Spacing for Vegetable Crops
The space required for a plant depends on a number of factors:
how much space you have available (do you have to squeeze in your plants to maximize use of a small space? Or do you have the luxury of lots of garden space?)
the particular variety of that vegetable
eg, bush tomatoes versus staking tomatoes
trellising a crop versus not trellising it
some varieties require more space, eg certain types of melons or squash; generally the seed packet will tell you if more space than usual is required
the richness of your soil
rich soil will produce bigger plants, which should be spaced further apart
Before getting into the details of how much space each crop needs, I’d like to mention one way to get more out of your garden space - whether you have a small garden or a large garden.
Much of the garden space is taken up with walkways (unless you’re growing in raised beds). There is often no need to have walkways between every single row of plants - particularly when the plants grow mostly upright, instead of spreading out horizontally.
So, for example, you could plant 3 - 4 rows of carrots relatively close together, with a walkway on each side of that group of rows. This takes far less space in the garden (and is easier to maintain) than having a walkway between every row.
Therefore, this info below will include details for how closely rows can be spaced together, accounting for a walkway between a group of rows instead of between every row.
Here’s an overview of general spacing according to the type of plant:
Especially if using landscape fabric
Here is another way of looking at spacing for various crops, with like spacings together.
One way this is helpful is if you’re using landscape fabric for your garden. You can have sections with holes that can be used interchangeably for various crops.
Note: there is a bit of overlap between a couple crops listed. For example, kale can be grown in a single row or in a double row, dependent on space in your garden, how much of it you want to grow / harvest, the amount of fabric you have with that spacing, etc.
12" between plants, 1 row
Tomatoes (when they’re trellised)
Cucumbers (can plant 2-3 seedlings per group)
12" between plants, 2 - 3 rows @ 12" apart
Beets (@ 3 seedlings per clump)
Onions (@ 3-4 seedlings per clump)
Kale (2 rows)
Swiss Chard (2 rows)
6" between plants, 3 - 5 rows @ 6 - 8" apart
6" between plants, 2 - 3 rows at 12” apart
12-24" between plants, 2 - 3 rows @ 18-24" apart
Brussels Sprouts (need the most room)
Cauliflower (need the most room)
24 - 36" between plants, 1 row
Cantaloupe (can plant 2-3 seedlings per group)
Watermelon (can plant 2-3 seedlings per group)