Organic gardeners use crop rotation as part of their overall strategy for healthy, chemical-free vegetable gardens. Legumes, such as peas, green beans, soybeans and peanuts, absorb nitrogen from the air and fix it in the soil. Brassicas, such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and mustard, love nitrogen and use a lot of it during the growing season. By planting brassicas after legumes, you reduce the amount of fertilizer needed and prevent soil depletion.
Lay 2 inches of compost on the soil in your garden area. Dig the compost into the soil to a depth of 6 inches with your shovel.
Make a furrow 1 inch deep with your hoe. Plant legume seeds in the furrow, spaced 3 inches apart or follow the directions on the seed packet. Plant legumes after all chance of frost is passed and daytime temperatures are consistently above 65 degrees F.
Water the legumes as needed to keep them evenly moist.
Pull weeds by hand, especially when legume plants are young. As the plants grow, they'll crowd out most weeds.
Harvest legumes when the pods are heavy for their size but before they dry out or shrivel.
Growing Brassica after Legumes
Plant cool-season brassicas in late summer (August) for a fall crop. Dig a trench with your hoe 1/4 inch deep between the legumes. Plant brassica seeds 2 inches apart or follow seed packet directions.
Water as needed to keep brassicas evenly moist.
Harvest the brassicas when heads are firm but before the plant flowers.
About this Author
Julie Christensen has been writing for five years. Her work has appeared in "The Friend" and "Western New York Parent" magazines. Her guide for teachers, "Helping Young Children Cope with Grief" will be published this spring. Christensen studied early childhood education at Ricks College and recently returned to school to complete a degree in communications/English.