6:08 pm

I don't worry too much about it until i see signs of a serious issue. Always sweep the garden clean before turning under your little square with new compost.
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Post  boffer 1/9/2012, 6:32 pm

@CarolynPhillips wrote:I don't worry too much about it until i see signs of a serious issue. Always sweep the garden clean before turning under your little square with new compost.

If the voice of experience is important to you, you won't find a better voice to listen to than Carolyn's.

For the newcomers: Carolyn is a small commercial grower of mostly tomatoes, and when she is around, is very gracious with sharing her knowledge and experience about tomatoes.
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Post  RoOsTeR 1/9/2012, 7:15 pm

Lol. I'm the one Mel wrote the book for... Very Happy I'll take the lazy way any day. It's Mel's method that drew me in to begin with as I was so tired of row gardening and all the hassles. Not that rotating your crops is really all that difficult, but we slowly seem to be picking out all the little things that the method (if properly followed) takes care of for us.
I think Mel's intent was to make it as simple as possible. Hahah! I got no problem with that Very Happy

That being said, a little knowledge never hurts either. Smile

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Post  Red-Leg 1/9/2012, 8:13 pm

Just stumbled across this while reading an older Mother Earth News article on companion planting.

"Unlike most other vegetables, tomatoes prefer to grow in the same place year after year, and this is all right unless you have a disease problem, in which case plant your tomatoes in a new area."

Link to article.
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Post  Goosegirl 1/9/2012, 8:17 pm

Very Happy Red-Leg hit send before me, but we are thinking on the same lines! (see below) Crop Rotation Involving Nightshades 3170584802

I remember reading somewhere - I think it was in my Carrots Love Tomatoes book, but I can't confirm that because I loaned it out to who knows who! - that tomatoes actually LIKE being in the same spot time after time - no need to move unless you have a problem. That is what I have been doing for the last 7 or 8 years, because I really can't have them anywhere else to get the right sunlight. So far I have only had one year with BER (pre-SFG and only in one area of the yard - MM fixed that problem) and last year with Septoria EVERYWHERE due to a REALLY wet soggy spring and summer - fungal paradise. This year is shaping up to be a dry one - as it is January and we have no snow - so I am taking the lazy way out and putting my 'maters where I have always put them and I will just have to deal with whatever comes up.

GG
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Post  llama momma 1/9/2012, 9:44 pm

I came across this:
If there is a potato scab infection (brown, softened, corky spots) you should wait 3 years before planting in that spot again since scab can live in the soil for the duration of 3 years. It also said don't put other fleshy crops there either, like radishes, carrots, etc. Pretty sure that info was from Irish Eyes Garden Seeds. Wanted to share a direct quote from them but at the moment there is a server problem. Anyway, I would apply this waiting period to other serious nightshade problems too. Now I have to change my mind from an earlier post. It looks like simple rotation won't change the status of infected scabby soil, after all. Want pictures of scab? Google, images, potato scab. In the end think I'm going to plant and forgeddaboutit! --till a problem presents itself.
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Post  Guest 1/9/2012, 10:07 pm

Looks like the lazy folks are ahead by a tuber! Razz
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Post  Unmutual 1/10/2012, 6:00 am

I "think" that initial crop rotation ideas stemmed from nutrition depletion. Knowing other people don't strictly adhere to crop rotation for disease control makes me feel even better. If it weren't for the Solicanae family, I wouldn't have much to grow during the summer since my SFG is pretty much all tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. I don't even grow herbs in my SFG(though I will admit to filling in spaces with the odd flower).
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Post  ree1955 2/8/2015, 2:00 pm

@Unmutual wrote:I "think" that initial crop rotation ideas stemmed from nutrition depletion.  Knowing other people don't strictly adhere to crop rotation for disease control makes me feel even better.  If it weren't for the Solicanae family, I wouldn't have much to grow during the summer since my SFG is pretty much all tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.  I don't even grow herbs in my SFG(though I will admit to filling in spaces with the odd flower).

AMEN
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Post  Turan 2/8/2015, 3:49 pm

This is a useful thread to bump up the raft right now with everyone planning out gardens. 
I rotate for both nutrition and disease reasons.  Root crops do not give good results with too high of nitrogen so they get where squash/corn/greens/broccolli were previously.  That basically moves everything around for disease as well.  THe greenhouse has tomatoes on one side and cucumbers/melons/basil/beans on the other.  SO they take turns on the sides.  Peppers that were grown in pots have the soil replaced every year. 

I suspect that the issue specific to this thread, Solanacea (tomatoes and relatives) is of greater importance to gardeners in the East where blight seems a big problem.

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Post  yolos 2/8/2015, 7:06 pm

@Turan wrote:I suspect that the issue specific to this thread, Solanacea (tomatoes and relatives) is of greater importance to gardeners in the East where blight seems a big problem.
So right Turan.  I rotate tomatoes/potatoes so I only plant them in the same bed every 3 to 4 years.  I still get windborne diseases every year on my tomatoes but not soil borne diseases.
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Post  sanderson 2/8/2015, 8:24 pm

ree1955,  Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here  To see what day and year a topic was was last visited, go to your Profile and edit near the bottom of Preferences.  This topic was last visited Jan 10, 2012, although it is still an interesting one.

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Post  steve638 2/8/2015, 9:30 pm

I see some people get rid of soil.  Can I put used soil back into my composter or worm bin?  Or should I thrown it out on my yard.  Just seems like a waste to just throw it out?

Thanks, 

Sincerely, 

Stephen
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Post  walshevak 2/8/2015, 11:33 pm

i grow my tomatoes and peppers in buckets so every 2nd year I dump the buckets into a bed and rob from another bed for the buckets or mix up some fresh MM.  Greens, peas, beans, squash or such get planted into that bed for 2 years.  But then I have 8 beds I can choose from and 2 strawberry beds that can always use a top off.  I do have to watch which bed I choose for my eggplants.

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A WEED IS A FLOWER GROWING IN THE WRONG PLACE
Elizabeth City, NC
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walshevak
walshevak

Certified SFG Instructor

Female Posts : 4373
Join date : 2010-10-17
Age : 78
Location : wilmington, nc zone 8

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