A wide garden row is ideal for growing leaf and small root crops. For easy planting and maintenance grow lettuce, spinach, radishes, and carrots in rows the width of a standard 15-inch bow rake. A wide row also can be used for medium-sized crops such as cabbages, bush beans, and eggplants grown two across.
Wide rows are ideal for very small-seeded vegetables—seeds that are more easily broadcast than sown tiny seed by tiny seed. Unlike single rows, wide rows allow for a greater harvest from less space.
While plants may not grow in a series of straight rows with workspace on each side for the gardener, wide rows–about the width of your arm–will allow for intensive planting. Intensive planting or cropping places multiple crops in the same bed; you can grow more crops in one bed saving on space and labor and increasing yield.
HOW TO CREATE AND CARE FOR A WIDE ROW GARDEN BED:
• Instead of creating narrow mounded single seed row, mound soil up the width of a steel bow rake—12 to 18 inches across. Allow a traditional furrow on either side for deep watering—a wide row is ideal for overhead irrigation as you might water lettuce or spinach.
• Rake flat and smooth the wide row—make sure dirt clods are eliminated. If your wide row is just 4 to 6 inches taller than the surrounding area, the soil will warm quicker in spring, hold solar heat throughout the season, and be well drained. These are ideal conditions for vegetable growing.
• Decide what you are going to plant in your wide bed. It may be one crop; that will make seed or transplant spacing easy—sow seed or set starts so that their leaves are just touching at maturity. If you are growing multiple crops in the wide bed, vary spacing so that each plant is given enough space to reach its mature size.
• Broadcast—meaning to cast broadly—seed across the top of the bed. You may literally throw seed across the bed (thinning seedlings will follow in a few weeks) or you may systematically sow seed in a grid or pattern across the row. Make sure a thin layer of planting mix cover the seed and gently water the seed in. For best germination, the soil should come in contact with the seed; before watering, some gardeners use a wide board to press the soil covering the seed.
Set transplants or vegetable starts across the bed in double row or in a 2-1-2 pattern. Consider the size of each plant at maturity, then use plant stakes or small sticks to arrange the planting pattern for the most efficient use of space and increase yield per square foot.
• Interplant quicker growing crops between slower growing crops for the most efficient use of space and time. For example, you can grow a lettuce transplant between two cabbage plants. The lettuce will be ready for harvest in 30 to 40 days; the slower growing cabbages which require 60 or more days to harvest will just be spreading their leaves when the lettuce in between is harvested.