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HBKitmitto March 14, 2019 10:15 AM

Garden Orientation
I'm hoping to get some advice on how I lay out my garden and my garden rows this year. I've got a 40' x 40' garden that is sloped running south on the high end and north on the low end. In the past I've always run my rows going east to west but I'm wondering this year, is that best? If I run my tomato rows north to south, will that work better for sunlight? Does it even really matter? :)) I may be completely over thinking this.

Worth1 March 14, 2019 11:19 AM

Keep it running east to west because I dont think it matters that much.
Depending on slope grade.

saltmarsh March 14, 2019 12:10 PM

Run your rows to control erosion first. Use the available rainfall to your advantage. claud

Tormato March 14, 2019 03:00 PM

I plant double rows in a row (a row being a terraced row), with plants having about 2 1/2 foot spacing in both directions. A plant in one row is also about 2 1/2 feet from the nearest plant in the next terraced row over, with slipping, sliding, rarely falling (my precious plants!) walking paths (after a rain) between the rows. By August it is a near impenetrable jungle. So, spacing is more of a key than row orientation.

One oar, rowing in circles.

greenthumbomaha March 14, 2019 05:40 PM

Lay of the land dictates E-W in my garden, but the food bank garden maintained my master gardeners changed the orientation of their crops N-S . Theoretically sunlight is evenly distributed N-S.

For peppers I zig-zag stagger in rows of three, but a matrix of four might work too. I plant two tomato plants per "row" , with the same spacing as above. My land is sloped. Interested to hear about terracing.

- Lisa

Tormato March 14, 2019 05:51 PM

My land is also sloped, north/high to south/low. My rows are about 4 1/2 feet wide, the paths too narrow. Each row is about 1 brick in thickness above the height of the previous row, going south to north. I find bricks in many places in this city, as there once was a manufacturing plant for them.

MI Farmer March 14, 2019 06:27 PM

Don't forget about wind. If my garden rows ran N-S, my plants would be continually pelted and stressed. The t-post trellising can take it, but my plants can't.

zipcode March 15, 2019 04:48 AM

I think the logical way to maximize sun would be W-E (and of course the plants on each row should be staggered in position (I hope that's the right word)).
When it's sloped however, things are more complicated, as saltmarsh said, doing rows downhill will make for poor water retention and also you lose soil and nutrients at heavy rains.

HBKitmitto March 15, 2019 10:42 AM

Those are all very helpful points. Interesting about the wind being a factor as well. I have never taken note about the wind directions but being out in the midwest, we get some crazy winds. I think I am safe continuing to run my rows the way I have been in the past.

Thank you all for the insights!

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