Wide-Row Vegetable Gardens

Wide-row gardens are designed as much for beauty as for practicality. This type of garden is laid out so the planting rows are twice as wide as the paths between them. The bed can be rectangular with parallel planting rows and paths, or it can be laid out in curves. Curved paths seem to disappear in the rows of corn, tomatoes, or sunflowers. Paved with bricks, flagstones, gravel, wood pavers, or whatever suits the landscape, the path lends the wide-row vegetable patch the charm of an ornamental garden.

Wide-row planting relies on close plant spacing for its abundant harvests. Sow the seeds closely so that mature foliage shades the earth. In effect, you are sowing a living mulch to cool the soil, preserve water, and rob weeds of sunlight.

Seeds of small plants can be broadcast over the bed; larger plants or transplants can be planted in closely-spaced rows within the wide row. The goal is to have the plants close enough to each other so the foliage intermingles and completely shades the ground.

Whereas the row garden uses about 30 percent of the garden for crops, wide-row planting with intensive cropping uses about 70 to 80 percent.