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Where to Plant Your Crops: Crop Rotation and Sunlight

By January 9, 2014 December 8th, 2015 Garden Planning, Uncategorized

There are many variables gardeners consider when deciding where to plant crops in their garden. We strongly suggest considering the following two things:

Crop rotation

To lower your risk of disease and soil depletion, plant these plant families in a different spot in your garden each year. If possible, plant them in completely separate garden beds each season. Perfect plant rotation between families is nearly impossible in a small garden, so focus on rotating the nightshade crops every year. Nightshades are the most likely to carry soilborne diseases from year to year if they are planted in the same location.


eggplant, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillo


garlic, leeks, onions, scallions, chives


broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, bok choy, kale, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, mustard, rutabaga, turnips


cucumbers, pumpkins, zucchini, summer squash, winter squash, melons


beans, peas, soybeans, lentils, alfalfa, clover (*All legumes have the incredible ability to fix – or add – nitrogen back into the soil, instead of using it like other crops.)

Sunlight and Shade

At The Urban Farm Company, we believe one of the most important factors in a successful garden is placing it in a location that receives enough sunlight. Before installing a garden we use a Solar Light Finder that reads hours of sunlight in each location in a backyard to optimize sunlight before installing a garden.

Because of Colorado’s strong UV, we’ve found that five hours is more than enough to grow almost every vegetable that we offer. Because UV is strongest in the middle of the day, 2-3 hours of sunlight in the middle of the day is better than 3-5 hours of light in the late afternoon or early morning. With locations that receive less than five hours of light per day, we suggest planting Low-Light Crops. Download the list of low-light crops below.

low light

Some of the low-light crops can grow with just 2-3 hours of sunlight, while others need 3-5. If you want to see the specific hour requirements of each of these crops, share this post on Facebook to spread the gardening love!

Also consider planting low-light crops in places that are shaded within the garden—behind large plants that provide shade, under tomatoes, or even in the middle of the bed surrounded by crops that may over-crowd later in the season.

Here is the entire Low Light Crops Guide with Hour Requirements!


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