Spacing in the Garden

How do you know how far apart to place your plants? First, check the plant tags. The spacing requirements listed generally refer to traditional rows and to the distance from the center of one plant to the center of the next. On Bonnie Mobile, we give spacing requirements for both traditional and intensive gardens for many of our plants. Intensive gardening is a method gaining popularity with home gardeners who have limited space to grow.

Garden rows have a nostalgic beauty. The even spacing of wide rows allows a gardener to easily harvest and care for a large number crops.

Traditional spacing means long, single rows spaced a uniform distance apart. This is what many people picture when they think of vegetable gardens. The simple system works, but it takes more space than many gardeners have these days.

Several cool-weather crops grow together in this intensively spaced raised bed. The broccoli, just starting to pop up, will soon provide a little shade for the Romaine lettuce.

Intensive spacing aims to produce more harvest from a smaller, contained space, recapturing the wasted space that exists in traditional rows. Methods of intensive gardening include raised beds, vertical gardening, and interplanting, which is growing 2 or more vegetables in the same space, typically with staggered rows.

Careful planning and good plant care are key to intensive gardening, as more plants are competing for sunlight, nutrients, and water within the same space. In the ground, be sure that your soil is loose and has at least 3 to 4 inches of organic matter such as compost worked in. In raised beds do the same, unless you use bagged bed mix, which is already high in organic matter. Water and fertilize regularly. Arrange plants so they don’t battle for sun; for example, place plants that can tolerate some shade (such as lettuce) between plants that will grow taller (such as broccoli).

Posted in: Growing Basics