Wide Row Gardening
Hello! Today marks the halfway point in our course. In this lesson, we’ll discuss wide row gardening. Wide row gardening is a good way to organize your garden to make it more efficient and increase its yield. This method is particularly useful if you’re low on space but like to plant in rows directly into the ground. In essence, you combine several rows into one, so you end up with a single, wider row.
If you already plant in rows, you’ll need to modify your layout slightly. Do just as you would when starting a row in the garden, but instead of the usual width, make your garden rows at least 18 inches (45 cm) wide. Some gardeners who use this method prefer to make their rows as much as 3-6 feet (0.9-1.8 meters) wide. Choose a distance that works for you. When standing on an edge of the row, you should be able to reach the middle of the row without too much difficulty. Make it too wide, and it starts to become inefficient when you can’t reach your vegetables! You can plant directly into the ground, but many gardeners like to mound the soil up a bit in their rows. Mounding takes a little more work but helps delineate rows and provides a little extra nutrition to young plants.
Depending on the plants you choose, you may also be able to save time by employing a “broadcast” seeding method. Broadcast seeding means that instead of digging individual holes for each seeds, you can simply scatter the seeds across the surface of the row. Then you’ll come back with a rake and very lightly cover the seeds with soil. This methods works well for small seeds and cuts down on planting time. If you choose to broadcast seed your rows, make sure you remember to come back and thin out the seedlings, so they don’t crowd each other as they grow.
The biggest advantage to wide row gardening is that it is much more efficient than regular gardening. With more space in the rows, you can do what’s called “intensive planting,” where you’re able to put plants closer together. This not only means more plants, it also means that those plants are better able to outcompete weeds by blocking sunlight and be more easily watered. In turn, fewer weeds and better water usage means you have less work to do. You’re also able to companion plant more easily with the extra space.
Wide rows work best with smaller, more compact crops like lettuce, radishes, or broccoli. Large and/or sprawling plants like corn, potatoes, or pumpkins will be happiest when planted in mounds or rows. Climbing plants like peas and cucumbers will also fare better in traditional rows.
That’s all for wide row gardening. Tomorrow, we’ll move on to an alternative method to laying out your garden: the square foot method.
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