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Old May 12, 2015   #1
Bruinwar
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Default North/South instead of East/West?

Hi all.

The last three years I've planted by rows of tomato plants East/West. Mainly I chose that because the grade falls from the west to the east. So the drainage would naturally go downhill.

Somewhere I read that in complete full sun, the rows should be planted north/south to give the plants a break as the sun passes over.

Does it matter? See the attached pic. It shows last years layout & this years proposed layout. The 5' diameter circles of course represent each plant. Yes, at 2-3/4' a part, they are a bit tight but really don't want to cut back on the number of plants. The layout is 6 feet longer than last year because we plan on rototilling into the empty plots to the north. Hopefully the garden manager doesn't notice we moved the stakes.
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Old May 12, 2015   #2
habitat_gardener
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I don't think it matters much. Your previous layout looks better to me because the plants have a little more room and it looks a LOT easier to pick.
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Old May 12, 2015   #3
AlittleSalt
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I've found that planting ours north/south make it easier to water them. We live on almost the top of a hill. Taller to the east and lower to the west. I used to hand water our plants, but now have drip irrigation... and it just keeps on raining - lol.

Planting north/south also lets you plant taller plants beside other pants that do not do well in full 100F sun. Example: I planted okra on the west side of our pepper plants to help provide shade during the hottest part of the day here.
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Old May 12, 2015   #4
Gardeneer
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I think it depends on where you are located and how many hours of direct sun you get.
If you are, eg, in South TX you would want to minimize solar effect. In that case North/South row should be better. But if you are in cool climate Like our PNW, you want to maximize sun exposure so then an East/West orientation can be advantageous.

But also consider that when the solar altitude is high (from May through August ) and the days are long the sun will shine many hours on the top of plants. (9:30 am to 4:30pm = 7 hrs). During this time it makes little difference how the rows are situated.

Another factor is plant spacing and height. If, for example, your plants are short dets and are space @ 3f, row orientation should make little difference. Here we are just talking about tomatoes. But if you do companion planting plants that are very short and tomatoes can shade them , then a East/West orientation will make more sense.
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Old May 12, 2015   #5
SummerSky
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My rows run north/south, and it looks very similar to how your first picture is. I do this because I can organize my garden better. I planted it east/west before and it made zero difference on the plants, but I really didn't like how it was set up.

As long as you put taller plants to the north and shorter plants to the south, you should be fine.
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Old May 12, 2015   #6
clkeiper
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We plant E/W if possible to give the rows better exposure to the prevailing wind for circulation.
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Old May 13, 2015   #7
Bruinwar
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Thanks all. I am staying with my original layout, E/W. It's way better for drainage.
Again, thanks a bunch for helping me. I really like this forum & wish I found it 3 years ago.

Regards,
Joe S.
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Old May 13, 2015   #8
barkeater
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I made the mistake of planting N/S only once. By the end of July or so the sun is increasingly farther south as it crosses the sky, so the plants are increasingly shading each other every day for the rest of the season. Coincidentally, it was the ONLY season in my life that I lost my tomatoes to late blight come early September.
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Old May 13, 2015   #9
habitat_gardener
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I've learned that basil does best for me when it's on the east or north side of the tomatoes, shaded from afternoon sun. I had a lot of basil last year in a garden with 10 x 10 beds, and the basil got planted along edges. The difference was dramatic.

My main garden this year has raised beds that run roughly EW, but that's a coincidence because they were positioned (not by me) in relation to the house.
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Old May 13, 2015   #10
AlittleSalt
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Our property runs n/w to s/e. The houses and barns are facing the same way. Our prevailing wind is out of the south. That's why planting rows n/w - s/e works better for us. It also looks better.
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Old May 13, 2015   #11
bower
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My greenhouse is attached to my house on the south side, so runs E-W, doesn't get full sun. Last year I changed it up and made N-S rows (and crammed in a lot of plants!). We didn't have a sunny summer, plants grew taller, and I think all the plants were shorter of light in that orientation.. I'm going back to E-W rows this year.

My friends' greenhouse is similar orientation but wider, and the N-S rows worked for them because it's a cooler space also - the plants were short.
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Old May 14, 2015   #12
Tracydr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by habitat_gardener View Post
I've learned that basil does best for me when it's on the east or north side of the tomatoes, shaded from afternoon sun. I had a lot of basil last year in a garden with 10 x 10 beds, and the basil got planted along edges. The difference was dramatic.

My main garden this year has raised beds that run roughly EW, but that's a coincidence because they were positioned (not by me) in relation to the house.
I've had basil in full sun in AZ without any problems. In fact, they would get 4-5 feet by fall.
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