The best magazine
What Are the Benefits of Planting Brassicas After Legumes?
- Maintain soil fertility through succession plantingtruelle et briques image by Claudio Calcagno from Fotolia.com
Companion planting is an essential part of the organic gardener's toolkit. Part of companion planting is the knowledge of how to plant in succession. If you have several beds that you use to grow vegetables, planting vegetables that work well one after the other is a clever way to condition your soil and avoid garden pests. Planting brassicas after legumes is a common succession, or rotation, planting technique to help boost soil fertility.
What do Brassicas and Legumes Need From the Soil?
- Brassicas use a lot of nitrogenbroccoli image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com
The beginning gardener needs to learn what plants go in which groups. The most common vegetable in the legume family is the bean plant. Peas, lentils, alfalfa and clover are also legumes. These plants move nitrogen into the soil. This means that they enrich the soil like a fertilizer. Brassicas include broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and cauliflower. Brassica plants often require large amounts of nitrogen, so it makes sense to plant brassicas after legumes.
Succession Planting in the Organic Garden
- Pea plants enrich the soil with nitrogengreen peas in a purple pea pod image by hazel proudlove from Fotolia.com
The typical companion planting crop rotation occurs in a three-year or a five-year rotation. This depends on the number of garden beds you have available, since many people do not have five beds available for vegetables.
In a three-bed system, plant legumes like peas and beans to enrich the soil with nitrogen. After that, you can plant light feeders like carrots, parsnips, or other plants in the umbelliferae family. Then you can plant brassicas like broccoli and cabbage in the bed. They will use up the nitrogen that the legumes left behind. Next year, plant legumes in the plot that the brassicas just left to replenish the soil once again. If you have two garden beds, alternate between heavy feeders like brassicas and plants that enrich the soil, like legumes.
Succession Planting Avoids Pests
- Brassicas with root crops attract different pests than legume cropsNavets_Gros_Tas_1 image by Perrodactyle from Fotolia.com
If you are planting root vegetable brassicas like radishes and turnips, planting legumes and then brassicas avoids attracting the same pests. While pests like cutworms may attack root vegetables, a whole different set of pests like aphids will visit the legumes. Planting these crops one after the other will trick the pests and they will have to search for the new location of the brassica crop.