Row 3: Kale
Row 3 grows 125 feet of various kales sown in April. There’s just enough overspray to keep the plants from getting gnarly. I prefer kale to not get very stunted, if only for aesthetics: on my soil, one vanity fertigation about mid-July keeps this row looking impressive all summer. Other gardens with poorer soil might need more support. This much kale may seem an enormous oversupply, but between salads and steaming greens with potatoes we manage to eat almost all the tender small leaves it grows during winter.
Row 4: Root Crops
Mostly carrots, a few beets. No irrigation, no fertigation, none needed. One hundred carrots weighing in at around 5 pounds each and 20-some beets of equal magnitude make our year’s supply for salads, soups, and a little juicing.
Row 5: Dry-Gardened Salads
This row holds a few crowns of French sorrel, a few feet of parsley. Over a dozen giant kohlrabi are spring sown, but over half the row grows endive. I give this row absolutely no water. Again, when contemplating the amount of space it takes, keep in mind that this endive and kohlrabi must help fill our salad bowls from October through March.
Row 6: Peas, Overwintered Cauliflower, and All Solanaceae
Half the row grows early bush peas. Without overhead irrigation to bother them, unpicked pods form seed that sprouts excellently the next year. This half of the row is rotary tilled and fertilized again after the pea vines come out. Then it stays bare through July while capillarity somewhat recharges the soil. About August 1, I wet the row’s surface down with hose and fan nozzle and sow overwintered cauliflower seed. To keep the cauliflower from stunting I must lightly hand sprinkle the row’s center twice weekly through late September. Were water more restricted I could start my cauliflower seedlings in a nursery bed and transplant them here in October.
The other half is home to the Solanaceae: tomato, pepper, and eggplant. I give this row a little extra width because pea vines run, and I fertigate my Solanaceae, preferring sprawly tomato varieties that may cover an 8-foot-diameter circle. There’s also a couple of extra bare feet along the outside because the neighboring grasses will deplete soil moisture along the edge of the garden.
Row 7: Water-Demanding Brassicas
Moving away from irrigation on the other side of the raised bed, I grow a succession of hybrid broccoli varieties and late fall cauliflower. The broccoli is sown several times, 20 row-feet each sowing, done about April 15, June 1, and July 15. The late cauliflower goes in about July 1. If necessary I could use much of this row for quick crops that would be harvested before I wanted to sow broccoli or cauliflower, but I don’t need more room. The first sowings of broccoli are pulled out early enough to permit succession sowings of arugula or other late salad greens.