Following a plant spacing guide to a T can be exhausting! Measuring everything, thinning out plants, and so on gets old quickly.
However, leaving little-to-no room in between plants may be the reason you have a poor harvest.
You can easily solve this problem and get a large yield the next season by leaving some space in between plants with their mature sizes in mind.
Here are some tips that can make this transition easier!
Growing Your Own Food
Starting a vegetable garden and enjoying the fruits of your labor for the first time leads to a fulfilling and wholesome feeling. You know you and your family are eating healthy food and that you contributed to it.
Gardening also immerses you in a natural world and has you spending more time outdoors.
But it comes with a cost!
It is a bit more complex than we think it is, with all the rules about watering, getting the right soil, light exposure, when to plant, etc.
And as if that wasn’t enough, you also have to worry about plant spacing. How close or far apart should you plant each veg? At what depth? And how long will it take the seeds to germinate?
Today we’ll clear these questions up once and for all so that you can start your gardening journey the right way!
General Planting Guidelines
The first thing you need to understand is that you shouldn’t plant all your seeds at once. Instead, you should extend the sowing throughout the season for various reasons, including:
• Providing your veggies preferred soil temperature to achieve germination
• Taking weather into account
• Leaving some room for succession planting
• Thinking about intercropping
Remember that you can sow some flowers directly outside, while you should start others indoors to get ahead of the season. Some can go in the ground in February, others in May, etc.
Luckily, seed packets usually contain all the important information, including the time of planting and spacing.
Use your common sense and track the weather forecast before planting. The soil temperature and the actual last frost day are much more important than the date.
Plant spacing and depth go together. A general rule is to bury seeds 2-3 times deeper than their length.
However, it is always better to plant them shallower than deeper as they’ll sprout more easily and won’t be at risk of rotting.
But if you sow them too shallowly, birds and other munchers could get their hands on them and leave you with no crops. Or the soil will dry out too quickly and mess your germination up.
Planting depth can also affect germination in a different way. Some seeds, such as lettuce and carrots, require light to germinate, which is why you only need to sprinkle them with soil to get them to sprout.
Others, such as sunflowers and onions, require darkness.
Light isn’t the only thing that speeds up germination. Seeds such as carrots, beans, peas, corn, and pumpkins germinate better if you soak them in water before planting. Squash and melons like to be scratched a bit to speed up this process.
But don’t worry if you don’t know all the ins and outs of gardening. With each passing season, your wisdom and experience will grow.
You’ll develop a feel for things and get abundant harvests.
Why Plant Spacing Is Important
Spacing is very important in gardening. All fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers need their space; the question is how much.
If you’re into companion planting, then you know about the three sisters method, which involves corn, beans, and pumpkins intertwining with each other.
But this is a rare occurrence. If plants intermingle like this, they’ll compete for nutrients and only one will come out a winner.
Lack of nutrients can stress veggies, leaving them more prone to pests and diseases. So give your green buddies enough room to grow by leaving some space between each vegetable and each row.
If you accidentally sow too many seeds in one place, you can always thin them out once they sprout. Simply snip a couple of them, or pluck them out in the case of parsley and carrots.
It is important to thin the seedlings so you provide optimal conditions for the largest one to develop and give you plenty of fruit. You can also try transplanting them, but they usually don’t root.
I throw them in the compost or make a soup using young carrots and parsley roots.
Another reason why spacing plants is so important is to give them enough airflow when they mature, which can prevent fungal diseases.
Finally, leaving some room in between your veggies will ensure each plant gets an adequate amount of sunlight.
This is necessary because it can help dry their foliage after watering and prevent infections, encourage photosynthesis, and keep them healthy in the long run.
Using Plant Spacing To Maximize Yield
It is important to understand that you can adjust recommended distances between plants and rows, just don’t cram ten carrots into a 10-inch square.
One thing that can help you with this is planting in curves and arcs instead of straight rows to gain more space. Intersperse different plants within the same line, and work around the conventional rules to safely fit more plants in a smaller space.
If you don’t know where to start, it will benefit you to look into some rules for guidance. For instance, take the mature size of the plant into consideration so that it can develop optimally and give you a high yield.
Another thing about spacing is that you can do it to make gardening more convenient for yourself. Think of how much space you need to successfully weed, water, and mulch, and plant accordingly.
Spacing 34 Popular Vegetables
Achieving a giant harvest has never been easier with a plant spacing guide like this!
You can whip out your meter, calculator, and some markers, and start planning where each vegetable will grow.
You can also plant it in a casual way, without any fixed plan, or rather with a plan in mind but not on paper. You can sow the seeds with approximate spacing and see where it takes you.
Plant Spacing Tips And Tricks
When starting a new garden it seems as if there’s loads of space, leading you to sow more seeds than might be optimal. You’ll notice this as soon as the weather warms up and little seedlings appear.
Luckily, you can thin the plants then and there or wait until they grow a bit more and transplant them to another part of your garden.
And if there’s still a crowd in the original plot, simply pick the young plants and eat them. You can do this with carrots, kale, and chard.
Another option is to give away the transplants to your friends and family, or even sell them if there’s a market in your area. That way, you’ll resolve your overpopulation problem and help other gardeners.
If you have a different problem, such as too few plants in your garden, you can always sow some more. Find those that thrive in the later season or find viable transplants and fill in your plot.
The top tip I have for you is to take the guidelines and follow them loosely, using your common sense in the process. You don’t have to space them exactly 2 inches; slightly more or less room won’t do them any harm.
I hope these tips help you grow your own food and get a large harvest.
Until next time!