Which direction should garden beds/rows run?

by Laura
(Dayton Ohio)

I am trying to decide whether to plant my beds running North/South or East/West.
I have read that it's best to plant in rows running east/west with tallest crops on the north side so nothing is ever shaded through the day but I have also read that North/South beds with tall crops to the west is better so that everything gets the same amount of morning sun (which is supposedly much more important than afternoon sun).
Option A makes sense because in the afternoon I don't want my corn to shade my shorter crops but if morning sun is really the most important, then option B makes more sense. Any opinions?

Comments for Which direction should garden beds/rows run?

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Sep 24, 2009
Planting gardens facing north, south east or west
by: ~ Megan ~

Morning sun is good for all plants. It's even and milder, so less intense and scorching for some plants that might droop or get scorched if the sun is searing down on them from early arvo on.
So although most veggies like full sun and you should plan your garden accordingly by planting tallest plants north (south in southern hemisphere), remember that some low plants like strawberries, some herbs such as mint, and most leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach and bok choy welcome some shade in the hot summer arvo and can happily be planted in the shade of taller plants (eg: corn, peppers, tomatoes), which are planted to the south of them.
If you're actually planting in rows, then I believe planting east to west is best, with tallest plants in west and in the south rows (opposite in sth hemisphere).

Aug 15, 2010
by: EAST

Professional greenhouses "always" plant rows north-south to take full advantage of the morning and afternoon sun. North south give better spread of sun over the beds as it passes over from side to side. As the sun travels from east to west, the plants aren't shaded by those on either side. But remember, too, that in Southern Hemisphere, the sun always stays in the Northern sky as it moves east-to-west, so if you put your short plants at the Northern end, they aren't shaded by taller plants to the south (in southern hemisphere). In winter, the south wall is often solid & insulated (in southern hemisphere).

May 10, 2014
by: Anonymous

OK so how far apart should tomato plants be? And what can you plant next to them? And what not to?

Apr 10, 2016
companion planting
by: Wendy

Planting carrots beside your tomatoes may actually make each grow better. Not sure you believe this> try it one year and see what happens.

Apr 14, 2017
the math
by: Anonymous

After drawing it out N/S wins. N?S both side get sun. S side is shade by it's neighbor. E/W only one side , S gets sun, the South facing.
N gets none and E/W are shaded by there neighbor due to sun angle. Any row shading is poor planning of plant heights or row width. You can add or subtract sun through plant spacing. This is why rows and plant spacing is on the seed package. North south allows for tighter rows as well due to sun angle again.
Pollination concerns due to prevailing wind can be dealt with by blocks of short rows so plants aren't in one long row.
North south is a clear winner when you lay it out.

Dec 16, 2019
what about rain? NEW
by: CD HC

What about the rain? Plant your garden rows so the rain does not run down the rows, but rather the rows keep the water IN the garden... it's not all about east vrs west vrs south...

Feb 06, 2021
Rows/ raised beds orientation con't NEW
by: Casieopea

For me, the water situation is critical - we have TOO MUCH WATER.
I am putting in raised beds with several inches of gravel in the bottom .. I will have 10 of them. I have pondered a LOT about orientation of the beds... My situation will be compounded by the face that I will use wire panels between 2 beds to create a :growing up: situation. For those two beds - I think the orientation would be best E/W - because both sides of the "tunnel" will get sun and not be shaded. Am I thinking this through correctly?

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