Crop Rotation and Green Manure with Patrick Whitefield

Daniel Dobbie
Thursday, 16th January 2014

Permaculture teacher, Patrick Whitefield, explains the importance of crop rotation, green manure's and planning.

Crop rotation allows a continual supply of produce, prevents disease and keps soil healthy because beds are not left bare. Bare soil can be washed away and lose nutrients.

When crop rotating, it is good to remember the three main families; brassicas (cabbage etc), onions (plus garlic, leeks) and the potato. 

As long as your following crop is not from the same family as the previous, for example, leeks following onions, you can be fairly relaxed with your rotating. Crop rotating helps prevent the diseases that are common in these three families.

Patrick also explains how it is important to keep notes of your beds and where different families have been planted. This helps manage crop rotation more efficiently.

Another way to maintain soils over winter is to plant green manures. These can give nutrients back to the soil, prevent soil being washed away, keeping them ready for the next fruit or vegetable.

Patrick Whitefield is an experienced permaculture teacher and author of five books, including the permaculture classic The Earth Care Manual. For infomation about his residential and online courses please see

More from Patrick

Learn how to mulch and weed

The art of watering seedlings and slug preventation

Growing healthy plants

How to make a Forest Garden by Patrick Whitefield for a reduced price of £12.70 from our Green Shopping site

Want to find out more? SUBSCRIBE to Permaculture magazine and get a quarterly dose of practical inspiration. Or download a FREE sample issue and try before you buy. Also available as a digital subscription (for just £10) and Apple and Android devices.