Barbara Damrosch of the Four Season Farm offers a step-by-step for laying out a planting bed that will assure neat, tidy rows every time.
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Damrosch starts by drawing a wide metal rake over the planting area (in this case, a slightly raised bed in her vegetable garden where she wants to grow lettuce). She removes stones and debris from the top inch or so of the soil, creating a flat surface to trace out her planting grid.
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Using the width of the rake as her guide, Damrosch lays out lines of string attached to wooden stakes in the soil as a guide for her rows of seedlings.
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She then attaches short pieces of hose or plastic tubing to the metal rake, counting the tines so that the hoses are spaced equally.
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These tubes are then dragged lengthwise down the planting bed to create furrows. In this case, she has adjusted her spacing for heads of a second, late-season planting of lettuce.
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Starting at one end, she then drags the tubes crosswise across the loose soil surface to create visible planting grid of long and short lines.
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The bed is now ready for planting. Mature summer vegetables are in the adjacent beds.
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Positioning one seedling at the juncture of each line of the grid results in expertly placed crops until harvest time.