Is crop rotation absolutely necessary?

Afternoon, just doing some planning for what to plant and where next year in my veg garden. I have four raised beds that are a metre square each, and one long raised bed of 2m X 1m  that was built to accommodate a stand for growing climbers (runner beans and peas last year). 

I'm reading up on crop rotation but it will mean I can't use my stand for growing climbers as it only fits in the long bed. As such, is it essential to grow something else in a bed where runner beans etc have been the year before, or will it be ok to just improve the soil so I can grow beans there again next year? If it is ok to just improve the soil, what would you suggest I use please?

Any thoughts and ideas welcome especially from experienced veg growers. Thanks.


  • 1Runnybeak11Runnybeak1 Posts: 7,027

    Hi Tootles.    I have a very small patch in which I grow loads of veg, but I can only grow my Runner beans in one spot because of space.    I just make sure it is manured in winter and covered by black fleece to let moisture through.   Seems to have worked out fine these last five years.  We can't be without our RB's can we.   I still have unprotected lettuce growing from last year too.   The big floppy leaves are bent with frost but underneath there are lots of lovely baby leaves which taste so good.  It was a cut and come again type.   Can't recall the name.   I also pop a few potato's between the canes to use the space.   They were lovely as per.   Days are getting longer Toots.  image.

    Last edited: 30 December 2016 14:14:39

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 11,111

    Beans don't really need to be rotated, there is not much build up of soil borne pests for beans.

    Onion family and brassicas  and carrots must be rotated otherwise they tend to succumb to pests such as onion root rot and club root.

    It's not a mess, it's a nature reserve.
  • Brilliant! Well that is welcome news and much appreciated advice! Thanks a bundle.  Runner beans are essential here! Have enjoyed frozen ones twice this week. 

    Im thinking of giving a bed over to fruits. I have some rhubarb that isn't doing well in the garden so was wondering if it will do any better in a bed with some raspberry plants that are lingering in pots due to a lack of a space to plant them last year. Would three rhubarbs and 3 raspberry plants in a one metre bed be too squashed up do you think?  Would now be a good time to shift rhubarb and plant up the raspberries or leave until spring?

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,363

    My father grew his runners in the same trench for several decades and always had a wonderful crop, so nothing to worry about with your beans!

    Rhubarb needs lots of richness in the soil and space - I would only grow one plant in a 1x1m bed.  I think you'd be better off leaving it where it is and giving it a large quantity of well-rotted manure, especially as moving it would mean you would need to wait a year before picking any and 2 years before fully cropping it.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,871

    My rhubarb takes up a plot about one metre by one metre all by itself image

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • Do you think a rhubarb might do ok in a standard smithy tub?  

    Do raspberries do ok in pots or do they really need to be in the ground?

  • IME, Rhubarb are best in the ground - greedy things and like the depth too.

    The same with Raspberries really - you will be pruning out old wood to get new canes which might be a little difficult to achieve in pots -  in the long term anyway.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,199

    In theory, for beans you need to dig a trench in autumn which you fill over winter with lots of lovely manure, garden compost, kitchen waste, torn up newspaper etc which you then cover with soil from the trench just before sowing or planting and then your beans have access to lots of moisture and nutrients.  In effect, you are making new soil each year so no need to rotate and you can thus use permanent supports.

    Rhubarb can stay in one place for years apart from when it needs lifting and dividing to renew vigour and is best in the ground but it is greedy and needs a generous dollop of well rotted manure and/or garden compost every year.

    This is what the RHS says about growing raspberries - Apparently OK in pots but I think they'd be better off in the freedom of a 1m bed - more canes so more fruits for scoffing.   Feed generously for good crops.

    The Vendée, France
  • Thanks for the advice.  Looks like I'll need to expand the fruit n veg area!  

    Other than spuds, what do you suggest would grow well in a smithy tub? I've got two and they are half full of last years compost.  Don't want to do spuds next year, so not sure what else to grow in them. 

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,199

    Carrots.   The height would help protect them from carrot fly and they like light, even sandy soil.   

    I tend to grow veggies which taste better fresh from the ground - fennel, small, finger length courgettes - or stuff that's expensive, pound for pound - salad leaves and soft fruit - or veg I can't easily buy so in Belgium that was beetroot which I usually only found cooked, curly kale, cavolo nero, red spring onions. purple sprouting broccoli.

    Grow what you like to eat.

    The Vendée, France
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