Understanding families

Sea spring seeds offer a simple explanation to vegetable rotations:

“January is a good a time to start ordering your seeds. But before you do you need to plan the garden, deciding not only where each vegetable will go, but also how much of each one to grow. As you perform the annual ritual, don’t forget the need to rotate the vegetables around the garden.

Rotating is an important natural control that will prevent pest and disease build-up in the soil, and there is nothing mysterious about setting up an effective system. All you need is an understanding of plant families and the organisational skills to grow plants from the same family only one year in four on the same patch of ground. Given the large number of vegetable families, rotating can get overly complicated, so to keep it simple, put the main emphasis on the Alliaceae (onions, leeks and garlic), Brassicaceae (cabbages, calabrese and kales) and Solanaceae (tomatoes, potatoes and peppers) families. Then you can fine tune the rotations with other families such as the carrots, legumes and cucurbits. (For more information on rotations and plant families click here.)

Whatever plan you come up with, don’t ever (and we mean it) trust your memory – draw maps every year and keep them where they can be easily found. Four years are a long time to remember. Trust us, we’ve learned the hard way.”

Alliaceae Amaryllidaceae Leek, Onion, Shallot  Chives 
Apiaceae Umbelliferae Carrot, Coriander, Parsley, Parsnip  Celeriac, Celery, Fennel 
Asteraceae Compositae Lettuce  Chicory/Endive, Globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, Salsify, Scorzonera  
Brassicaceae Cruciferae Broccoli/Calabrese, Brussel sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Chinese cabbage, Pak choi, Radish, Swede, Turnip  Kohlrabi, Texsel greens, Mizuna, Tatsoi   
Chenopodiaceae Beetroot, Perpetual spinach, Spinach


New Zealand spinach 
Cucurbitaceae Cucumber, Courgette Pumpkin, Squash 
Fabaceae Leguminosae Broad Bean, French Bean, Runner Bean, Pea


Lamiaceae Labiatae Basil, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage 
Liliaceae Asparagus 
Poaceae Gramineae Sweet corn  Lemon grass 
Solanaceae Pepper, Potato, Tomato  Aubergine, Tomatillo 

For more information visit: