I have a very small area to garden–I have been growing tomatoes in the same spot for several years with great success–I know it is recommended that one rotates this crop to another area, but would it be OK to raise them in the same spot, provided the soil is amended yearly with compost, as I have been doing?
Just thought I would add in a quote from Eliot Coleman’s The New Organic Grower:
“Many Old-time growers insist that tomatoes do best if planted every year in the same spot. they even recommend fertilizing them with compost made from the decayed remains of their predecessors. I once grew tomatoes that way for eight years in a greenhouse. In truth, they were excellent, and they got better every year. I do not grow field tomatoes that way now and cannot really defend my decision except to say that it is more convenient when they are part of the rotation. It could be that I am just uncomfortable about breaking the rules I have found to work so well with other crops. It could also be that I am unnecessarily limiting my options. I suggest that you try growing tomatoes (or any crop, for that matter) without rotation. Nothing is as stifling to success in agriculture as inflexible adherence to someone else’s rules. With a little daring and imagination whole new vistas may open up.”
Doesn’t that just make you want to run outside and start experimenting?
Crop rotation on a three-year basis is the general recommendation, particularly if diseases that can overwinter occur (which late blight cannot in the North, but many other things can). That said, who has the room? :) I try to rotate at least every other year, swapping which raised bed(s) I devote to tomatoes and putting my garlic or brassicas there instead in any given year. I also add lots of compost each year.
I would point you to my pretty good selection of tomato stories on the blog, which include ones about tips for success and also what to do about disease issues:
Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.