By Amelia Tucker
While you are putting away seeds from this year’s garden, be sure to write down a basic map of the plants locations so you do not replant anything from that family in the same area the following year.
This is referred to as crop rotation and it does apply to your small backyard garden just as much as the large fields of veggies grown by a big producer.
The basic idea is that you do not plant the same family of plants two years in a row.
Ideally, you should try to go three years between repeat plantings. For tomato gardeners, do not replant your seeds in this year’s plot.
Also, do not plant potatoes or eggplants in the place where your tomatoes were. These plants, are all in the nightshade family. They use the same nutrients from the soil and also attract many of the same insects. Plants from the same family can pass disease between each other as well.
The first line of defense is to rotate your crops. An example of this would be to plant sections like tomato, pepper and lettuce the first year. The second year try pepper, lettuce and tomato. The third year try lettuce, tomato and pepper. Then you can go back to the original order of plants.
This is a simple way to keep your plants as healthy as possible and to enjoy those perfect tomatoes for many years to come.