Crop Diversity Equals Resilience

Crop Diversity Equals Resilience

When it comes to keeping crops healthy without the addition of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, one of the best things you can do is to maintain crop diversity and rotate frequently.  Crop rotation has long been an effective method of controlling pests – simply move a particular crop to another area on the farm and plant an entirely different crop in its place.  Pests have a hard time keeping up with the changes and will often be unable to gain a good foothold in a particular crop.

On the other hand, monoculture crops, meaning those that are a single type, deplete all of certain nutrients from the soil, stay in the same places year after year, and become more vulnerable to serious threats and even devastation from pests and sickness.  This can leave your farm business on shaky ground, because any serious outbreak can mean a total loss.

Practicing good crop husbandry and rotating between crops that alternate building up the soil and using key nutrients can help keep not only your soil healthy, but also all of the crops you plant in it.

Another best practice for natural pest management is to let some lands rest every year.  You can do this by planting crops that will be tilled under at the end of the growing season to fix nutrients into the soil.  When these crops are tilled under, they decompose and add vital nutrients back into the soil, leaving it healthier and stronger for the next growing season.

Whether you are a backyard gardener or a large scale organic farmer, crop rotation and diversity can create a healthy, nurturing environment for growing things while requiring fewer chemical inputs.