Gardening Articles: Care :: Soil, Water, & Fertilizer

Plant Greens in Wide Rows (page 2 of 3)

by National Gardening Association Editors

Planting Wide Rows

After you've prepared and fertilized your soil on planting day, follow these easy steps to plant your wide rows of greens and salad crops: Mark the wide row. Stretch a string between two stakes close to the ground for the length of row you want.

Smooth the planting bed. With an iron garden rake, smooth the soil along one side of the string. The rake will mark the width of the row. Don't pack the seedbed down by stepping on it. Always do your work from the side of the row.

Sprinkle the seeds onto the seedbed. Roll seeds off the ends of your fingers with your thumb. Try to scatter them across the seedbed as evenly as you can. The spacing of crops will vary a bit. Lettuce seeds can be planted much thicker than kale or collard seeds, for example. Don't worry if you plant too thickly, thinning will correct that. To give you an idea of how much seed you need, the average packet of lettuce seed will cover three to six feet of a row that's 15 inches wide.

Sprinkle in a few radish seeds. After you've broadcast the main crop, sprinkle some radish seeds down the row. They'll come up quickly and mark the row. Use about five percent as much radish seed as the main seed. You can either pull up the radishes while they're small or harvest them after you pick your crop of greens.

Firm the seeds into the soil with a hoe, so the seeds make good contact with the earth.

Cover the seeds with soil from the sides of the row, pulling it up with your rake. The rule of thumb for the amount of soil to cover seeds is two to four times the diameter of the seed. So for most seeds in the greens group, that's about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil. In midsummer or late-summer plantings, an extra 1/4 inch of soil will help keep the seeds from drying out.

Finally, firm the soil once more with the back of a hoe and water gently if the soil is dry.

Single-Row Planting

Use a string to plant a single row, too. Rake the seedbed smooth right over the string and with the handle end of your rake, make a shallow furrow or planting line along the string.

Sprinkle the seeds in the shallow furrow, and walk by a second time and drop radish seeds every five or six inches. After firming the seeds into the soil, cover them with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil and firm down gently again. Mark the row with the seed packet or a small sign, remove stakes and string and proceed to the next row to be planted.

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