Walker Valley High School
Many people love the feel of going out in the garden, planting flowers and vegetables and waiting a few weeks to see what might happen. The flowers are bright and vivid in color and smell amazing. The vegetables are so beautiful. They aren’t too hard, they are not too soft, and they are the perfect size. Unfortunately vegetables may not be like this in years to come if gardeners do not take care of the soil they plant in.
If farmers plant the same vegetables in the same place year after year, the plants will begin to be less perfect. The taste and appearance will be lacking. To keep this from happening, farmers and gardeners must do something called “crop rotation.” This is where one plants the same crop for one year and then plants a different crop in the area the next year. By doing this it enables the soil to be refreshed and regain the nutrients it need to grow beautiful plants and food.
Rotating crops has many advantages. By switching up crops, one can prevent plant diseases from forming and reduce insect damage. Farmers do not want bugs on their crops. Rotating crops eliminates bugs by switching up their habitat so they go somewhere else for food. The insects may not like it, but it is a necessity. There are few people who enjoy going out in the hot to weed the garden. Rotating crops helps to keep down the weeds so that the gardener does not have to weed as often. This is done by changing what crops are in each part of your field or garden. Rotating crops makes vegetables more organic and reduces the use of pesticides, which helps our environment.
One of the most important aspects of crop rotation is how healthy it makes the soil. It makes it moist [so it can better retain] rainwater rich with nutrients and vitamins, and allows new life to form. If you want an even better soil, make a compost pile where you want your garden to be. Here you can put food scraps (no meats) and other dead plant life so it will decompose and heal the “dead” soil. One can incorporate this compost into the garden for a richer soil.
Rotating crops is not a new concept. The ancient Romans used crop rotation thousands of years ago. Crop Rotation fell out of favor with U.S. farmers in the 1950s when they began to use more pesticides and chemicals for improved crops which saved time. Today farmers and communities are learning the benefits of crop rotation once again. Crop rotation is healthy for the consumer and also the environment. By rotating crops farmers can increase yield, therefore making more money. Crop rotation is a concept we must educate even the backyard gardener about.
Crop rotation is a simple way to improve the environment for future generations. We must take care of the soil, our food supply and the air. Crop rotation allows for more beautiful gardens as well as improved yield for commercial gardeners. Farmers are key to healthier living by providing organic and rotated crops. Crop rotation in another way to keep America beautiful.