When you’re planting vegetables, plant spacing is one of those things where there seems to be no definitive answer.
Since different growing methods call for different spacing requirements, it’s hard to know exactly how much room your plants need for healthy growth (and how densely you can plant them before impacting yields).
This crop spacing guide is specific to raised bed gardening, and it can help you determine proper spacing for growing vegetables and herbs intensively.
Benefits of biointensive planting
I prefer (and personally practice) biointensive planting in raised beds. Compared to traditional gardening methods, plants are spaced closer together and you can stagger your rows to fit more plants in a smaller area.
Not only does this increase your harvest, it also protects the soil by using the plants themselves as mulch for neighboring plants. When there’s less space available, weeds have less opportunity to take hold. Low-growing leaves also shade the soil and help with moisture retention.
I go more in-depth on intensive planting methods (with diagrams) in Lazy Gardening Academy, which utilizes this and a few other simple techniques to maximize harvests in a raised bed garden with a lot less work.
Keep in mind this is not square foot gardening, which is a specialized, hyper intensive growing technique in an even smaller space.
You’ll also notice there’s no column in the chart below for row spacing because no walking paths are needed in a raised bed. The spacing suggestions are for spacing in all directions.
This should clear up some confusion if you’ve ever read the instructions on a seed packet that tell you how much space to leave between rows. Those figures only apply to in-ground garden beds that are planted in long rows.
Spacing for transplants vs. seeds
One thing to keep in mind is if you direct sow seeds in a raised bed, you should sow them a little more densely to account for varying germination rates. Once the seedlings are a few inches tall (and it’s easier to see which ones are stronger and healthier), you can thin them to the appropriate spacing.
For example, cabbage needs 15 to 18 inches of space between plants, but you’re better off sowing seeds every 4 to 6 inches to ensure good germination. After those seedlings develop their first sets of true leaves, you can thin them out to use as microgreens or baby greens, and let the rest of them keep growing without being overcrowded.
Plant Spacing Chart for Raised Bed Gardens
Use this plant spacing chart to help you plan how to best place your vegetables and herbs in a raised bed for maximum production.
For gardeners outside of the United States, I also include plant spacing in centimeters.
|Vegetable||Spacing (Inches)||Spacing (Centimeters)|
|Amaranth||6 in||15 cm|
|Asparagus||12 in||30 cm|
|Artichokes||24-36 in||61-91 cm|
|Arugula||4-6 in||10-15 cm|
|Basil||12-18 in||30-46 cm|
|Beans, bush||3-4 in||8-10 cm|
|Beans, fava||4-6 in||10-15 cm|
|Beans, pole||2-3 in||5-8 cm|
|Beans, yardlong||4-6 in||10-15 cm|
|Beets||3 in||8 cm|
|Bok choy||6-8 in||15-20 cm|
|Broccoli||15-18 in||38-46 cm|
|Broccoli raab (broccoli rabe, rapini)||4-6 in||10-15 cm|
|Brussels sprouts||18 in||46 cm|
|Cabbage||9-12 in||23-30 cm|
|Cardoons||18-24 in||46-61 cm|
|Carrots||2-3 in||5-8 cm|
|Cauliflower||12-16 in||30-41 cm|
|Celeriac||8-10 in||20-25 cm|
|Celery||6-8 in||15-20 cm|
|Chard (Swiss chard)||6-9 in||15-23 cm|
|Chinese cabbage||6-9 in||15-23 cm|
|Chives||6 in||15 cm|
|Collards||8-12 in||20-30 cm|
|Corn||8-10 in||20-25 cm|
|Cress||3 in||8 cm|
|Cucumbers (trellised)||4-6 in||10-15 cm|
|Dandelions||6 in||15 cm|
|Dill||6-10 in||15-25 cm|
|Eggplant||18 in||46 cm|
|Endive||8-12 in||20-30 cm|
|Fennel, herb||6 in||15 cm|
|Fennel, bulb||12 in||30 cm|
|Garlic||3-4 in||8-10 cm|
|Gourds (up to 15 lbs)||18-36 in||46-91 cm|
|Gourds (15-30 lbs)||36-48 in||91-122 cm|
|Gourds (30+ lbs)||48-60 in||122-152 cm|
|Greens, baby leaf||2-3 in||5-8 cm|
|Greens, mature||6-8 in||15-20 cm|
|Ground cherries (husk cherries)||24 in||61 cm|
|Hops||24-36 in||61-91 cm|
|Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)||12 in||30 cm|
|Jicama||12 in||30 cm|
|Kale||8 in||20 cm|
|Kohlrabi||6 in||15 cm|
|Lavender (grown as an annual)||12-15 in||30-38 cm|
|Lavender (grown as a perennial)||18-36 in||46-91 cm|
|Leeks||3-6 in||8-15 cm|
|Lettuce, head||10 in||25 cm|
|Lettuce, leaf||3-6 in||8-15 cm|
|Malabar spinach (trellised)||6-8 in||15-20 cm|
|Melons||16-18 in||41-46 cm|
|Mustard||4-6 in||10-15 cm|
|New Zealand spinach (trellised)||6-8 in||15-20 cm|
|Okra||10-12 in||25-30 cm|
|Onions, bulb||3-5 in||8-13 cm|
|Onions, bunching||2-3 in||5-8 cm|
|Oregano (grown as an annual)||8-10 in||20-25 cm|
|Oregano (grown as a perennial)||12-15 in||30-38 cm|
|Parsley||4-6 in||10-15 cm|
|Parsnips||3-4 in||8-10 cm|
|Peanuts||6-8 in||15-20 cm|
|Peas||2-3 in||5-8 cm|
|Peppers||12-16 in||30-41 cm|
|Potatoes||8-12 in||20-30 cm|
|Pumpkins||24-36 in||61-91 cm|
|Radicchio||6-8 in||15-20 cm|
|Radishes, spring||2-3 in||5-8 cm|
|Radishes, winter||4-6 in||10-15 cm|
|Rhubarb||24-36 in||61-91 cm|
|Rosemary (grown as an annual)||8-10 in||20-25 cm|
|Rosemary (grown as a perennial)||18-24 in||46-61 cm|
|Rutabagas||4-6 in||10-15 cm|
|Sage||12-18 in||30-46 cm|
|Shallots||3-5 in||8-13 cm|
|Soybeans (edamame)||3-4 in||8-10 cm|
|Spinach||3-4 in||8-10 cm|
|Squash, summer||18-24 in||46-61 cm|
|Squash, winter||24-36 in||61-91 cm|
|Sunflowers||18-28 in||46-71 cm|
|Sweet potatoes||6-12 in||15-30 cm|
|Thyme (grown as an annual)||6-8 in||15-20 cm|
|Thyme (grown as a perennial)||12-24 in||30-61 cm|
|Tomatillos||24 in||61 cm|
|Tomatoes||18-24 in||46-61 cm|
|Turnips||3-6 in||8-15 cm|
|Watermelons||18-24 in||46-61 cm|
Note: This chart assumes you grow in a moderate climate. If you live in a particularly humid or rainy region, you may want to increase spacing by up to 50 percent more to increase airflow around your plants and reduce the chances of fungal disease.
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