Hoophouse Vegetable Crop Rotations


Hoophouse Tomatoes Squash And Cucumbers

Winter crops in November 2016. Photo by Wren Vile 

The benefits of crop rotations are to optimize the health and fertility of the land; maximize productivity; reduce pests, diseases and weeds; meet Organic Certification requirements and make the planning work easier on the brain. On a more invisible level, crop rotations help maintain the soil food web — a balance of the tiny soil micro-organisms which keep the soil organic matter healthy and able to fend off pathogens.

One of the core tenets of organic farming is that continuous production of the same crop in the same field or plot can never be justified, not for any reason, even though this involves competing against the “efficiency” of industrial agriculture monoculture. Most crops will grow well in a hoophouse, but not all can provide the return to make the venture profitable. The art and science is to grow a range of crops that will provide good income year-round, while taking good care of the soil, so that the business is sustainable.

Winter crops in January 2018.Note that the same crops are not in the same beds.

Part of the crop planning process can include grouping crops that do well together, and not grouping plants that share diseases. Outdoors, mixed plantings can help reduce insect pests and diseases, but in the cramped quarters of a hoophouse, nothing airborne is far from anything else.

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