I'm about to start setting up a brand new garden on my new land of 12 acres. Most of that won't be used for high intensity gardening, but I was planning on using somewhere between 0.5 - 1.0 acres of space for the traditional annual gardening of all varieties of annual vegetables. I don't think I need a raised bed, so I was planing to clear the grass that's there, till it up, and start getting it ready for Spring.
If you were starting from scratch, how wide would you make your rows? What kind of spacing? I was originally planing on 3-4' wide rows with 18 inch spacing, but I'm kinda wondering whether that's optimal. What things should I consider?
I used to do 4 foot side with 2-3 foot paths, but switched to 30" rows with 12-18 paths. I did that so I can straddle the row and walk along instead of having to reach from both sides. It also lets you straddle the garden cart over the row so you can pick into it easy or spread compost.
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"Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
We have various row widths for different parts of our gardens. Kale, Beets, Carrots, Radishes, and other root crops get planted in 4' x 4' block planting areas, these grow better that way. Potatoes go into 30" rows for ease of mounding and harvesting. Lettuces go into 36" rows, mixed varieties, these are easy to cover to keep them growing when the heat comes. Herbs are grown in kiddie pools, beans, squashes, peas, peppers are grown in straw bales. In short, we plant each crop the way it will best produce. Lots of our vegie crops are planted between the orchard trees, in bales, which last us two years before they are replaced and become the new mulch layer. Most of our paths are around 2.5 feet wide for the wheelbarrow to be able to be used.
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
posted 3 years ago
I space rows to match my cultivating equipment and the crop... I weed many row crops with a lawn mover, so 36" rows for those. 30" spacing works well when I am primarily using an older Troy-bilt tiller for cultivation. I plant squash rows 8 feet apart, which makes it easy to run the tractor/tiller between rows.
I plant rows of peas about 12" apart. That allows me to run a wheel hoe between the rows. I don't much like planting in beds, because they require hand weeding. A wheel hoe really helps with cultivation first thing in the spring while weeds are small and the ground is mellow. The photo is old. I have come to prefer using only a single wheel.
I plant tomatoes on a grid: 3 feet by 6 feet. That allows me to weed by running the tiller in perpendicular directions.
Another thing that really helps with weeding is to use customized hoes and plant to match the hoes... For example this is my favorite general purpose hoe being used to weed beans, which were planted at the perfect distance for this hoe.
Another thing that I am getting better and better at doing is selecting for plant families that thrive in spite of competition from weeds.
Here's an example of a crop of garlic which was grown in weeds taller than the farmer. The garlic grew for months, in cold weather, before the warm weather weed germinated.