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:

IMG_4534.jpg

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)

  • Peppers

  • Cucumbers (can plant 2-3 seedlings per group)

  • Kale

  • Swiss Chard

  • Basil

12"  between plants, 2 - 3 rows @ 12" apart

  • Potatoes

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Lettuce

  • Beets (@ 3 seedlings per clump)

  • Napa cabbage

  • Onions (@ 3-4 seedlings per clump)

  • Kale (2 rows)

  • Swiss Chard (2 rows)

6" between plants, 3 - 5 rows @ 6 - 8" apart

  • Spinach

6" between plants, 2 - 3 rows at 12” apart

  • Garlic

  • Leeks

  • Parsley

12-24" between plants, 2 - 3 rows @ 18-24" apart

  • Broccoli

  • Cabbage

  • Brussels Sprouts (need the most room)

  • Cauliflower (need the most room)

  • Peppers

  • Basil

  • Sage

24 - 36" between plants, 1 row

  • Zucchini

  • Cantaloupe (can plant 2-3 seedlings per group)

  • Watermelon (can plant 2-3 seedlings per group)