Most gardeners are familiar with the concept of single row or square foot gardening, but not all are familiar with double row gardening. Double rows are basically two single rows pulled together and separated by only four to five inches. So your garden layout would look something like: Row 1, 6 inch space, Row 2, 3 foot space, Row 3, 6 inch space, Row 4, 3 foot space, etc.
Benefits of Using Double Rows
The advantage to double row gardening is that with most plants, it allows you to almost double the output of a given area. All while giving you the same space and ease of access that single row gardening does. There are a few types of plants that don’t do well in double row layouts, but most vegetables will do very well this way.
Another great advantage is water usage savings. Double row gardens allow you to water at the center of the double row, right at the plants’ base. Most commonly, double row gardeners will place a soaker hose between these rows and water in that way. This keeps water off of the walkways and large rows between plants. If you use irrigation, watering down the wide rows is still possible, of course.
Finally, double rows allow you to make easier work of some gardening styles such as mounding, trenching, or raised bed growing. If you build raised beds by mounding and “cutting” soil, for instance, you can make them just wide enough (2-3 feet) for each double row and grow in this manner. If you use mounds for growing root vegetables or large vines like melons, you can also double row the plantings and consolidate your mounds to make the work of building the mounds easier.
Vegetables To Grow in Double Rows
Nearly all vegetables that can be grown within 6-8 inches of one another will do well in double rows. Most commonly, vegetables like beans, radishes, peas, bush tomatoes, spinach, peppers, etc. do well in double rows.
Any vegetable that doesn’t require blocking for germination (e.g. corn) will also do well.
Vegetables that require more space can still benefit from double row gardening by using a staggered double row rather than a straight row. This method means you’re using the same double row pattern, but instead of planting side-by-side on the row, you plant left-right-left-right in a zig-zag pattern to create more space between vegetables.
This doesn’t double your crop, but does allow more crop density per square foot than traditional single row gardening does. Vegetables like broad leaf or headed lettuce, vines like squash or pumpkins, non-climbing cucumbers, and the like that require more space can be staggered in a double row.
Harvest a Higher Yield with Double Row Veggie Growing
For nearly every gardener, using double rows is a much more productive use of space. Your yields will be higher (per foot) and your work will be lighter if you use this method.
Resources for information on double row gardening:
Creative Commons photo courtesy of ILoveButter