How many rows should you plant per bed?

How many rows do you plant per bed?

If you’re using wheel hoes and hoes and possibly tractor drawn tools, you might consider the good old 3-2-1 bed layout.

Your standard layout is 3 rows per bed. You need to have tools to easily weed the space between those rows. This would fit crops like lettuce heads, carrots, beets, and onions.

If you have crops that take more space (like bush beans or broccoli), you plant rows 1 and 3 and skip row 2.  You can still use all the same weeding tools to weed these beds. You might want to add one pass to cover that missing row in the middle.

And if a crop takes even more space (tomatoes, zucchini), you only row 2 and skip 1 and 3. Again you can use the same tools and spacing to weed these rows.

If you set up your 3 rows on 15” spacing between rows, that would mean your 2 row bed will be on 30” spacing.)

If you set up your 3 rows on 12” spacing between rows, that would mean your 2 row bed will be on 24” spacing.)

You can definitely use other planting schemes, but make sure you have a weeding strategy that works.

And what about dense plantings of arugula or other salad greens?

In those cases, you need to do all your weeding before your seeds germinate. Occultation, tine weeders, and flame weeders will be your best friends there.

3 thoughts on “How many rows should you plant per bed?

  1. I have always wondered how you use a week hoe in raised bed plantings, where you are not supposed to step on the bed soil. I use a wheel hoe but do not use raised beds, just rows (which work fine).
    Do you walk the wheel hoe with your feet in the trench on either side of the bed (😳) or do you actually step on the bed soil?

    1. I actually walk in the bed with the wheelhoe, making sure to not squish the plants. This is not ideal but it is more ergonomic than straddling the bed. Collinear hoes can be an alternative if you want to how from the side of the bed.

      – Dan

  2. Thank you. I thought that was a big no-no when working with raised beds. But of course you gotta work with what works in practice. In the end it is the condition of the soil that decides if it will be compact or not, not if you step on it once in a while. A soil with little amount of organic matter will be compact after a while even if you don’t step on it, and vice versa.

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