Garden of Eatin' / Vegetables

Plant Spacing Guide for Raised Bed Gardens

Plant spacing guide for raised gardens

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.

Vegetable garden planted intensively in raised beds

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.

Carrots planted in a narrow raised bed

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.

Cabbage seedlings planted in a garden

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.

VegetableSpacing (Inches)Spacing (Centimeters)
Amaranth6 in15 cm
Asparagus12 in30 cm
Artichokes24-36 in61-91 cm
Arugula4-6 in10-15 cm
Basil12-18 in30-46 cm
Beans, bush3-4 in8-10 cm
Beans, fava4-6 in10-15 cm
Beans, pole2-3 in5-8 cm
Beans, yardlong4-6 in10-15 cm
Beets3 in8 cm
Bok choy6-8 in15-20 cm
Broccoli15-18 in38-46 cm
Broccoli raab (broccoli rabe, rapini)4-6 in10-15 cm
Brussels sprouts18 in46 cm
Cabbage9-12 in23-30 cm
Cardoons18-24 in46-61 cm
Carrots2-3 in5-8 cm
Cauliflower12-16 in30-41 cm
Celeriac8-10 in20-25 cm
Celery6-8 in15-20 cm
Chard (Swiss chard)6-9 in15-23 cm
Chinese cabbage6-9 in15-23 cm
Chives6 in15 cm
Collards8-12 in20-30 cm
Corn8-10 in20-25 cm
Cress3 in8 cm
Cucumbers (trellised)4-6 in10-15 cm
Dandelions6 in15 cm
Dill6-10 in15-25 cm
Eggplant18 in46 cm
Endive8-12 in20-30 cm
Fennel, herb6 in15 cm
Fennel, bulb12 in30 cm
Garlic3-4 in8-10 cm
Gourds (up to 15 lbs)18-36 in46-91 cm
Gourds (15-30 lbs)36-48 in91-122 cm
Gourds (30+ lbs)48-60 in122-152 cm
Greens, baby leaf2-3 in5-8 cm
Greens, mature6-8 in15-20 cm
Ground cherries (husk cherries)24 in61 cm
Hops24-36 in61-91 cm
Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)12 in30 cm
Jicama12 in30 cm
Kale8 in20 cm
Kohlrabi6 in15 cm
Lavender (grown as an annual)12-15 in30-38 cm
Lavender (grown as a perennial)18-36 in46-91 cm
Leeks3-6 in8-15 cm
Lettuce, head10 in25 cm
Lettuce, leaf3-6 in8-15 cm
Malabar spinach (trellised)6-8 in15-20 cm
Melons16-18 in41-46 cm
Mustard4-6 in10-15 cm
New Zealand spinach (trellised)6-8 in15-20 cm
Okra10-12 in25-30 cm
Onions, bulb3-5 in8-13 cm
Onions, bunching2-3 in5-8 cm
Oregano (grown as an annual)8-10 in20-25 cm
Oregano (grown as a perennial)12-15 in30-38 cm
Parsley4-6 in10-15 cm
Parsnips3-4 in8-10 cm
Peanuts6-8 in15-20 cm
Peas2-3 in5-8 cm
Peppers12-16 in30-41 cm
Potatoes8-12 in20-30 cm
Pumpkins24-36 in61-91 cm
Radicchio6-8 in15-20 cm
Radishes, spring2-3 in5-8 cm
Radishes, winter4-6 in10-15 cm
Rhubarb24-36 in61-91 cm
Rosemary (grown as an annual)8-10 in20-25 cm
Rosemary (grown as a perennial)18-24 in46-61 cm
Rutabagas4-6 in10-15 cm
Sage12-18 in30-46 cm
Shallots3-5 in8-13 cm
Soybeans (edamame)3-4 in8-10 cm
Spinach3-4 in8-10 cm
Squash, summer18-24 in46-61 cm
Squash, winter24-36 in61-91 cm
Sunflowers18-28 in46-71 cm
Sweet potatoes6-12 in15-30 cm
Thyme (grown as an annual)6-8 in15-20 cm
Thyme (grown as a perennial)12-24 in30-61 cm
Tomatillos24 in61 cm
Tomatoes18-24 in46-61 cm
Turnips3-6 in8-15 cm
Watermelons18-24 in46-61 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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About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »

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