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Planting after Potatoes


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  • Planting after Potatoes

    Happy Spring!
    My plot is a year old now and I'm moving up a level in terms of ambition (still playing it relatively safe for now though.)
    Last Autumn I harvested my maincrop potatoes and a few weeks after I lifted them I put some onions down in the same patch, which I harvested as spring onions last week. I am coming round to planting out my seeds and seedlings for this year and it transpires the only available patch for my carrots and beetroot is the same soil I used to grow the spuds and onions. Is this going to be a problem? I know roots aren't necessarily supposed to go in the same soil after tubers and onions but will it be the end of the world?
    The only other option would be to move my climbing beans to that patch, but I also understand that planting legumes after onions is asking for trouble.
    Tips and tricks very welcome, please.
    Still-a-novice Dan
    Last edited by Undercaker; 09-04-2018, 10:48 PM.

  • #2
    Have a look at this:

    In their proposed three and four-year rotation plans, they don't seem to have a problem following onions with legumes or putting in roots after potatoes.

    That said, do your sources offer any suggested rotation plans that you could use?
    Living in north-east Spain, where the sun is too hot, the rain too torrential, the hail too big, the wind too windy and the snow too deep.


    • #3
      I don't bother about strict rotation, I just make sure I don't plant the same thing in that place, straight afterwards.
      Last edited by Thelma Sanders; 10-04-2018, 07:31 AM.


      • #4
        The label "roots" is confusing. It is much better to plan your rotation around families of plants. Potatoes are solanaceae - the same family as tomatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes and aubergines. It would be much worse to follow potatoes with tomatoes than with beetroot (chenopodiacea) which is related to spinach and chard, or carrots (umbelliferae), related to parsnips, fennel, celery and celeriac.

        In general plants from the same family can be susceptible to the same pests and diseases, which is why it is recommended not to grow them in the same places each year. The old fashioned rotation split the crops into 4 - potatoes, legumes/brassica, miscellaneous and roots. The idea was that the ground was manured for the potatoes and then limed for legumes (peas and beans) the following year. These are cleared fairly quickly and are followed by winter brassicas (cabbages etc) in the same year. The winter brassicas hang around for a while, so these are followed by quick growing crops like courgettes and lettuces the following year. The 4th year is for roots which don't want freshly manured ground.

        There are serious problems with this idea for most gardens. It assumes that you have 4 equal sized beds which have similar amounts of sunshine etc. Most gardeners don't. It assumes that you want to eat the same amounts of each of the 4 rotations, but you may not want that many brassicas, or you may not want to bother with potatoes at all. The rotation was designed primarily for farmers, not gardeners.

        So, decide what you want to eat and how much of it to grow, give the most important plants priority, especially if they are fussy about sunshine etc, avoiding the same places as last year if possible, and fit in everything else around the important and fussy plants, avoiding following like with like where possible.

        As long as you haven't spread loads of fresh manure for your potatoes, carrots and beetroot will be absolutely fine (too much manure may make carrots fork). I routinely sieve the compost from my potato buckets for buckets of carrots the following year. I also routinely plant winter brassicas after my early potatoes, which makes use of the space twice in one year.
        A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP. - Leonard Nimoy


        • #5
          Thanks, everyone. Very helpful. I think I'm just going to get the roots down and keep my fingers crossed.
          Much obliged.


          • #6
            In my opinion some of the recommendations have been developed for large scale farming using synthetic fertilisers and I am a bit doubtful if it’s important to follow the rotations too slavishly in a home garden, especially if the soil is fed and protected with more natural fertilisers.
            I wouldn’t put crops from the same family in twice in a row (usually) and would adapt if I thought a disease was developing.


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