How to Make Rows in a Garden: By Hand and With a Tractor

Garden rows are the most basic of all garden plots. They’re how people started farming, and how they still do it in some countries around the world. But how to make rows in a garden?

This is a question that many might ask themselves when they start their own gardens for the first time.

There are ways to make them by hand or with a tractor attachment, but before you can even think about how to make garden rows, you need to answer two questions: How big should my garden be? And how long should my rows be?

In this article, we will explain why you should have rows in your garden, what the methods are to make garden rows, and how exactly you can make rows in your garden.

Why you should have rows in your garden

There are plenty of reasons why you should have rows in your garden. Here are the most common ones:

  • Rows increase the amount of surface area that your plants get exposed to sunlight.
  • It allows more plants to grow, which means you’ll get a bigger yield in your garden.
  • Rows help prevent weeds by giving each plant its own space, thus blocking off some areas where weeds could grow.

How to make rows in a garden

You can make rows in your garden using:

  1. Manual labor
  2. Tractor

How to make garden rows by hand

It may seem like more work, but it’s actually faster than using a tractor and gets rid of how hard it would be to make the rows even.

How to make rows in a garden

Here are the steps to making garden rows by hand:

Step 1: Start off either planting them in hills (if seeds are already planted) or making small holes/pits with whatever tool you choose (a shovel, hoe, etc.) for each individual plant.

Step 2: Till your soil with a tiller (or without a tiller) until it is smooth and free of any lumps or clods larger than 1/4 inch in diameter.

Step 3: Then rake the area smooth again until it’s loose.

Step 4: You are trying to get rid of any rocks or stones that are more than 1/4 inch across on the surface of your garden bed.  

Step 5: Next, using a measuring device (landscape fabric works well), out how wide you want the bed to be.

Step 6: When that is done, either by hand or with a tractor implement, tear into the soil about an inch deep along with your guidelines.

Step 7: Loosen up the sides of the slit so it will be easier to plant and hoe later on.  

If your garden starts growing last year’s plants in rows, use them as guides for how far apart each seed should go (the further apart they are, the more room there is for each plant to grow).

Mark how wide you’re planting each plant (you can do this using non-reusable markers like old stakes or sticks) and then transplant whatever seeds you want to plant.

How to make rows in a garden with a tractor

Using a tractor is more beneficial and efficient and very easy.

All you have to do is attach the appropriate equipment, and you can do your work in a matter of minutes.

When using a tractor to create the seedline, you will need 1 complete pass with your machine in each direction over the same row.

And do not overlap your machine.  

Types of tractor attachments to make garden rows

Depending on the size of your yard, there are many different types of attachments that you can use with your tractor.

Learn how to make rows in a garden with a tractor
Source: detroitstylz (Flickr)


Attach a cultivator or chisel plow at the back of the tractor to make long rows,

Harrow Disc

For short rows, attach a harrow disc behind the tractor.

Ensure that you have plenty of space between each row so that you won’t damage any plants with the machinery when it’s in use.


A roller is a widespread attachment for your tractor to flatten the soil down and ensure that you have the consistent depth for your rows.

If you were making the row after you tilted the soil, you could use:

Middle Buster

The equipment makes planting fast and easy because it comes with a “double-wing cutting blade” that digs the ground right to your chosen depth.

The 3 point attachment attaches perfectly onto almost all types of tractors, so you can easily follow your tire tracks while making rows in excess.

This means that nothing will stop you if there are some rocks or other obstacles on the way between where you have been harvesting from before and what you want to plant next.

Hiller Attachment

If your farm is on hilly ground, you are better off using a Hiller attachment.

It comes with adjustable wings that help make various garden row widths and softens the soil because of its adjustable wings.

Some have advanced settings that make jobs quite easy.

For example, it could even split up to three rows instead of one at once.

However, before choosing an appropriate hill planter, be sure to consider factors like needs, planting conditions, soil types & crop type first.”

Hiller Plow/PTO Trash Rows

This type of attachment is suitable especially for rough ground or heavy clay soils where conventional plowing techniques are difficult and expensive, if not impossible.

if it’s the first time you make rows in your garden, here are how to measure the space between the plants:

How much space do you need between the plants

First, you need to understand that the width of the rows depends on how many plants fit in, how much space the plant needs, and how long your rows need to be.

How to make garden rows by hand

This is how you can figure how wide a row would be:

Row Width = (Number of Plants x Plant Distance) + Space Between

The distance between the plant is different from a plant to another for example:

  1. Broccoli should be planted 18 to 24 inches apart, with 30 to 36 inches between rows.
  2. Cucumbers need 12-18 inch spaces and 48-72 inch spacing in between the two lines of plants or hills for cucumbers.
  3. Lettuce needs 2 to 4 inches between each plant as well as 12 to 18 feet separating them from other lettuce crops nearby.
  4. Squash requires an interval of about 15 meters (about 49 ft). Tomatoes require a space that is roughly 20x20ft.
  5. For broccoli (Brassica oleracea var . Italica), allow 18–24″ inches between plants and 30–36″ inches between rows.

The last thing we are going to leave you with:

Rules of making garden rows with a tractor attachment

If you decide to use a garden row maker attachment to create uniform seed lines, be sure that you heed these rules. 

Rule #1: Never run over any part of the seed line created by an earlier operation (such as pulling behind another planter).  Since there is not enough time between operations to replenish the soil surface, the seed-line will not be fully covered.  

Rule #2: Always run over the last pass of a given row before making another pass in an adjoining row.

Finally, depending on the soil, you can add fertilizer or compost over it.

You can also loosen the ground using a rototiller to expose more of its rich side for planting and remove unneeded rocks simultaneously.

Ensure that there is adequate watering as well before starting your garden plot’s construction.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to make rows in a garden using both your hands and a tractor, it’s time to put it to work.

Remember, always start your garden by making rows. If your backyard is small or average-sized, you can easily make garden rows by hand.

But if you have large, sprawling yard space, you can try and rent a tractor and choose a suitable attachment to make rows in your garden. It might be a little costly, but it’ll save you so much time and energy.