Easy Peasy Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is falling out of fashion – and I’m glad for it, it used to be a stuffy, over complicated thing. However, don’t lets throw the baby out with the bathwater! I love the moving about and mixing of crops, and so does your soil – it brings huge bonuses.

Rotation is simply moving crops about and mixing them up. And it makes a strong bid for soil balance because each crop draws on different nutrients and encourages different types of soil biology.

And it keeps good health by providing a break in disease cycles. There are only 3 vegie fam’s with potential for soil borne disease:

  1. brassica (broccoli, cabbage, mustard, kohlrabi, cauliflower, brussels sprouts),
  2. allium (onion, garlic, leek)
  3. solanaceae (tomato, pepper, eggplant). 

Move other crops for sure, but pay extra attention to these guys and create as long a space as you can before growing them on the same spot again. And in that space, grow as big a variety of crops as poss. That’s it! Don’t get hung on the details, just mix and move. Keep a notebook to jog your memory.

My crop rotation pattern

Kneeling on the path transplanting seedlings into the bed

This rotation is my simplified version of one I learned many years ago from Kay Baxter. I love it for its flexibility and ease.


1. Start with a mixed greencrop: Sow a mix of seasonally appropriate greencrop seed. Be sure to include a nitrogen fixer.

2. Follow with a heavy feeder: We’ve primed the soil, so lets use it!

Either plant amongst the standing greencrop. Seedlings respond to this nurtured environment by growing with alacrity – it is in my imagining, because their little roots plug right into the fungi and all those adult roots. This works well for:

Or clear the greencrop, spread compost over the bed and plant. This works well for

  • Alliums: onions, leeks, garlic, who prefer clear space.

3. Follow with a light feeder: In good soil you don’t need to add anything before sowing or planting light feeders. (You’ll know it’s good because your DIY test + your crops tell you so.)
However, not so great soil like sand or heavy clay soil may need something more. Options are to aerate clay soil first. Then in both scenarios, add a fine layer of compost and/or vermicastings before sowing or planting.

Should you run out of space and need to follow a heavy feeder with a heavy feeder, no worries, just compensate by adding compost, and/or by sowing a nitrogen fixing greencrop alongside the crop.

Plan one crop ahead + Make a Record

The garden fork stays by the leeks to make harvest easy
Hmmm what to grow after hungry leeks? Think about it now!

Good news! You don’t need to plan the whole year – all you need do, is plan one crop ahead. This gives you time to consider what crop will best fit into your rotation, what your dinner table most needs and to then, grow the seedlings or stock up on seed.

As you plan, aim for your garden to host a mix of heavy, light + greencrops at any one time. Another strike for balanced soils and it makes rotation lots easier.

As does WRITING IT ALL DOWN. Sorry to shout, but I love a good record. 😊 Mixing and moving relies on it and you learn heaps from past planting patterns.

You’ll have a tonne of questions as you go – yay for the learning!
At times you’ll feel confused – that’s cool, normal even, just don’t get stuck there,
take a breath and do the next thing – it’s only gardening… the sky’s not going to fall on your head if you grow a cabbage after a leek.


  1. Do you not grow any toms outside anymore?