Raised bed planting: crop rotation and pest-repelling plants

If you plant your raised bed with the same family of plants, problems can arise. Here's how to avoid that.

Raised bed planting: crop rotation and pest-repelling plants

Correct crop rotation is particularly important in raised beds. [Photo: Gardens by Design / Shutterstock.com]

Everyone has their favorite vegetables and tends to grow again this year after year. In small gardens where there is not much space available, you can find broccoli in the same place almost every year as in the previous year. On the one hand, this means that the same nutrients are always withdrawn from the soil, which leads to so-called soil fatigue. Furthermore, parasites and diseases are adapted to their hosts and can reproduce particularly well on certain cultures or plant families. However, these two cultivation problems can be avoided relatively easily and through good crop rotation.

If you are wondering why this article has not yet mentioned heavy, medium and weak eaters, read this other article on the topic of planting raised beds first: It describes the basic principles according to which raised beds are planted.

Crop rotation and crop rotation in the raised bed

Each plant species is assigned to a plant family. Vegetables belonging to the same plant family often attract the same pests or plant diseases as fungi or viruses. In order to avoid annoying growing problems, there are two important precautionary rules to be observed:

  1. Non-perennial vegetables should never be grown in the same spot for two years in a row.
  2. Vegetables from the same plant family should also not be grown in the same place for two consecutive years.

Raised bed planting: crop rotation and pest-repelling plants

Good crop rotation is crucial for a successful harvest in the raised bed [Photo: Anne Greenwood / Shutterstock.com]

These two rules correspond to the principle of crop rotation. In the same place means that the same plant should not be grown again a few meters around the original planting site. With a raised bed of around 2 square meters, it is best to take a break from cultivation, especially with sensitive plant families. Sensitive or endangered plant families are those which are often heavily attacked by pests or diseases if the crop rotation is too close (i.e. species of the same family often grown one after the other). These particularly sensitive plant families include the cruciferous, umbelliferous, daisy and butterflies. Some associated vegetables are listed here as examples:

  • Cruciferous vegetables: all types of cabbage, radishes, radishes
  • Umbelliferae: carrot, celery, fennel, parsley, dill
  • Composite family: lettuce, endive, chicory
  • Butterflies: pea, bean

Raised bed planting: crop rotation and pest-repelling plants

When growing in raised beds, the different plant families should be taken into account

Ideally, a crop rotation is set up for several years, in which, for example, cabbage is only grown every three or four years. If there are several (raised) beds in the garden, which are conveniently distributed, you could alternate with the plant families in the beds. If you want to plant green manure plants in your raised bed in winter, be sure to check the associated plant family. For example, mustard or oil radish (very popular green manure crops) belong to the cruciferous family and lose all positive green manure effects when cabbage is planted next spring. You can find out more about green manuring in raised beds at the end of this article.

Tip : You can also provide the plants in your raised bed with sustainable nutrients with a primarily organic long-term fertilizer. Our Plantura organic universal fertilizer is just such a fertilizer, which releases its nutrients slowly and gently over a period of three months and stimulates the soil life in the raised bed.

Planting raised beds: mixed culture

Different types of vegetables can promote each other's growth or keep pests away. That is why these are often planted next to each other in the sense of mixed culture. You can see from the following table which crops benefit from a neighborhood in the raised bed and which vegetables do not get along well with each other:

  • Green Cross : These species are mutually beneficial
  • Red Cross : These species do not get along
  • No cross : no effects between species; can be grown side by side without any problems

Raised bed planting: crop rotation and pest-repelling plants

Overview of vegetables that are suitable for mixed cultivation

Planting plan in terms of mixed culture

The following two exemplary crop rotations take into account the effects between the plant neighbors and the sensitive plant families, so that no annoying pests multiply in the garden. The order was chosen for newly filled raised beds. If your raised bed has been planted for a few years, it is better to start at year 3 or 4.

Raised bed planting: crop rotation and pest-repelling plants

Crop rotation should also be observed in raised beds

If you have several raised beds, you can, for example, plant crop rotation 1 in raised bed 1, crop rotation 2 in raised bed 2 and start raised bed 3 and 4 with the 2nd year crops of crop rotation 1 and 2. This way you are provided with many different types of vegetables.

Plant raised bed: growth-promoting / pest-repelling additional plants

In addition to the types of vegetables, which can mutually support each other, many strongly smelling herbal and aromatic plants as well as strongly flowering plants have a great influence on neighboring vegetables. Another advantage of these plants: They attract many beneficial insects into the garden. Often, root excretions from certain plants ensure that harmful soil animals are driven away. Two classics that are known for their soil-improving properties are the marigold and the marigold, also known as “marigold”.

Raised bed planting: crop rotation and pest-repelling plants

Many plants can benefit from each other in the raised bed [Photo: Kerry V. McQuaid / Shutterstock.com]

With both plants, care must be taken that the plants do not multiply themselves in autumn. Therefore, it is best to cut off the faded flowers or shake off the seeds before they fall off. Then the seeds can be sown again next spring exactly where the flowers are wanted. The following table gives an overview of neighbors who protect plants:

Raised bed planting: crop rotation and pest-repelling plants

Some plants help you fight annoying pests and diseases * in cooperation with Floragard

Raised bed planting: crop rotation and pest-repelling plants

Planting a raised bed: preventing growing problems

At this point I would like to summarize again what you can do to avoid soil fatigue and to keep parasites and diseases out of your garden and raised bed:

  • If possible, do not grow the same crop in the same place for two years in a row (with the exception of perennial crops).
  • If possible, avoid planting vegetables of the same plant families in the same place for two consecutive years.
  • At best, do not grow cabbage types (cauliflower, broccoli, white cabbage and red cabbage etc.) in the same place for several years.
  • Check the mixed culture table to see whether the crops planned in the raised bed are compatible with one another.
  • In the case of endangered crops (leeks, carrots, cabbage species, strawberries), check whether there are protective accompanying plants.

You can find more inspiration on the topic of “raised beds” on our Pinterest page

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