Tomato Rotation


I never thought much of crop rotation in my small vegetable garden and especially never thought to rotate tomatoes, except I did rotate my potatoes. A little research showed that I should not only be rotating potatoes, but also my tomatoes and the rest of my vegetable garden.

Why Rotate And The History Of Crop Rotation

There are a couple of reasons to rotate crops. One reason is to return nutrients to the soil that was removed by the previous years crop. Another reason is to prevent the build up of organism and pests that are attracted to one type of crop.

Rotation of crops is not new and has been around since ancient times. Based on literature from the era of the Romans, it was done in their time. It started off with a two-crop field rotation, where one field was planted and the other left fallow for the year. Then the next year the planted field was left fallow and the field not planted the year before was planted.

In the 19th century it was found that instead of leaving a field fallow to restore nutrients, planting the field with different crops could restore the nutrients to the soil that were removed by the crops in the previous year. With this discovery the fields could be utilized every year, allowing for more crops each year.

Tomato Rotation

The key to any crop rotation is not to plant the same family of plants in the same place year after year. Family means those plants have something in common with each other.

The tomato belongs to the Solanaceae family, which has such common household names a potatoes and peppers.

So in planting tomatoes, do not plant potatoes, eggplant or peppers in that spot the next year. Try planting lettuce or cabbage the year after you plant tomatoes.

Rotation In A Greenhouse

I had a greenhouse in Alaska, and because of the cold weather, I had to plant tomatoes in the greenhouse. This was because the soil outside never really warmed up during the summer.

Rotating the tomatoes in the greenhouse was a must, because the soil in the greenhouse could not receive the nutrients provided by the environment. So one year I would plant cabbage, lettuce and tomatoes and then the next year rotate them.

I also changed the soil out about every five years. What I would do is take the soil out of the greenhouse and place it in a corner of my property and then take the soil I had taken out five years previously and place back in the greenhouse.

This gives my greenhouse fresh soil to grow better vegetables.


Rotation of tomatoes is important to prevent depleting nutrients and growing organisms that may be detrimental to the plants. Growing crops not in the same family as tomatoes will restore nutrients to the soil.

I have placed a picture of my greenhouse and a picture of a cabbage I grew in my greenhouse in Alaska at this site The cabbage is over 35 pounds!