Row spacing

boballi(8 Central Valley CA)January 10, 2007

I just bought a house and am looking forward to using the sqft method. I would love to plant cukes, watermelon, and canteloupe.

Do I need to have my rows running East-West so that my plantings are on the South side of the fencing? If I plant a row of cukes, followed by rows of canteloupe and watermelon, what kind of space between rows do I need to allow for sun exposure, air circulation, and cross-pollenation prevention?

Any suggestions and experiences will be appreciated!

Thank you,


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The Squarefoot method doesn't look at rows, and the book itself lays out the best kinds of spacing and planting orientations. If I recall correctly (I use French Intensive Raised, which is closely related), your trellises need to be opposite the equator of the Earth to allow the sun's rays the most unopposed access to your shorter plants.

The spacing for all cucurbits (cukes, melons, squash) varies; bush varieties can do with as little as 2 feet and some sprawling heirloom varieties take up 8+ square feet. This means that vertical planting will require 2-foot spacing between bush cukes but much more with most other varieties, even if you're using a trellis.

Cross-pollination prevention through isolation for cucurbits differs, also. See: Alternately, you can bag your flowers and hand-pollinate.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2007 at 4:22PM
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maineman(z5a ME)


"Do I need to have my rows running East-West...?"

Yes. That usually gives plants the most amount of sunshine. The exceptions are when trees heavily shade the garden area in either the morning or the afternoon.

When we first started gardening here in this Maine location, several trees blocked the sun all afternoon, so that the garden was in shade from about 12:30 until dark. Since we received no sunshine from the West, the West became our "new" North and we oriented our trellis/fence North-South and put it on the West side of the garden.

I have since removed several of those trees so that the garden now receives several hours of afternoon sun, but a tall growth of trees on the property to our West still ends our day of sunshine a little over two hours before the actual Sundown. I have extended our garden to the North about 12 feet and added a segment of East-West-ish trellis fence on the North side of the garden and it receives nearly as much sun as the original fence.

"... so that my plantings are on the South side of the fencing?"

The rows of vines that are going to grow up on the east-west fencing could be planted directly under it or even on the north side of the fencing, since the fencing doesn't cast much of a shadow. The other plants that don't have much support can then go on the south side of the fencing. The concept of "rows" may not apply to the smaller plants. You can locate them on a square grid or even a triangular/hexagonal grid.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 10:01AM
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