We continue to develop resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic. See COVID-19 initiatives on Appropedia for more information.

Garden rotation at Potawot Food Gardens

From Appropedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Engr115 Page in Progress
Warning: Possibly Inaccurate Content
This page is currently being edited by students in Engr115 Intro to Engineering. The content should be considered inaccurate until this message is removed. Please refrain from making edits before December 12th, 2008 unless you are a part of this class. Feel free to make comments using the discussion tab.


Crop Rotation is a practice in gardening in which different crops are planted in different areas of the field each year to prevent deterioration of the soil. It can improve soil fertility and structure with the right technique. The herb and vegetable gardens at Potawot Indian Health Facility use the method of crop rotation as a part of their organic gardening routine.

Potawot Community Food Gardens

Why Crop Rotation is Important

Rotating your crops is an essential part of sustainable organic gardening. Without crop rotation the soil is weakened by one crop repeatedly season after season taking out specific nutrients from the soil. Also without crop rotation specific pests and pathogens will build up in the crop growing area. With crop rotation soil weakening can be avoided by changing the crops season to season because the different crops pull out different nutrients from the soil and attract different pests and pathogens.

Crop Rotation Techniques

Plants in different taxonomic groups are rotated to ward off pests. This generally means deep-rooted plants are rotated with shallow rooted plants. Also certain plants renew different nutrients i.e. legumes (like a kidney bean or vanilla) replenish nitrates in the ground and cereals need nitrate rich soil, therefore it is beneficial to plant legumes before cereals. In ideal conditions it is best to wait three years to plant a crop in the same place as before. Crop rotation techniques ultimately vary depending on the soil quality, precipitation and climate.

The different families are as follows

  • Legume (Peas, /Bell Peppers, Fava Beans, ect.)
  • Mint (Basil, Sage)
  • Alliums (Onions, Garlic)
  • Grass (wheat, Rice)
  • Nightshade (Eggplant, Tomatoes)
  • Umbel (Carrot, Dill)
  • Composite (Lettuce, Artichokes)
  • Crucifer (Radishes, Turnips)
  • Goosefoot (Beets, Chard)
  • Squash (Winter Squash, Pumpkins)
Crops at Potawot

Crop Rotation at Potawot

The Potawot Gardens grow a variety of different crops including artichokes, sugar snap peas, broccoli, carrots, celery, chard, tomatoes and many others. There are four main fields with varying number of rows in each. Each season a chart is drawn up to organize the crops so that none are in the same places they were the last two years. The charts also rotate cover crops throughout the garden to restore nutrients into the soil for future growing. Then the rotation charts are displayed in the volunteer house showing in what week and what row to plant the crops.


"Gardening With The Helpful Gardener." Helpful Gardener. <http:/http://www.helpfulgardener.com/organic/2006/crop.html>.

Tanner, Eddie. The Humboldt Kitchen Gardener. Arcata, CA: Eddie Tanner, 2008. 16-31.

Shonnie, Eddie. Personal Contact. 28 October 2008.

"Potawot Community Food Gardens." California Area Indian Health Services. Federal Health Program for American Indians and Native Alaskans. 28 Oct. 2008


Ogden, Shepherd. Straight-Ahead Organic : A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Great Vegetables in a Less Than Perfect World. New York: Chelsea Green, 1999. <layout name="Project" />