Malcolm Smith's Allotment
Crop Rotation


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When I took on the allotment I laid it out into four main growing areas to enable a four year rotation. This allows the soil to recover after each
group of crop and reduces the risk of disease enduring from repetative planting. I later extended the principle to allocate separate areas for early and late cropping to enable ground to be free for tilling and sowing without having to wait for previous crops to be cleared.

The sequence I have selected is as follows, and is know colloquially as "Pots, Roots, Legs & Bras" :

Plot 1Plot 2Plot 3Plot 4
Year 1PotatoesRootcropsLegumesBrassicas
Year 2BrassicasPotatoesRootcropsLegumes
Year 3LegumesBrassicasPotatoesRootcrops
Year 4RootcropsLegumesBrassicasPotatoes

This sequence takes account of the needs of the various groups such as Brassicas following the Legumes which fix nitrogen into the soil. However, the sequence fails where Potatoes follow Brassicas if lime is put down to prevent clubroot as it can cause scab on Potatoes.

Allied to the planting rotation, I have worked out a cultivation sequence to suit the preparation of each plot prior to planting as follows :

Plot 1Plot 2Plot 3Plot 4
Year 1Double digTurn over topDouble digTurn in top dressing
Year 2Turn in top dressingDouble digTurn over topDouble dig
Year 3Double digTurn in top dressingDouble digTurn over top
Year 4Turn over topDouble digTurn in top dressingDouble dig

The sequence throughout a full cycle would therefore be as follows :

Year 1 - Potatoes
Double dig in accordance with my Cultivation Notes. Turn in the top dressing before planting.

Year 2 - Root crops
Turn over the top layer but do not add any dung or compost.

Year 3 - Legumes
Double dig as for year 1.

Year 4 - Brassicas
Top dress with manure as early as possible after the existing crops have finished. Turn in the top dressing well before planting and tread the ground as Brassicas fare best in hard ground.

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