A Quick Guide to Crop Rotation & Vegetable Families

Want to be an advanced vegetable gardener? You will be when you know which vegetables are in which families. This is crucial info for healthy crop rotation in your garden (and you'll be able to astonish your friends with new vocabulary like cucurbits). You can memorize all the vegetable families -- or just bookmark this article and check on it before you plant each season. Crop rotation sounds like one of those headachey projects involving graph paper and Number 2 pencils. It's not so bad. You don't need graph paper, but you should make a map of your vegetable garden. Or pull out a piece of paper, sketch your plantings, and write the year on the map (because you'll need 4 to 5 years of records).

The basic rule: Wait 3 years until you replant families in the same place. Why? Soil borne diseases build up when similar plants grow in the same space for more than a year. You don't want to deal with club root, fusarium wilt, or vertciliium wilt, do you? If you keep moving the plants you'll help thwart the diseases. Just like any family, not all members of plant families look alike. See which relatives surprise you the most! NIGHTSHADES Solanaceous Tomatoes Tomatillos Eggplants Peppers Okra (one of those shirt-tail cousins that gets argued about -- some say it's a Mallow) Potatoes MORNING GLORY Sweet potato MELONS, SQUASH & CUCUMBERS Cucurbits Cucumbers Zucchini & Summer Squash Watermelon Musk Melon Pumpkin Gourd GOOSEFOOT Amaranthaceae Beet Spinach Chard Quinoa Orach SUNFLOWER Asteraceae Sunflower Jerusalem artichoke Lettuce (surprised?) Endive Artichoke COLE Brassicas Broccoli Brussels sprouts Cauliflower Cabbage Kale Collards Radishes Kohlrabi Rutabaga Turnip Mustard ONIONS (this one's easy) Onion Leeks Chives Garlic PEAS Legumes Peas Runner beans Bush beans Fava beans Garbanzo beans Peanuts GRASSES Corn Millet Rice Barley Wheat Rye PARSLEY Parsley Carrots Parsnips (another surprise?) Celery Fennel Cilantro/Coriander Tricia gives you the big picture on crop rotation and garden planning in our latest video. Everyone likes a change of scene. Get to know the families of your favorite vegetables and make sure they move around the garden with crop rotation.

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