Q. Since we can grow 4 rows of plants in a 4′-wide Grow-Box, shouldn’t we also grow 4 rows of beans, tomatoes, and other climbing plants? That way we could just run each row of plants up a set of strings to one side of the T-Frame.
A. You should have only two rows of any of the vining or climbing plants in a 4″-wide Grow-Box. They are planted 10″ to 12″ in from the outside edge of the box. Pole beans should be planted 1 1/2″ to 2″ apart in those two rows. Tomatoes are 9″, cucumbers may be anywhere from 6″ to 8″, depending on variety, and eggplant and peppers are 7″ apart.
T-Frames are installed on the inside edges of the Grow-Box, no more than 10′ apart. Galvanized pipe (1/2″ preferred) or #8 wire is placed 1″ from the ends of the T to give you 4 rows of plants as they climb up the strings. Every other plant should be trained to go up strings to opposite sides of the T.
If you were to plant 4 rows instead of 2, you would make the care and feeding of your plants very difficult, so just plant a single row of plants for each set of T-Frames, but plant them half as far apart. Then separate them as they grow up the strings. They will get plenty of light from the separation, and plenty of food and water, because the roots will spread throughout the entire box. And you will have an easy time weeding, feeding, watering, and harvesting your plants, because the bed is open and available to you.
Excellent pictures are in Gardening By The Foot, and illustrations are in the Mittleider Gardening Course, both available at www.growfood.com
The Mittleider Gardening books and Manuals teach all you need to know about this subject, and can be purchased in the Store section, or as digital downloads.