What to Plant after Potatoes: Complete Crop Rotation Guide

What to Plant after Potatoes

Potato, Potatoh. You can pronounce it whichever way you like, but you cannot plant them successively, and we’ll tell you why. 

Potatoes are versatile vegetables, but they’re also heavy feeders. This means you’ll have to replenish the nutrients in the soil every year with the added benefit of preventing pests and diseases from damaging your produce. 

In this article, we’ll guide you on practicing crop rotation with your potato plants and some proven and tested tips to keep your soil and crops healthy every year. So read on to learn more about what you should plant after potatoes.

What should be planted after potatoes?

What should be planted after potatoes
Image: Grow Gardener

Some crops that should be planted after potatoes are early potatoes, leeks, autumn cabbages and salad greens. These plants replenish the soil’s nutrients and prevent the spread of pests and diseases in the garden.

Read on to learn why each crop should be planted after potatoes.

1. Early and Second Early Potatoes

Early and Second Early Potatoes
Image: Gardeners World

Not all potatoes are banned for crop rotation. There are varieties like early and second early potatoes that you can still plant because they are low-maintenance and help improve soil quality. 

Since you can harvest these varieties between 60 and 90 days, they won’t deplete much of the soil’s nutrients, leaving the soil in good condition for your next chosen crop. 

Another advantage of planting these potatoes is that they help suppress weeds and break down the soil, which improves its aeration and drainage quality.

2. Leeks

Leeks
Image: Welldales

Leeks are also a great crop to plant after potatoes since they help enhance soil quality and prevent pest infestations. 

Since they’re deep-rooted vegetables, leeks can break up and add more organic matter to the soil, improving drainage and soil fertility. 

Leeks also make good companion plants by suppressing common potato pests, such as potato cyst nematodes.

3. Autumn Cabbages

Autumn Cabbages
Image: Hydroproduce

Another great crop to plant after potatoes is autumn cabbages. As light feeders, they replenish nutrients in the soil and add organic matter to improve its fertility. 

Autumn cabbages also suppress the growth of weeds and spread pests and diseases in the garden. For instance, its pungent odor repels the Colorado potato beetle, reducing the chances of infestation in your potato plant or garden.

4. Salad Greens

Salad Greens
Image: West Wood Gardens

You can also plant salad greens after potatoes because they’re light feeders and help improve soil structure. Since they do not require a lot of nutrients, salad greens leave the soil healthy for the next crop. 

Salad greens also add organic matter to the ground, improving soil structure. Additionally, they suppress the growth of weeds, lessening the risk of pest infestation and contracting plant diseases.

Some salad greens you can plant include lettuce, arugula, spinach, kale, beets and radish.

What is crop rotation?

What is crop rotation
Image: US Farmers and Ranchers

Crop rotation is the gardening practice of regularly growing different crops in the same area to improve soil health and prevent the spread of pests and diseases.

Ideally, the crops in rotation should complement each other as they replenish and provide nutrients to keep the soil healthy while breaking the life cycle of pests and diseases in your garden. 

Crop rotation also helps improve water infiltration and erosion in fields. It’s also sustainable because it improves crop yields with less reliance on synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

When should you practice crop rotation? 

When should you practice crop rotation
Image: EOS

Gardeners should practice crop rotation to improve soil health, control the spread of pests and diseases, prevent erosion and nutrient depletion, and enhance crop yield and water infiltration. 

Learn how crop rotation helps solve these dilemmas and keeps your garden safe and healthy.

1. Crop rotation improves soil health.

Crop rotation improves soil health
Image: West Coast Nut

Crop rotation helps maintain a balanced supply of nutrients, adds organic matter and improves the soil’s overall structure. 

Since plants have different nutrient requirements, crop rotation ensures the soil gets a balanced supply of essential nutrients. For instance, corn heavily feeds nitrogen from the soil, while legumes add nitrogen. 

Planting deep and shallow-rooted crops alternately also helps improve the soil’s overall health. For instance, deep-rooted crops break down compact soil, while shallow-rooted crops improve soil aeration.

Finally, when you rotate crops, it leads to an increase in the amount of organic matter in the soil in your garden. So you should choose crops that add organic matter to the soil to help improve its drainage, water retention and overall soil structure.

2. Crop rotation helps control the spread of pests and diseases.

Crop rotation helps control the spread of pests and diseases
Image: Garden Center

Crop rotation essentially allows breaking the life cycle of pests and diseases. Planting different crops in the same area will deprive these pathogens of a host to infect and eventually die.

Flowering crops, for instance, attract insects and pollinators that keep pests like aphids away from other plants in your garden. 

On the other hand, some crops like corn produce a chemical that suppresses the growth of weeds and effectively controls the spread of pests and diseases. 

3. Crop rotation prevents nutrient depletion in soil.

Crop rotation prevents nutrient depletion in soil
Image: Bukkede

Potatoes are heavy feeders that usually leave the soil with little nutrients after the growing season. Fortunately, you can plant crops like legumes that replenish nutrients such as nitrogen back into the ground through crop rotation. 

Other crops add organic matter to the soil. Since organic matter helps release nutrients slowly, the soil will have a continuous nutrient supply and improve its soil fertility.

4. Crop rotation helps reduce erosion.

Crop rotation helps reduce erosion
Image:  Home Stratosphere

When the soil is covered with vegetation, it collectively prevents erosion, whether by wind or water. 

That’s why it’s best to plant deep-rooted crops in your garden or field from time to time. When the crops grown are deep-rooted, they help anchor the soil and prevent erosion. 

You can also add crops that add organic matter to the soil because they help improve the soil structure, thereby keeping the soil unbothered by erosion by water or wind.

5. Crop rotation helps improve water infiltration.

Crop rotation helps improve water infiltration
Image: Amiad

When the soil is covered with plants, it also helps slow down the movement of water. Fortunately, deep-rooted crops and those that add organic matter help create channels in the soil where water can move quickly, resulting in better water infiltration. 

6. Crop rotation increases crop yields.

Crop rotation increases crop yields
Image:  The Horizons Tracker

Since crop rotation replenishes nutrients, prevents and controls the spread of pests and diseases and keeps the plants healthy, it will inevitably lead to increased crop yields. 

A study showed that crop rotation increases crop yields by 20%. They recommended rotating two or more crops to improve soil health and crop yields with less use of fertilizer.  

How Often to Rotate Potatoes

How Often to Rotate Potatoes
Image: Stihl

You can practice crop rotation on potatoes every two to five years.

Here’s a summary and guide on how often you can rotate potatoes with other types of crops in your garden.

YearCrops
1Potatoes
2Legumes (peas, beans, peanuts, clover, alfalfa)
3Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts)
4Potatoes

How To Do:
Plant potatoes in the first year. During the second year, plant legumes such as peas, beans, peanuts, clover, and alfalfa to fix nitrogen in the soil.
In the third year, plant brassica crops like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
These plants will help protect future potato crops from soil-born pathogens and diseases.. Finally, in the fourth year, you can plant potatoes again. Repeat this crop rotation plant accordingly. 

What Not to Plant after Potatoes

What Not to Plant after Potatoes
Image: Focused on fit

Some crops you should not plant after potatoes are nightshade plants, root crops, cucurbits and the same plants after the growing season. 

This is because these plants are susceptible to the same pests and diseases as potatoes and will only increase the risk of infestation in the garden.

For instance, potatoes are part of the nightshade family, so planting other nightshades like eggplants, peppers, or tomatoes will only spread pests and diseases to the newly planted crops.

What Not to Plant after Potatoes
Image: Pinterest

Root crops, such as carrots, beets, turnips, and cucurbits like cucumbers, melons, and squash, also attract the same pests and diseases as potatoes. 

Finally, you should plant different crops in different areas yearly because this will build up pests and diseases and spread them in your garden. It will also reduce crop yields and can even make it impossible to grow the crop in the future.

FAQs on What to Plant After Potatoes

What do potatoes grow well next to?


Potatoes grow well next to corn, cabbage, lettuce, peas and onions because they have complementary needs that help improve the soil’s overall health and structure. They also attract insects and pollinators and help repel pests from one another. 

Can you reuse soil from potatoes?


You can reuse soil from potatoes as long as you remove the remaining plant debris to prevent the spread of diseases and add compost or manure to replenish nutrients in the soil.

What should not be planted next to potatoes?


Potatoes should not be planted next to nightshades such as tomatoes, eggplants, or peppers, because they are susceptible to the same diseases like early and late blight that can destroy an entire crop and other plants in gardens.

Can you add potatoes to compost?


You can add potatoes to compost as long as they are fully cooked or processed to kill harmful fungi, viruses or bacteria and prevent the spread of plant diseases in your garden.

How long can you leave potatoes in the soil?


You can leave potatoes in the soil for up to 12 weeks if you harvest them before the first frost. Otherwise, they will be inedible and damaged by the extreme cold weather.

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