Spacing in Raised Beds

We planted many of our spring vegetable seeds last week, and I planted a few more this week. Mostly beets (Red Ace & Chioggia), carrots (Yellow Sun), and some Asian greens (mustards).

After looking at what we planted several times last week, and then measuring the space between the rows, I decided to plant a couple more rows in between what was already planted.

The seed packets for the beets and carrots said to plant with 12-18″ between the rows, and we left 18″. Usually I’m an advocate for following directions and spacing things appropriately. After all, planting your tomatoes too close together is a recipe for disaster. But…there really is no reason that beets and carrots need that much space. Their leaves grow mostly upright, and the roots will not spread out to 9″ on either side of the row. Really, they won’t. The only thing that much space gets us is more weeds to pull out from between the rows when the plants are still tiny. Any extra moisture the additional rows will use will be countered by the fact that the closer spaced rows will shade the soil and prevent evaporation.

So…one more row of Red Ace beets (After 23 years of eschewing beets, in the last few years I’ve decided that they are one of my favorite vegetables). Also, two more rows of Yellow Sun carrots, interplanted with the rest of the Cherriette radishes. The idea of interplanting is that the radishes will mark the row for the carrots and keep the weeds down while the carrots are working on their slow germination process. Then the radishes are harvested and the carrots can take over the space! I’m going to be interested to see how this particular space saving technique works out.

I can tell you one thing though…we are going to have a bumper crop of radishes in the Family of 4 Garden this year!

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on April 14, 2010, in Around the Garden, Family of 4 Garden and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Elaine Wallace

    Hi I had just read the same use of radishes for inter spacing among the Beets! Book also said the radishes help break up the soil for the beet / carrot seeds to pop thur the soil???!
    I’m planting my beets this AM
    Will do Carrots tomorrow I think
    Thanks for the blog, enjoy it.

    • That totally makes sense that the radishes would help loosen the soil for the carrots. I guess in my mind, beets are “tougher” seedlings, but it could still be beneficial. It would be an interesting test to see if carrots interplanted with radishes germinate faster that carrots by themselves.

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