I just tilled my garden, the culmination of a long time of work, a little at
Now, I'm not sure as to how to lay it out. How far apart should the rows
be? Should I make level trenches so the water flows into the trenches and
goes into the plants, or make a tubing setup with emitters? The garden plot
is on a slant. I had thought making the rows along the horizontal plane so
the water just doesn't run downhill. Am going to put weed barrier all
around, and then cut in where I want to plant things.
Just not sure how to lay it out, keep enough space for walkways, and get it
half way right from the get go.
Help or sites appreciated.
I am assuming that you want to grow veges or cut flowers so that you need
access to work on the plants. It is important that you do not compact the
soil of the bed by walking on it or puting anything heavy on it. Make the
rows as far apart so that you can comfortably reach to the centre of the bed
without standing on the bed. For most people this is about 3 to 4 ft where
you can get to both sides and half that if only one side. The narrower the
beds the higher the proportion of wasted ground used on paths. The wider
the beds the more difficult it is to work on them. It is handy to make the
paths wide enough to take a wheelbarrow, for most barrows this is about 1.5
to 2 ft as the tray can overhang the beds. You can maximise the growing
area with some sort of stepping stones instead of paths but this makes
maintenance more difficult and precludes the barrow.
Should I make level trenches so the water flows into the
Flood irrigation is very wasteful of water. Tubing with drippers or
sprayers is very efficient but can be awkward to manage when you have
annuals as the tube gets in the way when you are pulling out old plants and
replanting but it can be pulled up and re-laid. If the area is not large
hand watering with a hose is easy and efficient and this gives you the
chance to observe your garden in detail whcih is very useful.
The garden plot is on a slant. I had thought making the
Before setting up the drainage you need to work out whether your plants will
need to be well drained (high rainfall area, heavy soil) or if you need to
to collect as much water as possible (low rainfall area, sandy soil), or
something in between. Very few vegetables or flowers will tolerate being
waterlogged for long. If you need drainage raise the beds and set the
pathways so that they drain the area, this doesn't mean that must face
directly down hill but enough to run away during rain. If you need to
conserve as much water as possible don't raise the beds and allow water to
accumulate so that it will soak in.
See above. Also if possible orient the beds north-south in full sun, this
will give the best coverage of sunlight for the plants.
Reminds me of an exam question in my gardening class; "What will
compact soil more, a tractor or a person?" Answer was a person since
all the weight is concentrated in the small area of 2 footprints,
whereas the tractor has 4 large wide tires so the weight, even though
much more, is distributed over a much larger area.
I recently explained and posted pictures of how I lay out my garden, I don't
know if you noticed. Everyone does a garden differently but it would be
easier to discuss and offer you meaningful suggestions if you would disclose
the size of your garden, what you plan to grow, and especially if you post a
few photos. My garden is now fully planted except for the tomatoes which I
will be putting in this afternoon, as nights have been a bit too chilly here
in the Catskills... the set back tomatoes suffer from cold nights is not
worth being impatient. There is already some growth on the plants I put in
a few days ago. I think you're obsessing too much on watering, vegetables
don't like a lot of water or they won't grow deep roots... one deep watering
a week with a hose is plenty... water early on a warm sunny day so water on
the plant leaves can evaporate before night. In a home vegetable garden
there are typically many types of plants, each with different water
requirements, so when I do water I prefer to water by hand. My garden is
located alongside a small spring fed stream so I rarely need to water except
when there is a prolonged dry spell... I lay out my garden according to
which plants do better with more or less water, those that better tolerate
wet feet are planted closer to that stream. My last garden was different in
many ways, sandier soil, a different climate too, so there I had good
results with soaker hoses. With a vegetable garden I would stay aways from
any watering set up that would require making several adjustments as plants
grow, I'd not suggest a tubing with emitter system, those things are too
delicate/fussy for my liking. I'm sure you can find one hour a week for
watering... get one of those large fan shaped diffuser nozzles that puts out
good volume with a soft spray... I like to ream out the holes a few
thousandths of an inch to get more volume with less velocity.
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