New rural garden

photogmanMay 8, 2014

A couple of years ago I moved into the country from town and this year I'm finally getting around to starting garden. The garden is 140' x 110'. It will have on it 11 semi-dwarf fruit trees in addition to vegetables. It will be organic with no pesticides or herbacides etc. of any kind. Would you suggest I plant it using traditional row type gardening or perhaps use another method for better production or better utilization of space? Thanks for your help!

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Since you're starting up a one third acre plot from scratch, I'd suggest breaking the project into many smaller pieces and doing one thing at a time.

If by "rows" you mean stretches of a hundred feet at a time, that's more about farming scale than gardening. I think rows are for people with plows, disc harrows, and tractors; for things at the hands-and-knees scale they give no advantage. They seem to use space less efficiently too, but that's just an opinion.

That said, a lot of people swear by them. People with tunnel greenhouses, for instance, seem to use rows (particularly double rows) well.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 2:52PM
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I know this wasn't your question, but all I have to add is definitely learn how to prune your fruit trees (each type will be different). I planted fruit trees several years ago, didn't want to bother them by pruning them, and now I'm having to do drastic pruning.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 7:38PM
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Plan your trees/rows according to the sun's movement.

Don't put in a bunch of trees only to discover after they've aged a bit that you've oriented them in such a way they're throwing shade on your row crops.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:03PM
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Make planting beds no wider than 4 feet with rows between wide enough for you to work on the planting beds instead of one large garden plot that will be a lot of work to maintain.
Many years ago I did lay out a large garden similar to your plan and found I spent more time cultivating between planting rows to keep "weeds" down then I did on the plants I was growing. The 4 foot wide planting beds also make it easier to not be concerned about tilling that a 140 by 110 garden would require meaning less work again.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 6:22AM
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Weeds have to be dealt with regardless.

Pre-tractor days small grains were planted broadcast, IOW, randomly, no rows. For a long time now it is planted by seed-drill, so in close together rows. Either way, if weeds get ahead of the crop, it's a big problem.

I guess my point is that weed-control is a major factor, and you should have a plan for it.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 6:56AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

If you are going to plant a large area, mechanical help is needed. I have a variety of methods. Years ago it was plow, disk, and then rush out to plant a large area all at once. Today I have amended enough to just till up a row, rows, or an area as desired. I have raised beds [unbordered] of from 7 to 20 feet wide. I also have some regular areas. Mostly I plant in rows...sometimes a double row.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 11:46AM
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The garden is 140' x 110'. !!!!! As big as the one my mom had.

Start smaller than that. If you have never gardened before, the amount of work it takes to get one set up is a shocker.

Plan your complete layout and watering lines first. Set aside your utility area ... compost bins mostly. Decide if you need a fence or not.

Lay out a couple of 4 or 5-foot wide beds about 40 feet long and prep and plant them with the spring veggies (whatever). Fatter beds are more efficient than rows, and a square layout minimizes walking. garden layou

When they are planted and sprouted, lay out another couple of beds, prep them and plant them. What you can't get to, mulch it heavily or plant a cover crop and ignore it this year.

Long term, use the part closest to the entrance for the daily harvest for fresh eating, and the herbs.

Use the farther ones for the plants that have one large harvest - canning tomatoes, potatoes, onions, etc.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 11:56AM
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