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Frann Leach

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Organic Gardening:


List of Crops by Family


by

This chart for organic gardeners shows Crops and Herbs grouped together by Family and Group. You will find crop rotation schemes easier to plan out with this information ready to hand.

Most herbs prefer the soil to be on the lean side - too much nitrogen will often result in very lush growth, with little of the flavour and fragrance which gives a herb its properties and attractiveness in the garden.

If you're using a bed system for growing vegetables, herbs make an ideal edging, providing a host for beneficial insects and scenting the air with their own fragrance, helping to mask your crops from their natural pests. Just make sure not to fertilise the area where the herbs will be growing, so as to encourage best results. Even better, use perennial herbs kept well trimmed as edging, or alternate perennial with annual herbs.

GroupFamiliesCrops and Herbs in this GroupNotes
1 Chenopodiaceae
(Chenopods)
Beetroot, Good King Henry (Lincolnshire Spinach or Poor Man's Asparagus), Leaf beet (Perpetual spinach, Swiss Chard), Orach (Blite), Spinach and
herbs: Fat Hen (White Goosefoot) and Mexican tea (Epazote or Wormseed)
Much less susceptible to pests and diseases than the other main leaf/root crop family, the brassicas (Cruciferae)
2 Cruciferae (mostly Brassicas) Broccoli, Brussels sprout, Cabbage, Calabrese, Cauliflower, Chinese broccoli/kale, Chinese cabbage, American/land cress, Kale, Kohl rabi, Komatsuna/Mustard spinach, Mizuna, Mustard greens/Oriental mustard, Swede, Radish, Rocket, Sea kale, Texsel greens, Turnip and
herbs: Horseradish, Black Mustard, White Mustard, Watercress (Brooklime) and Woad
Susceptible to clubroot, which stays in the soil for years. It is vital that a proper rotation is kept to in particular for this family. Don't grow two crucifer crops immediately after one another on the same ground.
3 Umbelliferae
(Umbellifers)
Carrot, Celeriac, Celery, Bulbous Chervil, Florence Fennel, Hamburg Parsley, Parsnip, Skirret (Crummocks) and
herbs: Ajowan, Angelica, Anise, Caraway, Leaf celery, Chervil, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Lovage, Parsley, Sea holly (Field Eryngo) and Sweet Cicely.
It is important to keep fennel and dill as far apart as possible, preferably not growing them both on the same plot.
4 Compositae Chinese Artichoke, Globe Artichoke, Jerusalem Artichoke, Japanese Burdock (Gobo), Cardoon, Celtuce (Stem lettuce), Chicory, Chop Suey green (Shungiku), Endive, Lettuce, Salsify, Scolymus, Scorzonera and
herbs: Arnica (Leopard's Bane), Boneset (Thoroughwort), Chamomile, Coltsfoot (Butterbur), Costmary, Cotton lavender (Santolina), Curry plant, Dandelion, Echinacea (Purple Coneflower), Feverfew, Goldenrod, Hemp Agrimony, Joe Pye weed, African Marigold (American Marigold), French Marigold, Mexican Marigold (Tagetes minuta), Pot Marigold (English Marigold), Milk Thistle, Mugwort, Pyrethrum (Dalmatian Chrysanthemum), Safflower (Saffron Thistle), St. Benedict's Thistle, Southernwood, Sunflower, Tansy, Tarragon, Wormwood and Yarrow.
The herbs of this family have big open daisy-like flowers which are attractive to bees. (The food crops do as well, of course, but these should be removed to extend cropping.)
5 Cucurbitaceae (Cucurbits) Courgette, Cucumber, Gherkin, Marrow, Melon, Pumpkin and other Summer and Winter Squash. Although generally considered to be vegetables for culinary purposes, members of this family are actually grown for their fruit.
6 Liliaceae (mostly Alliums) Asparagus, Garlic, Leek, Onion, Pickling onion, Shallot and Salad onion and
herbs: Aloe vera, Chives, Garlic chives, Lily of the valley, Solomon's seal and Welsh onion (Scallions or Ciboule).
Although often lumped together with roots in rotation schemes, alliums have completely different requirements. Since asparagus is grown as a perennial, it does not really figure in crop rotations.
7 Leguminosae (Legumes) Asparagus pea, Broad bean, Chick pea (not really feasible in the UK), French bean, Hyacinth bean, Lablab bean, Pea, Runner bean and Soy bean and
herbs: Alfalfa, Clover, Fenugreek (Methi), Goat's rue and Melilot.
These crops fix nitrogen, so are useful for building up the soil. Some members of the family make popular green manures. You can also grow clover as an intercrop, which will provide added nutrients, attract bees and other pollinators, and can be dug in at the end of the season.
8 Solanaceae for fruitAubergine, Chilli, Ground cherry, Sweet pepper, Physalis, Tomatillo, Tomato
for root tubersPotato
as herbThorn apple (for companion uses only, poisonous).
Please note: This family is otherwise known as "Nightshades". All parts of potatoes, except the root tubers, are poisonous. This includes the small shoots that grow on stored potatoes and any fruit that may be produced by plants. The other parts of those crops grown for their fruit should also be treated as poisonous. Similarly, no parts of any other member of this family should be eaten.
9 All other families New Zealand spinach, Apple, Apricot, Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Cherry, Elderberry, Fig, Gooseberry, Grape, Huckleberry, Kiwi Fruit, Loganberry, Mulberry, Nectarine, Peach, Pear, Plum, Quince, Raspberry, Redcurrant, Strawberry, Tayberry and most herbs: Alkanet, Anise Hyssop, Holy Basil, Lemon Basil, Sweet Basil, Bay, Bergamot, Betony, Bistort (Snakeweed or Dragonwort), Bog Myrtle, (Sweet Gale or Bayberry) Borage, Calamint, Catnip (Catmint or Field Wort), Clary Sage, Comfrey (Knitbone), Roman Coriander, Corn salad (Mache or Lamb's lettuce), Cowslip (Herb Peter), Deadnettle, Elder, Eucalyptus, Flax (Linseed), Common Foxglove, Woolly Foxglove, Ginger, Ginseng, Heartsease (Wild Pansy), Hemp (Marijuana), Hemp Agrimony, Hollyhock, Common Hop, Horehound, Hyssop, Jacob's Ladder, Juniper, Lady's Bedstraw, Lady's Mantle, Lamb's Ears (Woundwort), Larkspur, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Lily of the Valley, Love in a Mist (Jack in the Green), Love Lies Bleeding (Tassel Flower), Lungwort, Pot Marjoram, Sweet Marjoram, Meadowsweet, Milkweed, Apple Mint, Corsican Mint, Ginger Mint, Spearmint, Mullein, Mushrooms, Musk Mallow, Common Myrtle, Nasturtium, Nettle, Oregano, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Poached Egg Plant, Field Poppy, Opium Poppy, Primrose, Prince's Feather, Summer Purslane, Winter Purslane (Miner's Lettuce), Rosemary, Rue, Saffron, Sage, St. John's Wort, Salad Burnet, Summer Savory, Winter Savory, Self Heal, Sesame, Soapwort, French Sorrel, Wild Strawberry, Teasel, Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Tormentil (Bloodroot), Valerian, Vervain, Sweet Violet, Viper's Bugloss, Witch Hazel and Sweet Woodruff. Corn salad, a few herbs, New Zealand spinach and some types of huckleberry are the only annual crops listed here, so these are the only ones likely to be included in any rotation table.


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Article ©2004 Frann Leach. All rights reserved.

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