Another North/South or East/West Question

corriganFebruary 13, 2008

I've read the other row orientation threads that I found, but I'm still not sure if I'm understanding everything, partly because I can't tell if everyone means the same thing I do when I say "north-south" or "east-west" lol. I'm in a new house so I get to start from scratch this year. I'm planning on trying slightly raised beds that are 3 or 4 x 8. When I say "north-south" I mean the two short ends would be facing north and south and the two long ends would be facing east and west. I assumed that's what everyone meant, until I talked to my husband about it, who automatically assumed everyone else meant the opposite.

So my question is how should I arrange the beds if I plan on having somewhere between 7 and 10 (eventually more) of them. I need to not have to plant the tallest things (tomatoes and okra) in the same bed every year, since I'm still new to gardening and had terrible disease problems the last two seasons. If I arranged them with the short sides facing east-west (so beds running east-west in my interpretation), wouldn't I always have to keep the taller plants in the same couple beds, so they'd always be to the north? If I arranged them with the short sides facing north-south (so beds running north-south in my interpretation) how do I determine how far away the beds need to be spaced to prevent taller things from shading shorter things to the east or west in the morning or afternoon, or does that matter at all?

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jeannie7

Corrigan, I think, as they say in Las Vegas, "you are trying to make your point the hard way".
It doesn't matter what way your form your beds, its the sun exposure that makes the difference and since you are aware that some plants will be taller....or with more foliage, than others, then it comes down to how you plan your beds.
Make a sketch of just how you see your vegetables in the beds.

As far as how the beds receive sunlight, that can depend on other obstancles --such as trees, buildings, fences etc.
The main concern about raised beds is how they drain well and how you can properly moisturize the soil.

If you have, perhaps, an automatic sprinkling system, that would not be what your vegetable patch would like since the water is timed and such watering may not be according to how the plants should be given their watering.

Since beds that are raised---even slightly, will drain much better than surface beds, a better means of delivering water--such as a hose that will reach satisfactorily the furthest plants.

One point; the size of the bed is good...4 by 8, since this allows you to easily reach the center of each patch without having to step into the bed....thus preventing compacting the soil there.

You mention in other years your tomatoes have had problems.
You should really do a google search on each vegetable you plan on putting in for their advisability to be rotated.

As long as the patch is 10 feet away from where it was prior to, that is OK. Then there are families of vegetables that should be considered to be planted near each other. In this way, like vegetables can be given applications of fertilizer and pesticide in a like manner.

Crop rotation prevents building diseases up in the soil and preserves micro-nutrients. Rotating is not very difficult, but does take a little advance planning as well as a basic knowledge of the vegetable families.
Vegetables are broken down into basic family groups. These groups should be rotated together as they use soil in similar ways and share similar pests.

Alliums
Include Onions, Garlic, Scallions, Shallots, and Leeks

Brassicas
include Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, and Kale.

Crucifers
include Turnips, Radishes, Rutabaga, and Collards.

Cucurbits
Include Cucumbers, Squashes (from zucchini to pumpkin), and Melons.

Legumes
Include Peas and Beans.
Solanaceae
Include Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplant.
Perennial vegetables such as Asparagus, Rhubarb and Artichokes should not be rotated and therefore should be planted separately. The rest should be rotated every year on a four year plan (so that the same family of vegetables is not planted in the same location within four years).

This is easy to accommodate if you have planted four beds for your rotating plants and one bed for your non-rotating perennials. See where that advanced planning starts to come in handy?

Rhubarb can be re-invigorated once it loses its good growing..dig up the plant, remove at least 1/2 the soil it has there with some good compost. Wood ashes can be added to soil that is heavy loamÂbut do add lots of humus with compost.

If annual vegetable crops are grown in the same place year after year, there is a risk that soil borne pests and diseases will become a problem, and that plant health and vigour will decline. Organised rotation helps to prevent the build up of problems in the soil.

Likewise, there are certain combinations of plants that will inhibit the growth of one or both types of plants. Here are a few combinations to avoid:
Potatoes  inhibit growth of tomatoes and squash
Beans  inhibit growth of onions
Broccoli  inhibits growth of tomatoes
Carrots  inhibit growth of dill

This isnÂt to say that you canÂt grow these plants together in the same garden, just donÂt grow them right next to each other.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 4:39PM
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westtexan(7b)

So jeannie, you say not to plant Broccoli and tomatoes together....but is it ok to plant tomatoes in the spring where broccoli grew through the winter? If that's a problem, I need to redesign the garden for this year. Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 4:33PM
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robin303(8b Tx)

I build gardens for people and the big question I ask is to study your summer and winter equinox and build accordingly. A 4x12 bed is perfect for reaching from both sides. In between your beds make sure you have room for lawnmowers, wheelbarrows and such.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 4:11PM
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