Resting a farm plot

Voodoo 6 said:
Does anyone know if there is any truth to resting a plot of farm land?
Yes, there is. I would think you want to plant nitrogen fixing crops in off years. You don't necessarily have to not plant anything, but different plants use and add different nutrients to the soil.

Planting the same thing year after year can drain nutes the plants need, but crop rotation can fix it.
I was thinking more along the lines of what they do In France, with the vineyards. As I understand it they don't really do a crop rotation, they just let the land rest totally.
I just planted my main plot in clover, vetch, and annual alfalfa. We have heavy clay soil. Every few years I rotate between 2 different 3 acre plots. Between tilling and loss of organic matter the soil turns to muck. I highly recommend resting/rebuilding your soil if you have the space to do so.
Your soil should never be bare. If there aren't any plants growing you should have it covered in mulch.

French vineyards are a different topic because they grow, purposefully, in bad soil. That helps control yields, maintains stress, and concentrate flavors. Their soil is basicly gravel in many areas.
Resting farm land is different from rotation, and generally a mechanism to preserve moisture for the next season in dry climates. Look up fallow cropland or summer fallow.
My opinion is that if your can recoup/recover the lost nutrients with compost, then you should be able to continue growing the same crops over and over.
Why doesn't this work in normal practice ?
The compost /or additives that we use to recuperate the soil year in and year out doesn't always recover the the same micro nutrients or macro nutrients that were taken from the soil by the previous plant that was in the garden.  When we "harvest" a crop or a fruit, that fruit has extracted a specific amount of micro/macro nutrient from the soil, and then when we try to replenish the soil with that specific amount of nutrient, we fail. The ONLY way to replenish the soil with the exact amount of nutrient that the fruit has taken from the soil.... is to ADD the fruit back into the soil.... i.e... do not harvest. Just Saying.
One way to mitigate the loss of nutrients in the soil for a specific crop is to allow the soil to "rest" (don't plant).  What this does is allow the natural biology of the soil "recover". It gives time for the natural soil biology to replacing missing elements with new, by decomposing matter that already exists within the soil, and allow surplus elements to be consumed by the natural process. The soil will balance itself based on the available resources.  After all... Life wants to live !
You can grow plants in many types of soil.... Life will find it's way right ?  But the soil must be able to replenish itself. It must be able break down the available organic matter to replenish the the nutrients that have bee taken up by the plants. Sometimes this process is slow.... very slow. It depends a lot on soil composition... and the amount of biology in the soil itself.
Another way to allow the soil to "rest", is to plant an alternative crop (i.e. crop rotation). I am not a fan of this since the "crop rotation" is general reference to large farms.... one year Corn.... maybe the next year Soybean. I don't have any supporting arguments for or against this type of farming. It just doesn't work with me.
For me in the end, I like organic. Plant a plant... Grow it. Save the seeds... Grow it again. Compost your yard waste (grass and leaves if you can).... Add the compost to the garden. Add Horse Shit from the neighbors pit. Or get it from some local source.
Eat the Hot Peppers.... Hot Peppers are the key to a clean colon .... (or just a painful morning).... LOL
Happy Growing !!
Resting farm land (fallow) is an old, way old practice, rarely practiced at all today. Modern farmers will use something called a "ley" where they turn crop land into pasture, organic farmers use this especially as part of their rotations. To get a difference in definition:
"a field in which crops are grown in rotation with periods when the field is sown with grass for pasture. Leys are an essential part of organic farming." (Dict. of Agriculture, 3rd ed.) In my understanding a pasture crop for a ley is rarely just something like perennial rye, you will probably see white clover and maybe a forage radish to improve soil structure and fertility.
"a period when land is not being used for growing crops for a period so that nutrients can build up again in the soil or to control weeds - to let land lie" (Dict. of Agriculture, 3rd ed.) Specifically this allowed weeds to grow without being within a crop so they were easily weeded, this in a time before we could deep plough. I remember reading that before there was an understanding of soil structure and nutrients, sometime before the introduction of the four course rotation, that fallowing land was understood to maintain good heart in the soil. Heart being a nonsense word today just meaning stuff grows well.
Letting land lie fallow works but it has rare use cases today, better to sow a cover crop or control via rotation. Clever rotation should prevent nutrient issues also which is something they didn't understand when using fallows.