Over the years I have tried many different “innovations” and one of them that stuck is planting in wide rows. What is a wide row, you ask? My explanation of a wide row is one wider than a single row of vegetables.
After trying different widths I have settled on a 30 inch wide row. Why 30 inches? A 30 inch row is wide enough to plant any thing I want to plant, but I can still step across the row.
One of the biggest benefits is that I form my 30 inch rows with a 12 inch walk way between the beds and leave them that way semi-permanently. I would say it was a permanent design, but I am always changing things, like making the garden bigger or adding a hoop house in one corner.
Having permanent rows is a big advantage because you can build up the fertility in the row, eliminate compaction and have a set design to work with every year. You will get to the place that you will not need to till before planting because the soil, if you are using compost, is so loose you can just make a row and plant. Every once-in-awhile I will deeply loosen the soil with a spading fork.
Your plants will do better in a wide row because they are close together. You can actually grow more by planting in multiple rows or by broadcasting the seed. I plant my green beans in double rows down the middle of the beds and mulch between the rows and on the outsides of the rows. I could get even more beans by broadcasting, but they are a pain to pick and I like to have fresh beans to eat as long as I can with each batch.
The beds are wide enough for a single row of tomatoes with their cages. But, if you plant a long row of tomatoes it is wise to leave a space between two tomato cages in the middle of the row, so you can cross over without going all the way to the end.
When planted close together the plants will shade out weeds, meaning less work for you. They require less water because they shade the ground. I have noticed my garden does better than the others around me because I plant in wide rows, mulch the rows and use only compost.
Bigger plants like broccoli I plant in a single row and mulch. Cabbage is a great plant for the wide row as you can stagger the plants to get them closer together and they will completely shade the ground and have almost no weeds. I plant broccoli about 18 inches apart and cabbage about 12 inches in a zigzag pattern.
Hope this gets you creative juices flowing and stimulates some new ideas for your garden.
Steve Wisley has been gardening organically for over a quarter of a century. Gardening is a great way to, not only, grow great tasting, healthy, chemical free food that is good for your family, but gardening is reconnecting with your soul. It is getting your hands in the stuff that life is based upon, and it can heal some of hurt you feel inside.
Steve started this blog to guide others in starting and improving their organic garden to produce healthy, nutritious, great tasting food for their family. Pick up your copy of the booklet “6 Easy Common Sense Tips To Ban Bugs From Your Garden Without Chemicals”.