Is Wide Garden Spacing Really Wasteful?


david the good wheel hoe 

Tiny yards, tiny houses, tiny garden beds. Over the last few decades, “tiny” has gotten big.

This is especially true in gardening. Even when I was growing up and learning how to garden, I learned that wide garden spacing was the “old way” to do things and was an artifact of commercial farming and tractor usage. See, if you had tighter spacing, a tractor couldn’t get through the field. Wide spacing in your garden is just a waste of space – after all, didn’t John Jeavons and Mel Bartholomew prove that you could grow tons of food in really tiny spaces?

Great-Grandpa’s methods went out with gas lights and top hats, don’t you know? But, maybe there’s more to know that we think. Today we’ll reconsider the current “common wisdom” on intensive gardening. Despite the mighty army of tiny raised-bed aficionados, mthere are good reasons to adopt wider spacing andlarger garden plots.

Gardens with Wide Spacing Require Less Water

Some years ago I was getting ready to plant corn in a sandy, unirrigated field near Ocala, carefully marking out lines at 18” apart. As I did so, the neighbor stopped by to see what I was doing. He was an old farmer with a cowboy hat and a collection of aged tractors.

“What are you plantin’?” he asked.

3/30/2018 8:49:50 AM

I'm glad to hear that old ways are being reconsidered. I plant my garden at spacing that my grandfather set by his hoe. When he got married and started a family one of the first things he did was to measure off row spacing from his father's hoe and place two carved notches in the handle. One notch for the "regular garden" and the furthest one for the "potato patch". Since his death I have been using that same hoe every year to lay off my rows. The metal head lays at the previous row and the notch marks where to place my rod and string by which to dig my trench or series of holes. The same measurements worked for him for 70 years, and worked for his father before him, and still work great for me. It's at least a hundred year tradition of growing our own food for our families.

Palomino Girl
3/30/2018 8:01:58 AM

I grew up gardening with 36" rows that the rototiller could get through. I still do it that way and have wonderful crops. The rototiller must not kill earthworms, because anywhere you go, there are handfuls of them. I only use old, black horse manure from my own horses as fertilizer, but sometimes play around with some cover crops like buckwheat. I shake my head at these folks who need to go buy lumber and build a box and fill it with dirt. Carpentry is for other projects, not gardening. Although I do have spots in my garden that I move around from year to year and build a cold-frame with some cinderblocks and sections of plastic from my old greenhouse that blew down in a windstorm. Gardening with 3', (I space tomatoes 4'), rows worked for my parents, my grandparents, and it works for me. Rototillers are terrific. My garden is very large, and I'm not going out there with a broadfork! Good grief, I'd never get done.

3/21/2018 6:32:43 PM

LIBERATED FROM DEBT NOW PROPERTIES OWNER WITH THE HELP OF PROSPER LOAN: Share this to help a soul right now, Ya'll will agree with me that the rate of online scamming is increasing by the day. I'm also a victim of it as i was scammed about 25,000usd all in the quest of seeking for an home loan. I actually gave up until a government official directed me to PROSPER LOAN FIRM, Despite the fact of my plight i had to give it a try since it was coming from a top government official. All comment ya'all see online are bullshit and crap, I know the pains i went through just because i was looking for a loan i had to keep on selling valuables to keep paying unforeseen fees. /:I and some great personality have started a movement to end online scam because people are dying everyday, losing their homes, selling their property just because they need a loan. Apart from been a beneficiary of about 295,000usd in PROSPER LOAN FIRM lending scheme , We have also made a research to see that they are the best around the globe as far as online lending is concern, They have proven their self trustworthy and reliable back to back without failing. To end people debt, financial burden and been victimized here is the details of prosper loan firm. Email: OR call +1(816) 366-8769 to put an end to your financial needs now. I'm Heather Patrick from Georgia, United States. It doesn't take you anything to share this great information and good news. Email: OR call +1(816) 366-8769 and celebrate financial outbreak for the rest of your life.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters