Wet Soil and Crop Rotation

“What do you recommend for planting in the wet area’s of our

We have planted tomato’s in the same area for the last 8 years; should we
rotate crops?



Growing vegetables in wet soil invariably is not possible because wet soil causes root rot. However, you can do soil amendment to ensure that the wet soil is more conducive to vegetable gardening. One way of finding out whether the soil is too wet is by taking a handful and squeezing it. If the soil sticks together in ball, it means that the soil is too wet.

You can rectify the problem of wet soil by adding organic matter. Not only will the organic matter help to release nutrients like nitrogen and minerals, it will also help to reduce the wetness. You can also think about adding partially rotting straw or compost to ensure that the surface soil attains good condition. Remember this option is only for soil that is mildly wet and not soaking wet.

Wet soil delays the start of the growing season for vegetables in spring and then plays a big role in ending the growing season in autumn. So, look for vegetables that have short growing cycles like tomatoes, peas, radishes, potatoes, beans, carrots and the likes.

Another option for growing vegetables in wet soil is to go for raised vegetable beds. This way the beds will not have anything to do with the wet soil and you can grow whatever vegetables you like.  Generally a raised vegetable bed is around 3 to 4 feet wide and the length can be as long as you want. The width is fixed so that the person can tend to the center of the bed from both sides. A raised vegetable bed can be a square or a rectangle.

As for the tomatoes, yes, I definitely recommend that you rotate them with your other vegetables.  A good rule of thumb is grow tomatoes and crops in the same family (potatoes, peppers, ground cherries, huckleberries, eggplants, and petunias) in the same area every 3 to 4 years.  There are number blight, wilt, and viral diseases that are associated with these plants.  Rotating them to other areas will allow the pathogens in the soil to die back before the same crop is planted in again.  This concept applies not only to tomatoes and related family members, but to all vegetable crops — squashes and borers, cole crops and moths, legumes and nitrogen fixation, etc.  If you are interested in having a little help with figuring out a crop rotation plan, our company now offers an online garden planning tool that can be used to aid in rotation.  You can find the garden planner here: http://gardenplanner.jungseed.com/







© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



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