Being Neat And Tidy Not Always Good In The Vegetable Patch: How many times have you seen pictures of neat rows in a vegetable garden that are almost as if were planted using a ruler? Are you envious of your neighbor who has everything lined up perfectly? How do you even plant seeds in a row that straight?
Well, it is true there seems to be something about a well-organized garden that gets a gardener excited about its appearance. Looks can be deceiving though. What may appear to be a great-looking garden layout that will produce an abundant crop and make good use of garden space may not be.
The idea and notion of having straight rows of plants with plenty of spacing in between them is not so much a cultural issue as it is an aesthetic issue in the home vegetable garden.
In fact in the home garden, this type of planting plan is usually not only a waste of valuable garden space but requires a much higher degree of maintenance. The idea of straight rows and plant spacing has its (no pun intended) roots in commercial farming.
The spacing of plantings in farm fields is so that equipment such as tractors and cultivators can work in the fields without destroying the plants. In the home garden where almost all the work is accomplished with hand tools, the planting scheme can be much different.
To have a truly productive home vegetable garden the goal is to grow as much produce in as small a space as possible with as little maintenance as possible. This is probably a completely foreign concept for most gardeners that have grown up with the string and stake method and have for years been perfecting the layout of those perfectly spaced neat rows.
Okay now stop and think for a minute about what is going on in between those plants. There is a large amount of bare dirt not growing anything it is like a blank space meant to be a break in between plants.
This is where you need to give up some of your old habits and keep an open mind. Instead of planting in rows why not cluster your plants in beds? The goal should be to plant as many plants per square foot as possible. The leaves can touch each other and in fact, this will help grow better plants with less maintenance.
You need to forget about what the seed packages say about spacing plants 6 inches apart. Truth be known 4 inches will save on watering because the soil between the plants is better shaded and will not dry out as quickly. Another thing is the closer together you plant your vegetables the less space there is for water and food-stealing weeds to take hold and grow.
Take a cue from nature itself, when have you ever walked through a prairie or a field of flowers and seen all the flowers lined up in straight rows with perfect spacing in between?
That is what I thought, never because that it not how plants normally grow. You will find clusters of plants together in groups, and they are doing well and are able to reproduce and return each year without a problem. Just think of how many more beans you could harvest if you had an extra plant in between every two plants.
Also Read: How To Grow Mushrooms At Home