Traditional Row Gardens

The traditional layout for a food garden is a rectangle divided by parallel rows of planting beds with wide paths between them. The term for this design is row gardening. There is a satisfying, unpretentious beauty in a well-kept, well-ordered vegetable plot laid out this way.

In the days of horse-drawn gardening implements, it was necessary to have wide, straight rows for the horse to walk in, and land was less precious than it is today, so the space taken up by those wide rows wasn’t important. Today we work gardens by the sweat of our brow or with the aid of gas or electric “horses.” Wide spaces between rows only make more land to weed and take up valuable space in the yard.

However, row gardens are still the most common type of garden, and they work well. When laying out a garden like this, try to orient the long axis of the rectangle east and west. This makes it simpler to position tall crops like corn to the north of the garden where they won’t shade shorter crops.