I am getting ready to sow some seeds in our brand new garden. We picked out some veggies for planting and on the back of some of them it reads like this:

In full sun, sow 4 to 5 seeds over a 12 inch tall and 2 feet across hill.

I have zero idea what that means. Does it mean to create a raised row in the garden 12 inches high and 2 feet across? What about length? What if my row is 10 feet long? Do I only put 4-5 seeds still? My row isn't 10 feet long, I'm just giving a for instance.


  • We really need to know exactly what you're planting, can you clarify which vegetable seed packet has these instructions?
    – Bamboo
    May 6, 2017 at 18:40
  • these are cukes, but all the packages of seeds say the same thing... was thinking this was a standardized thing?
    – El Guapo
    May 6, 2017 at 19:00

2 Answers 2


Are these directions for squash or cucumbers? What they are talking about are HILLS or mounds of soil. Very much a 'raised bed'. Just rake up your soil to make a mound, like a 'boob'. Make this 'boob' higher than a foot and at least 2' in diameter. I normally make them 3 to 4 ' across and plant more seeds. Then, using a rock rake, not a soft leaf rake but one with heavier, pointy metal tines all in a row? tamp the soil down firmly. Use the 'head' of this rake, not the tines. Can't think of a better tool at the moment. When you are finished, your 'boob' bed is ready to plant your seeds and will be a foot high. Lay the seeds out across the top. Poke them down a depth of twice the largest part of the seed. Space your seeds 6 to 8". Cover with soil and pat to firm. I plant all my beds like this, never in straight rows. I even plant on the sides/slopes of my beds. Not seeds so much but starts with little rings of terraced or flatten soil and a damn of soil on the slope side. Planting in rows to me anyway is a waste of precious space.

I like these 'boobs' combined with my raised beds (3' wide minimum...sometimes 6' wide with walkways on either side one can easily reach the center at 3') that are mostly rows, an area of mounds looks cool. I even do square raised beds, especially for peas. I've used these boob type raised beds for squash, cucumbers, peas. Easy to erect TEPEE type poles for each mound for these types of vegetables to climb.

You most certainly can make a raised row bed, in fact I always make raised beds out of just soil but I also create a shallow trench at the bottom or foot of these beds to collect and direct extra water. This keeps your walkways clean or clear so that when watering you don't get rivers across your designated walkways. The entire idea is about drainage. Double dug soil is fluffy and more porous thus drains far better than planting in rows on the normal surface of your soil. Walkways stay walkways forever, get compacted and even weeds don't want to grow in compacted soil. They will of course but so easy to pluck them out when they are baby plants. Weeding the raised beds is even easier as the soil is more porous. Planting 'broadcast' style or using the entire surface of your bed also inhibits weeds. The cash crop plants shade out any weed trying to grow. I always have a good supply of DECOMPOSED organic matter that I put on the beds at least twice a season that take care of the weeds and feeds your soil or rather your soil organisms who come up out of the soil (nice fluffy soil with air) eat that decomposed organic matter, go back into the soil to poop it out. This is the easiest and best way to mix decomposed organic matter into your soil. Let those organisms do it for you. The organisms flourish and multiply. Add a little all purpose fertilizer...raised beds for new greenhousekeep the numbers even for NPK 10-10-10 or for vegetables and flowers make sure the N is lower than the P and K; 7-10-10. Too much nitrogen will make very leafy plants but will inhibit flowers and fruit. Fine for salad greens but bad for tomatoes for instance.


Forming hills for squash, melons or cucumbers is only a recommendation, it is definitely not a necessity. Don't feel the need to redo your garden just because the seed packet said hills. If you have decent drainage in your garden your plants will be just fine. For cucumbers, I usually aim to have around 6 inches mature spacing

  • Tyler, do you plant right into the ground without forming 'beds'? To form mounds is not 'redoing' one's garden. I also double dig to make mounds, improve drainage, ensure air in the soil. Then I also make trenches to collect water. I never have to do this twice. Just cleaning out my shallow trenches, throwing the soil back onto the bed or mound and installing a few inches of decomposed mulch is all I have to do for subsequent seasons. If I were a plant, that is exactly what I would want for my forever home, grins. Successful germination and growth are almost 100 percent.
    – stormy
    May 7, 2017 at 19:49
  • The original post said they were sowing into a brand new garden, so when I said you don't need to "redo" your garden, I meant that you don't need to move the soil around to form mounds or do any extra work than what they have already done. I am assuming that they had formed a rectangular garden bed. In my experience, unless you have poor draining soil, mounds are totally unnecessary and just extra work. The same goes for raised beds. If you have heavy clay soil, they can help, but if you have sandy well draining soil they may actually be working against your favor
    – Tyler K.
    May 7, 2017 at 20:23
  • A rectangular garden AREA. Not a bed, yes? I've got pumice soil now and let me tell you all you know about drainage and sandy soils gotta just throw that out the window. Horrible drainage. You should just try making a raised mound or bed to see the difference. It is huge. Why would I waste any time at all if planting in undisturbed soil made any sense for the health of plants. Plants grow and prevail but I want ALL of them to flourish. I am truly the laziest gardener in the world! When it rains, it puddles big time with this soil. And those puddles persist.
    – stormy
    May 7, 2017 at 20:29
  • I'm not quite sure what you are saying. I plant my squash in beds and I allow them to ground layer themselves into the garden soil. S
    – Tyler K.
    May 9, 2017 at 2:26
  • They inevitably end up overtaking the beds and the pathways inbetween the beds, but they are still permanent beds. I have made, many raised beds. I am an organic market gardener and I intensively grow almost an acre of vegetables. I'm transitioning out of landscaping to be a full time farmer. Trust me, I know how to grow some squash.
    – Tyler K.
    May 9, 2017 at 2:35

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