Rotating Crops in Vegetable Gardens

Q. I understand that rotating crops in a vegetable garden can help cut down on insect and disease problems. Should I apply this method to my small backyard vegetable plot?

A. Many insects and diseases attack plants within the same family. If you have had problems with a particular pest or disease, try planting vegetables from another family in that section of your garden. Veteran vegetable gardeners often rotate their crop plantings every two years to safeguard against pest problems.

  • mustard family: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, mustard greens, and radishes
  • gourd family: cucumbers, gourds, pumpkins and all squashes, canteloupes, melons, and watermelon
  • tobacco family: tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, bell and chili peppers
  • onion family: onions, shallots, leeks, chives, and garlic
  • goosefoot family: beets, spinach, and chard
  • legume family: all beans and peas