Beds vs. Rows

For a long time, standard row-cropping has been the standard agricultural practice. This is primarily because of the ease with which rows can be seeded, weeded, and harvested. The primary disadvantage of traditional row-cropping is the wasted space between each row. By establishing single- or multi-row beds, the unused space is kept to a minimum. There are several other benefits to bed systems:

  • Improved drainage (not ideal for dry areas)
  • Improved soil structure at root zone - avoid compaction
  • Improved soil surface texture
  • Close plantings create healthy microclimates and combat weed pressure
  • Increased harvests in smaller spaces
  • Uniform bed size standardizes farm system
  • New equipment allows mechanical cultivation of bed systems

Bed systems can compliment row systems in many situations, using whichever system matches the soil, moisture, and market needs for a given field. 

Tools for Bed Preparation

We promote technologies that have been successfully used for decades as well as modern technologies that have built on historic knowledge. Some of our favorite bed preparation tools and their functions are listed below:

Tool Function 
Bed Preparation Rake w/ Row Markers Levels and smooths the surface of beds. Rakes away stones or weeds to clean the bed surface. Row markers are used with the rake to mark out transplanting grid.
Broadfork Loosens and aerates deep soil for improved drainage and soil texture.
Tilther Stirs the top 2" of soil, providing a lightly uniform seedbed.
Seedbed Roller Lightly compacts and breaks up soil to create an even, level seedbed for precision seeding. Weights can be added for desired level of compaction.
Flame Weeder Used to prepare beds for seeding. After forming beds, allow weeds to germinate and flame weed before seeding. Flame weeder can also be used for pre-emergence weeding.
3-Tooth Cultivator Breaks up large clods of dirt to create a more workable soil texture.
Wheel Hoe Accepts a variety of attachments, including hillers and cultivators used to prepare and move soil for seeding or transplanting.
Bed Former Various bed formers can be used behind walk-behind or four-wheeled tractors to create uniform beds. Combines multiple steps to simplify and speed process.