Companion Vegetable and Herb Planting in Raised Rows

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Grow a bountiful garden using Raised Rows Gardening system
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“Raised Row Gardening” by Jim and Mary Competti, includes benefits of Raised Row Gardening and shares with readers how to achieve a bursting organic garden.

Raised Row Gardening by Jim and Mary Competti, invites readers to try a new method of gardening. Jim and Mary Competti, created the Raised Row method to cut out tilling and reduce time spent weeding as they were short on time and money with full time jobs and small children at home. Learn how to build a Raised Row Garden and follow when figuring out where to plant seeds. The following excerpt is from Chapter 4, “Planting Your First Raised Row Garden in the Spring.”

The Raised Row Garden Crop Planting Guide

The guide below will provide you with information on how to plant the most common garden plants. It will also give you the quantity that a standard 20-foot (6-meter) long row can produce of a single crop. Because you may prefer to plant a variety of crops in a single growing row, we have also included plants that are recommended for planting together, and which ones to avoid planting next to each other.

Vegetables That Are Directly Seeded in the Garden

Arugala

Plant arugula seeds in the early spring and again in late summer for a second crop. Plant three furrows in each growing row, one down the center of the row and two on either side, placed 4 inches (10 cm) away from center. Space your seeds every 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) apart, ½-inch (1 cm) deep. Arugula will germinate within seven to ten days and is ready to pick when the leaves are at least 2 inches (5 cm) in height for baby arugula and at least 6 inches (15 cm) for a mature harvest. Arugula prefers cool weather and will quickly grow vertically and begin to flower when it becomes too hot. You can pull out the plant once you notice a thick stalk emerging from the center and when the plant begins to bloom. Succession planting every two weeks allows you to increase your overall yield and extends the harvest period. Plant the middle strip first with 40 seeds, two weeks later plant an outer strip with an additional 40 seeds and, finally, two weeks later plant the other outer strip with a final 40 seeds. Companion plant with beans, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, onion, potatoes and spinach. Avoid planting next to strawberries.

Beans

You can plant either bush beans, which don’t require a support trellis, or you can plant pole beans. Pole beans grow vertically and will require an external support or stake-a-cage (page 97) to grow on. Plant beans after danger of the last frost. Plant two furrows in your raised row, placing the seeds 3inches (7.5 cm) apart, 1 to 1½ inches (2.5 to 4 cm) deep. Bean plants provide nitrogen back into the soil as they mature, making them a gardener’s dream for soil rejuvenation. Companion plant with cabbage, carrots, cucumber, corn, peas, potatoes, radishes and strawberries. Avoid planting with garlic, leeks, onions and shallots.

Beets

Plant beets in cool weather when the soil temperature reaches 50?F (10?C). Plant seeds in four furrows at ½-inch (1-cm) depth, placed 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Thin seedlings to 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart. Harvest at any time. Beets can be succession planted to extend the growing season by planting one single furrow, and then two weeks later planting another furrow. Continue to plant furrows every two weeks until all four furrows have been planted. A second fall crop can be planted ten weeks before the anticipated first fall frost date. Companion plant with chives, garlic, onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, radishes and spinach. Avoid planting with beans and tomatoes.

Carrots

Plant three furrows of carrot seeds four weeks before the last frost. Plant the seeds thickly ¼-inch (0.5-cm) deep and thin carrots to space every 3 inches (7.5 cm). Companion plant with beans, cabbage, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, tomatoes and radishes. Avoid planting with dill.

Chives

Chives are hardy perennials and can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in early spring. Plant seeds¼-inch (0.5-cm) deep down two furrows of your raised rows. Harvest when chives reach 6 inches (15 cm) in height for best flavor. Mature chive plants will spread quickly and will need to be divided by year two or three. Dig up half of the plant and place in another area of your garden or landscape. Companion plant with basil, carrots, marigold, parsley, strawberries and tomatoes. Avoid planting with beans.

Cilantro

Plant two to three weeks before the last frost down three furrow strips in your growing row. Plant seeds¼-inch (0.5-cm) deep and place 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) apart. Crowding cilantro plants is helpful, especially in early spring to keep the roots shaded from the late spring and early summer heat. Cilantro is quick-growing and will bolt and go to seed as soon as the temperatures warm up. You can plant cilantro in the fall as the temperatures begin to cool for a late season crop. Begin to harvest when there are several leaves at the bottom of the plant, being sure to leave a few so that they continue to grow. Once cilantro goes to seed, you can use the seed pod (coriander) as a spice in culinary dishes, or replant for additional cilantro. Companion plant with asparagus, beans, peas, spinach and tomatoes. Avoid planting with fennel.

Corn

For both sweet corn and popcorn, plant after the last frost down three furrows of your raised row, placing the seeds at least 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) deep. Plants should be 9 inches (23 cm) apart. A20-foot (6-meter) raised row can hold 72 stalks of corn. Companion plant with beans, cucumbers, peas and squash. Avoid planting with tomatoes.

Cucumbers

In a traditional tilled garden, you would establish mounds of soil to plant your cucumbers in. In the Raised Row Garden you have already created those mounds by building each raised row. In a 20-foot (6-meter) bed, you will be planting in five areas, spaced 30 to 36 inches (76 to 91 cm) apart. Place three seeds2 inches (5 cm) apart in a triangular pattern, 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) deep in each of those five areas. Once the seedlings are established, thin each planting area so that there are only two seedlings. You will have a total of ten seedlings. While the plants begin to grow, you will need to move the vines back into the growing row zone to prevent them from expanding into the walking zones. If preferred, you can also place a trellis over each planting area and train them to grow up the support rather than on the ground. Companion plant with beans, cabbage, corn, peas and radishes. Avoid planting with late potatoes.

Dill

After danger of last frost, plant dill seeds in two furrows of your growing row. Plant seeds ¼-inch (0.5-cm) deep, spacing seeds 1 foot (30 cm) apart down the furrow. Dill will grow between 2 to 3 feet (61 to 90 cm) tall. Harvest frequently and early to prevent the plant from going to seed. Companion plant with cabbage, corn, cucumbers, fennel, lettuce and onions. Avoid planting with cilantro and tomatoes.

Edamame

This is a bush bean plant that is picked when the beans are green and plump. Plant after danger of the last frost. Plant two furrows in your raised row, placing the seeds 4 inches (10 cm) apart and placing them in the ground 1 to 1½ inches (2.5 to 4 cm) deep. Companion plant with corn and potatoes. There are no plants to avoid with edamame.

Kale

Plant seeds in the early spring and again in late summer for a second crop. Plant three furrows, spacing your seeds every 4 inches (10 cm) apart, ¼-inch (0.5-cm) deep. Succession planting every two weeks allows you to increase your overall yield and extends the harvest period. Plant the middle strip first with40 seeds, two weeks later plant an outer strip with an additional 40 seeds and, finally, two weeks later plant the other outer strip with a final 40 seeds. Companion plant with cabbage, dill and potatoes. Avoid planting next to pole beans, strawberries and tomatoes.

Leaf Lettuce

Plant seeds in early spring at a depth of ½ inch (1 cm) and spaced ½ to 1 inch (1 to 2.5 cm) apart. Succession planting every two weeks allows you to increase your overall yield and extends the harvest period. Lettuce prefers cool weather and may not produce well during a hot summer. Plant an additional crop in late summer for fall harvest. Companion plant with carrots, radishes, strawberries and cucumbers. Avoid planting with broccoli, celery and parsley.

Leeks

Plant leeks in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked. The holes that you plant the seeds in must be deep to allow the leeks to blanch underground, producing the large white area that they are known for. Dig three furrows down the middle and outside edges of your raised beds that are at least6 inches (15 cm) deep. Plant seeds 3 to 4 inches (8 to 10 cm) apart, resulting in a yield of over 170 leeks in just one 20-foot (6-meter) long bed. Companion plant with onion, celery and carrots. There are no plants to avoid with leeks.

Onions

Planting onions is either done by planting seeds or by planting onion sets. Either way, onions are planted in early spring when the ground can be worked. Plant in three furrows down your raised row. Onion seeds need to be placed in the ground at the depth of ½ inch (1 cm) and onion sets at a depth of 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm), both spaced 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart. Onions can be harvested at any time, although if you want large bulbs, it will require harvesting in late summer or early fall. In zones four through eight, onions can be over-wintered by placing them in the ground in the fall for an early June harvest the following year. Companion plant with broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, peppers and tomatoes. Avoid planting with peas and beans.

Peas

Prior to planting green peas, put a trellis down the middle of your raised row. Do this by using three large landscaping stakes with chicken wire or metal livestock fencing intertwined between the stakes. Even dwarf pea varieties produce better when supported. Plant peas in the early spring as soon as the ground can be worked. Plant at a depth of ½ inch (1 cm), spaced 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart along two furrows on either side of the trellis. Once the peas begin to grow, train them upward by placing them close to the fence so they can reach and climb up the fence. Companion plant with beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers and radishes. Avoid planting with garlic, leeks, onions and shallots.

Potatoes

Plant potatoes in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked. Potatoes are planted using seed potatoes. Cut seed potatoes so that each piece contains an eye. Let them sit overnight to harden the freshly cut skin. In your raised row, dig two long furrows 4 inches (10 cm) deep, and plant each potato piece 10 inches (25 cm) apart with the eye facing upward. As the plant begins to grow, add a mound of soil and organic material, such as shredded leaves and straw, around the base of each plant, leaving no more than 6 inches (15 cm) of the plant exposed. Continue to mound throughout the growing season for maximum yields. Companion plant with beans, corn, cabbage and eggplant. Avoid planting with cucumbers, pumpkin, squash and tomatoes.

Radishes

Plant radish seeds directly in the soil in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked. You can plant up to five strips within your raised bed. Succession planting is important so that not all radishes are ready for harvest at once. Succession plant every two weeks, which will allow you to increase your overall yield and extend the harvest over a longer period of time. Plant the middle furrow first with 40 seeds, two weeks later plant two additional furrows, 3 inches (7.5 cm) away from the middle row on either side, with an additional40 seeds in each. Finally, two weeks later, plant the final two furrows on the outer strips with 40 seeds in each. Radishes like cool weather and will quickly go to seed in the warm summer months. Plant another batch in late summer for a fall crop. Companion plant with beans, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes and spinach. Avoid planting with potatoes.

Sage

Sage is a perennial and does best when planted from divisions of already established sage plants. Divide a sage plant and plant the divisions down the center of your raised row. Harvest minimally during the first year to allow the plants to become established. Companion plant with beans, cabbage, carrots, peas, rosemary and strawberries. There are no plants to avoid with sage.

Spinach

Plant spinach seeds in the early spring and in late summer for a second crop. Plant three furrows, spacing your seeds every 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm), ½ inch (1 cm) deep. Spinach prefers cool weather and will quickly grow vertically and begin to flower when it becomes too hot. You can pull out the plant once you notice a thick stalk emerging from the center and when the plant begins to bloom. Succession planting every two weeks allows you to increase your overall yield and extends the harvest period. Plant the middle furrow first with 40 seeds, two weeks later plant an outer furrow with an additional 40 seeds, and, finally, two weeks later plant the other outer furrow with a final 40 seeds. Cut leaves when they reach 2 inches (5 cm) in height or higher as this will encourage new and additional growth. Companion plant with cabbage, lettuce, onions, peas, peppers, radishes, strawberries and tomatoes. There are no plants you must avoid with spinach.

Squash

In a traditional tilled garden, you would establish mounds of soil to plant your squash. In the Raised Row Garden, you have already created those mounds by building each raised row. In a 20-foot (6-meter) long bed, you will be planting in five areas spaced 30 to 36 inches (76 to 91 cm) apart. Place three seeds,2 inches (5 cm) apart, in a triangular pattern 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) deep in each of those five areas. Once the seedlings are established, thin each planting area so that there are only two seedlings. You will have a total of ten seedlings. While the plants begin to grow, you will need to move the vines back into the growing row zone to prevent them from expanding into the walking zones. If preferred, you can also place a trellis over each planting area and train the squash plants to grow up the support rather than on the ground. Companion plant with beans, corn, nasturtiums and peas. Avoid planting with potatoes.

Swiss Chard

Plant two to three weeks before the last frost date. Place seeds ½-inch (1 cm) deep, 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart down two furrows of your growing row. Harvest when leaves are large enough to eat. Cut often to encourage new growth. Companion plant with beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and onions. Avoid planting with corn, cucumbers and most herbs.

Zucchini

In a traditional tilled garden, you would establish mounds of soil to plant your zucchini in. In the Raised Row Garden you have already created those mounds by building each raised row. In a 20-foot (6-meter) bed, you will be planting in five areas, spaced 30 to 36 inches (76 to 91 cm) apart. Plant four zucchini seeds per area. Thin the seedlings down to two per area once the seedlings have their first set of true leaves. Harvest zucchini when they reach 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) in length. Companion plant with beans, corn, garlic, peas, radishes, spinach, dill, oregano, marigolds and nasturtiums. Avoid planting with potatoes.

Vegetables that Do Best as Transplants

Broccoli

Plant seedlings in early spring and again in late summer for a second crop. Space broccoli 18 inches (46 cm) apart in a zigzag, off-setting row formation, with a maximum of 24 plants in a 20-foot (6-meter) long raised row. This vegetable prefers cooler weather and should be harvested while the buds are still tightly formed and not yet opened up. Cut the main stalk and leave the plant to continue to produce smaller florets for harvesting later. Help repel the damage caused by cabbage moths and aphids by planting marigolds and nasturtiums on the edges of your broccoli row. Companion plant with cabbage, carrots, dill, mint and onions. Avoid planting with strawberries.

Brussel Sprouts

Plant seedlings in early spring, as this cool-loving vegetable is a slow-growing plant that prefers to be harvested after the first frost. Space seedlings 18 inches (46 cm) apart in a zigzag formation, with the plants off-setting down the two sides of your raised row for a maximum of 24 plants in a 20-foot(6-meter) long raised row. Sprouts will first form from the bottom of the stalk, and will work their way upward as the harvest season progresses. Harvest when individual sprouts are 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) in diameter, working from the bottom up. The plant will continue to grow sprouts at the top and can be harvested for several weeks. This will most likely be the last plant that you pull out of your garden in the fall. As with broccoli, repel damage caused by cabbage moths and aphids by planting marigolds and nasturtiums throughout your Brussels sprout raised row. Companion plant with cabbage, carrots, dill, mint and onions. Avoid planting with strawberries.

Cabbage

Plant seedlings four weeks before the last frost for a summer crop and eight weeks before the first frost in the fall for a second crop. Space seedlings 12 inches (30 cm) apart in a zigzag formation, with the plants off-setting down two strips of your raised row bed for a maximum of eighteen cabbage plants in a 20-foot(6-meter) long raised row. Companion plant with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach and tomatoes. Avoid planting with strawberries.

Cauliflower

Plant seedlings four weeks before the last frost for a summer crop and eight weeks before the first frost in the fall for a second crop. Space seedlings 12 inches (30 cm) apart in a zigzag formation, with the plants off-setting down two strips of your raised row bed for a maximum of eighteen plants in a 20-foot(6-meter) long raised row. Cauliflower prefers a cooler climate and will develop tiny button-sized heads if it becomes too hot or stressed. As the cauliflower head develops, you must cover it with its leaves. This will naturally blanch the head of the cauliflower to ensure that it will be white and tender for eating. Companion plant with beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, corn and radishes. Avoid planting with peas, tomatoes and strawberries.

Eggplant

Plant seedlings after danger of the last frost. Eggplants love warm weather and even the slightest bit of frost will damage the plant. Space the seedlings 18 inches (46 cm) apart in a zigzag formation, with the plants off-setting down the two sides of your raised row. This will allow you to plant a maximum of24 plants in a 20-foot (6-meter) raised row. Companion plant with green beans, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. There are no plants that you need to avoid with eggplant.

Head Lettuce

Plant seedlings in early spring as soon as ground can be worked. Space seedlings 12 inches (30 cm) a part in a zigzag formation, with the plants off-setting down two strips of your raised row bed for a maximum of eighteen plants in a 20-foot (6-meter) long raised row. Although lettuce prefers cool weather, new seedlings will need to be covered to prevent damage from a hard frost. Companion plant with carrots, radishes, strawberries and cucumbers. Avoid planting with broccoli, celery and parsley.

Peppers

Plant seedlings after the last frost date. Spacing requirements vary depending on the mature size of the pepper plant, however a general rule of thumb is to space peppers 12 to 18 (30 to 46 cm) inches apart down the center of the growing row. On average, place ten small- to medium-sized pepper plants, or eight large pepper plants, per 20-foot (6-meter) raised row. Prior to planting, determine where you will be placing your plants. Place a stake-a-cage support system (page 97) 1 inch (2.5 cm) behind each planting spot. This will allow you to have the support in place prior to planting and will prevent any damage to the roots once planted. Companion plant with onions, spinach and tomatoes. Avoid planting with beans.

Strawberries

Strawberries are perennials and should be planted in a permanent location in your garden, ideally, in an outside row. Plant in early spring when the soil can be worked. Dig a hole deep enough that the roots can spread out easily. At the bottom of each plant where the roots become the stem, the base will form a small crown. Mound soil in the center of the hole and place the crown slightly above the earth’s surface, burying no more than half of the crown in the dirt. This will prevent the crown from rotting. As runners develop, push them into the ground to encourage further growth. June-bearing strawberries will produce a lot of runners and have a harvest season of two to three weeks. Ever bearing strawberries produce all season long and will grow more upright and produce fewer runners. Companion plant with lettuce, spinach, beans, garlic, onions, dill, thyme, sage and marigolds. Avoid planting with cabbage family plants, tomatoes, peppers and potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are unlike most vegetable plants, as they aren’t grown from seed. They are grown from slips made from shoots from mature sweet potato plants. You can buy slips or make your own. To make your own, cut a cleaned sweet potato in half. Place each section in a glass of water with the cut half below the water and the top half above the water. It is best to suspend the potato by placing four toothpicks in the side of the potato that is not in water, and allowing the toothpicks to rest on the top the glass. Once the potato begins to sprout, carefully twist off each sprout and place the bottom stem in a bowl of shallow water so the leaves hang over the rim of the bowl. Roots will begin to develop, and your slips are ready to be planted. Plant sweet potato slips three weeks after the last frost date. Unlike other potatoes, sweet potatoes prefer warm weather and cannot tolerate the cool temperatures in the spring. You can plant two furrows of sweet potatoes in your raised rows. Plant individual slips 8 inches (20 cm) apart, with the plant’s roots and half of the leaves and main stem below the soil surface. Sweet potato plants are either a vining or bush variety, so depending on what type of sweet potato you planted, you may need to move the vines back into the growing row zone to prevent them from expanding into the walking zones. Each slip should produce 3 to 4 pounds (1.25 to 1.75 kilograms) of sweet potatoes, depending on the variety planted. In a 20-foot (6-meter) long raised row you can harvest up to216 pounds (98 kilograms) of sweet potatoes. Companion plant with beets, beans and peas. Avoid planting with squash.

Tomatoes

Plant seedlings after the last frost date. Spacing requirements vary depending on the mature size of the tomato plant, however a general rule of thumb is to space tomatoes 24 to 36 inches (61 to 91 cm) apart. On average place nine small paste tomato plants, or seven large heirloom or cherry tomato plants, per20-foot (6-meter) raised row. This will allow for adequate air circulation around each plant and helps to prevent diseases from transferring from one plant to another. Prior to planting, determine where you will be placing your plants. Place a stake-a-cage support system (page 97) 1 inch (2.5 cm) behind each planting spot. This will allow you to have the support in place prior to planting and will prevent any damage to the roots once planted. See page 92 for information on pruning tomato plants. Companion plant with beans, carrots, lettuce, onions, peppers, radishes and spinach. Avoid planting with broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, kale and potatoes.


Reprinted with permission from  Raised Row Gardening by Jim & Mary Competti and published by Page Street Publishing Co. 2017.

 


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