What is crop rotation? Crop Rotation is the act of growing a crop during its season but growing one or more different crops in different seasons to replenish the nutrients for the next year's season.
Why do we rotate crops and why is it important? We rotate crops from field to field and season to season so that the nutrients in the soil can be replaced by certain types of plants. The nutrients are depleted by "heavy feeders" and need to be balanced with "light feeders" to maintain healthy soil levels
History of crop rotation: The origin of planting different types of crops in the same place depending on the season dates back as to what Historians believe to be 6,000 B.C.E. This practice was used by farmers in the Middle East and even though they did not understand the meaning behind it, it ended up benefiting them. Another source dates crop rotation back to the when the Romans influenced the Europeans to use their cropping system that later was adopted by the European in the mid 1700's and 1800's. Although, developed nations were not favoring this practice around the 1950's due to new chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Benefits of Crop Rotation: Preforming this task can help you with reducing the problems with any soil diseases or damaging insects to your crops. Another benefit is that it will keep your crops replenished and fertile every time that you need to plant again depending on what season. Many farmers use this method because it is unique and is adjustable depending on your needs. Overall crop rotation is helping our way of becoming a healthy and sustainable society.
Drawbacks of Crop Rotation: There are not many disadvantages to this practice, the only bad thing about crop rotation is the the amount of time it takes for you to prepare the certain crops and the upkeep on watching for any signs of lingering pests and fungi present in your crops. Other than these small problems there are no major drawbacks to rotating your crops based on the current season.
Is it popular? Why? This method is popular for many farmers due to it helping their crops stay fertile and keeps them for using a vast amount of crops, rather using the same crop for different plants at different seasons. It does not cost any more money than regular cropping practices, rather it probably cost less because you do not need to use as much crop space.
Examples of Crop Rotation: An example of crop rotation of a common mixed livestock-crop farm in the northern Midwest in the 20th century would be for the first year to have some kind of beans or peas. The second phase would be either onions, turnips, carrots or garlic. The third phase would include lettuce, herbs, cabbage or spinach. The fourth and final phase would have cucumbers, tomatoes, squash or an egg plant.
Different kinds of crop rotation would depend where you live, it could rotate seasonally or yearly depending on how many seasons you have where you live. Also the specific kind of plants would be different as well, due to some areas not having certain plants available.