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skiingjeff
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To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

I have somewhat limited space so creating raised rows uses up a lot of space. :( Do you really need to use raised rows? If so, is it specific to certain vegetables? Is it for rain water control or just to easily mark where things are planted?

I know things like yellow squash say something about making 36" mounds but .... really? :?

Cucumbers say the same thing but I think no mounds with the trellis would work fine.

So I"m asking what is the purpose of raised rows and mounds and do I really need them?

Thoughts - thanks in advance! :D

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rainbowgardener
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

The idea of raised rows, mounds, beds is to create more depth of nice loose, enriched soil. You can of course plant directly in the ground without that and you can work on loosening and enriching your native soil without necessarily raising it. But those of us with heavy clay soil and limited space, find it easier to create our own soil from scratch in a raised bed or row, than to get the native soil that loose and enriched.

One thing I like about raised beds/ wide rows, is that you don't have to plant in single file, you can plant the whole area.
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skiingjeff
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

The garden we have was "created". We had to import a lot of soil to fill the area so it is sort of a large raised bed in itself.

I get what you're saying about planting in straight rows versus a whole area and I've only done that with radishes and carrots before so I'll have to give that some thought. I've normally just marked out the perimeter of the planting area when I did that in the past.

Thanks for getting back so quickly RBG! :)

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digitS'
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

I use raised beds without the frames. In other words, the paths between the 4' beds have been dug out a little and that soil has been added to the ground that will actually be growing plants. Any soil amendments go in the bed. The paths are for me to plod up and down on.

Instead of a convex soil surface, I create something of a concave surface. That is just done with raking soil to the sides of the beds. If anything, I am interested in capturing water rather than have it drain off into the paths. We seldom have even a ¼" rainstorm during the growing season here and my garden soil drains quickly, anyway.

I don't really like to plant in rows in the bed, but do. It is just for sown seed and things like onion sets. Transplants go in a matrix pattern and that makes better use of the space.

If I could shrink my feet a little . :? . . . I'd be happy to have 12" paths. But, I find 24" much more comfortable.

Steve
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skiingjeff
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

Interesting thought to make the planting areas concave...Hmmm

The opposite of what one would normally think. Another interesting thing to ponder while I'm working on the garden plan. :)

We don't worry too much about lack of water here in the Northeast but still the idea has appeal for marking a plot.

Thanks for the thoughts!

Dillbert
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

one option I've used for many years is "double rows" - e.g. for beans, roughly 24 inches wide, paths scooped out. you can harvest/tend from either side - but saves "a path down the middle"

staggered planting in a "double width" row also results in slightly more "density" but maintains stem-to-stem distances.

a 48" width I find just a tad too much.

one of the other reasons I like to scoop out a path.... that's where I till first. essentially a double-dig-aka-till method. carrots and other root crops love 10-12 inches of fluffy soil.

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jal_ut
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

The garden we have was "created". We had to import a lot of soil to fill the area so it is sort of a large raised bed in itself.
You can just plant on the flat. No need to make raised rows.
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skiingjeff
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

We've done some of the staggered planting stuff as well to save on space. It seems to help some of the veggies hold themselves and each other up without staking.

Dillbert, are you saying you take the scooped out path stuff and add it on top of the areas your planting the carrots and stuff to make up the deeper tilled areas?

Thanks for the discussions and suggestions. :)

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jal_ut
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

Many things such as carrots, radish, turnips, can be planted in a bed rather than rows. Make a bed 2 feet by 3 feet and broadcast some seed on it and rake it in .

For summer squash and cukes I like to give them a space about 6 feet square and plant 5 seeds in a small circle in the center of that area. The vines then radiate outward.

Cucumbers can also be planted in a row with a seed every six inches. You have to remember that the vines may get 4 feet long and a row like this will cover quite an area as some will go each way.

Some plant cukes along a trellis and let them climb.

The pumpkins and large vined squash send out some very long vines. Give them some space. I once had a pumpkin travel 8 feet to a fence, climb the fence, jump into a tree and climb 15 feet up into the tree.

I plant a large area and put most of my rows at 32 inches spacing. This way I can run the tiller between rows to get weeds. If you are not weeding with a tiller, this is of no concern and you can put rows spaced whatever. Green bush beans work well spaced 20 inches. Corn 30 inches (two or more rows).
Onions 8 inches. Beets 12 inches. Just to make a few suggestions.

The thing to keep in mind is that the rows should be spaced far enough to give the plants their own space. IOW if a cabbage plant has a mature spread of 30 inches, best to put rows at 30 inches. Plants do better if they are not in too much competition with the next plant over.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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skiingjeff
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

Great Info - thanks!

Dillbert
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

>>Dillbert, are you saying you take the scooped out path stuff and add it on top of the areas your planting the carrots and stuff to make up the deeper tilled areas?

exactly.

so lets say you dig/rake/till/whatever an area.
go through with a flat coal shovel and scoop 4-6" deep paths, toss the dirt onto "the mound" - the mound is now 4-6" higher and the path is 4-6" lower.

now the mound has 2x the fluffy soil.
next tilling event, you start in the paths at 4-6 inches "below grade"
with a tiller than can do 6" depth (yeah, but 4" is a lot less damaging to the human....) now you have a "garden bed" that is 8-12" deep.

working organic matter into soil starting at -4 inches; yeah - after couple years makes a _huge_ difference.

note: keeping notes/charts/drawings required, rotate / offset paths so the whole area gets dug/tilled/organicmattered to that depth over time.

estorms
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

i have found string beans planted in a wide row are harder to pick. I like the wide row for lettuce, beets, and carrots.

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skiingjeff
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

Great! Thanks again everyone. Can't wait to get out in the garden and work the dirt :) I hoping to have time tomorrow or Thursday.

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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

Digits concave soil surface just wouldn't work for me as we get way too much rain. You have to work with your climate if you want a garden to produce to its potential. And even then it can be a crap shoot at times.

Just this past weekend there was so much water in the garden that I could have held boat races between the rows. In a few weeks when my tomatoes are ripening, I'll hope for not much rain because last year we had so much it caused them to split and that ruined many of them.


Like Dillbert, I also plant many things in "double rows". Soybeans for edamame are planted in a row about 24 inches wide with the plants being about 6 inches from the sides with 12 inches between them. I'll also do this with bush beans and for things like salad greens, beets, onions, etc. I'll plant the whole width and thin as needed.

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digitS'
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

Yes, I imagine that the beds shown below would be good gold fish ponds in some places.

I don't go for "below grade" because I don't feel that is necessary here. The paths are below grade about 4" and, like Dilbert, that soil is added to the growing space. It has just worked out that nearly all beds in my gardens are about 25' long and 4' wide.

Often, I will run the tiller when I'm starting out building a bed. The weeds in the paths may well see that tiller going up and down thru them during the season.

Just as I have gotten everything in beds again last year, there will be new ground in an expansion of the "big veggie garden," this year. I will start off with row crops, maybe for a few years. Meanwhile, I will try to figger how to get that ground in beds, too.

Steve

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skiingjeff
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Re: To Row or Not To Row, That is the Question!

Yeah, some years we might float and others we would be happy to have the retention especially come August! You just can never tell here in the Northeast.

Steve, Wow now that's a garden plot! I don't have quite that much space but I sure try to pack as much as I can into what I have.

Didn't get out in the garden today but hopefully tomorrow.

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