[Market-farming] row spacings

mcoldiron mcoldiron at crcom.net
Mon Feb 23 09:45:39 EST 2009

Here in cotton country, we all use tool bars that will allow us to move shank clamps, gage wheels, row markers, planter boxes, etc... to whatever spacing we want.   Your tractor wheel spacing is the most important factor for your row spacing.  If your wheels have a limited range of adjustment, then that's what you're stuck with.  If you can change the wheels, I'd make them the same as your wagons, trailers, or carts, or a multiple of that.  If you're still going to use your Kubota, it makes since to set it and the G's wheels to the same width, or multiples of each other, for example: If you use 3" as your base number, and you choose to set your rows to be 36" on center, then you can set your G's wheels to 72" and your Kubota to either 72" or 36".  If you use 18" row spacing, then the choices are better, so if you set the G at 72", then the Kubota can be set to 72", 36" or 18".  If you go 9" spacing then the choices are much better.  I'm sure you get the idea.  Nothing says you have to plant every row or even plow every row.  Using a base number of 2" will give you even more choices.

Hope this helps.

TxBeeFarmer (Mark)
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Beth Spaugh 
  To: 'Market Farming' 
  Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2009 6:52 PM
  Subject: [Market-farming] row spacings

  I think I just turned myself on my head, and need help getting upright again. 


  We progressed from all hand planting and hoeing, to a small Kubota B6100 - outer wheel spacing 33", inner 25", with a little single row cultivator. But the cultivator doesn't have very good (wide or close together) points, so I turn around and go back down the row twice. The advantage of this is that I can slide over close to the plants on each side, and effectively plant the field on 16" rows. Oh, it has a 42" rototiller, which I have been using way too much, but has been a real blessing. After years of dreaming of getting an Allis G, I got one. We have it converted to battery, new tires, ready to get cultivation tools. I am planting 2 ½ to 3 acres.


  First step is to decide on tire spacing and row spacing. Tire spacing is important because we might someday get a forage wagon or manure spreader, etc, and will get a newer tractor with front end loader, so want to standardize on a common width. But after drawing the various options out, having been told that 14" is the minimum I should go with mechanical cultivation, it doesn't look like I am gaining much if any planting space (rows) over the little Kubota. If I go with 5 ½ foot center to center spacing, with 4 rows it comes out to 16.5 " average. If I go with 6" spacing, 4 rows on 15" is 18" average. With 5 12" rows on the 6 foot spacing, it drops down to 14.4" average. I was going to try to develop permanent wheel tracks, but am wondering if it is worth it and if I should just upgrade my little cultivator on the Kubota.


  Also, I have the option when doing fewer rows of moving sweeps around, or just taking one off and not having them evenly spaced (permanent places on the toolbar for 4 sweeps versus moving them around). How do you do it? I have thought about planting most things (exceptions - tomatoes, squash, peas) on 14" centers, adjusting the within row spacing to give space, but think walking down 14" rows of broccoli to get second cuts could be challenging. When I have planted on 16 to 18" rows, with the broccoli it is a challenge - not hard, but not as fast as the edge rows.


  Please, what row spacings do you find efficient, and what tractor width do you find efficient? I have been putting this off because I find it daunting, but need to get going. Seeds are here. Will start onions next week, so need to get this wrapped up. 

  My strategy is to just call Market Farm Implement and order from them, but they want to know row spacing, tractor tire spacings and tire width, etc, to advise me.


  Thank you. 


  Beth Spaugh

  Rehoboth Homestead, Peru, NY

  Farm Fresh Food Club CSA - http://rhomestead.com

  Garden fresh vegetables, organically grown, and pastured chicken, duck, and geese


  "How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used." - Wendell Berry


  "Without power over our food, any notion of democracy is empty." - Frances Moore Lappe



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