raised-garden-beds

How to Space Vegetables in a Raised Bed

Raised garden beds are an excellent option when it comes to vegetable gardening since they provide a simple but effective alternative to growing in poor soil. A raised garden bed is just a planting area that sits above the ground. You can think of it as a giant container bed.

The great thing about raised vegetable beds is that you get to create the growing space, choose the depth and size of the bed, and even the soil it contains. Simply put, you can create the perfect growing conditions for your vegetables, which is something quite valuable in areas where diseases and pest lurk in the native soil.

Plant by Area, Not by Rows

Row spacing in a traditional garden is designed to provide a walking path between the plants, but it isn’t necessary in a raised bed since you won’t do any walking. The main reason for growing vegetable in a raised bed is to condense the growing areas to a point where all the plants are easily reachable without the need to step into the growing area.

The width of a raised bed should not exceed 3 to 4 feet, so that it becomes easier for you to easily reach across the planting area without the need to step into it. This helps prevent soil compaction that affects the growing of plants. If you have issues with moles, groundhogs, or gophers, attach hardware cloth to the bottom of the bed to ensure that they never tunnel up into the soil and raid your vegetables.

It is quite simple to make a raised bed. To create one with dimensions of 4 ft. by 8 ft., buy three 8-feet-long, 2-inch-thick and 12-inch-wide boards, cut one in half and then attach the boards so that they form a rectangular shape using 3.5-inch deck screws. If you don’t fancy the idea of building your own raised bed for growing vegetables, you can simply order a ready-made raised garden kit.

What Does ‘Plant by Area’ Mean?

Planting by area refers to taking a square section of your raised garden, dividing that section’s length and width by the spacing needs of the specific plant. If you look at the back of every seed packet, you will find two types of measurements:

–     Row Spacing

–     Seed/Plant Spacing

For raised bed gardening, you should forget all about the row spacing number because you won’t actually need or use it. What you need is the plant spacing/seed spacing number because it is what you will be using to divide up your planting sections to know the number of seeds that you should sow.

The First Step is to Make Planting Sections

1 square foot sections are generally preferred. To make planting easier, most gardeners make a plant spacing grid. To do this they follow the steps below:

–     Measuring the garden bed

–     Buying the materials required for making the grid such as string, wood, and screws

–     Cutting everything to length

–     Attaching the pieces to the garden bed’s frame to make the grid

If you don’t like the idea of going through all that hassle, you can buy a pre-assembled, tool-free planting space guide, which sometimes doubles up as an irrigation system for your garden. You can find such planting guides in most gardening stores.

Spacing Vegetables in Raised Beds

If you want to know how spacing vegetables in raised beds is done, stick right here. It is time for a bit of math, but don’t worry because it is very easy.

  1. Locate the seed spacing number from the back of the seed packet
  2. Divide the width of the planting section by the seed spacing number
  3. Divide the length of the planting section by the speed spacing number
  4. Multiply the two answers from steps 2 and 3 together
  5. Start planting

How Many Plants Per Square Foot (SQF)?

The following is a guide for spacing vegetables in raised beds for common plants:

Arugula: 4 per SQF, Beets: 9 per SQF, Cauliflower: 1 per SQF, Broccoli: 1 per SQF, Beans (Bush): 9 per SQF, Eggplant: 1 per SQF, Radishes: 16 per SQF, Potatoes: 1 per SQF, Peppers: 1 per SQF, Oregano: 1 per SQF, Mint: 1 per SQF, Marjoram: 4 per SQF, Lettuce: 4 per SQF, Zucchini: 2 per SQF, Turnips: 9 per SQF, Tomatoes (Vine) 1 per SQF, Thyme: 4 per SQF, Cilantro: 1 per SQF, Savory: 1 per SQF, Winter Squash: 2 SQF for each plant.

Sweet Potatoes: 2 per SQF, Sunflower: 1 per SQF, Spinach: 9 per SQF, Pumpkins: 2 per SQF, Peas: 8 per SQF, Onions: 16 per SQF, Melons: 2 per SQF, Leeks: 4 – 9 per SQF (depending on size), Kale: 1 per SQF, Garlic: 4 per SQF, Corn: 4 per SQF, Celery: 1 per SQF, Cabbage: 1 per SQF, Carrots: 16 per SQF, Beets: 9 per SQF, Scallions: 16 per SQF, Quinoa: 4 per SQF, Parsley: 1 per SQF, Asparagus: 1 per SQF, Strawberry: 4 per SQF.

If you are unable to find your preferred vegetable/plant on this list, you can always use the formula provided above to determine the most appropriate approach to spacing vegetables in raised beds depending on the space you have available.

How Deep Should Soil Be in a Raised Garden?

The ideal depth of soil in a raised garden bed should be between 8 and 12 inches with more being preferred. That way, your pants can still grow even if you place it on concrete. However, you should have taller garden beds or place them on top of earth if you would like to plant anything that requires more than 8 inches of soil.

The Bottom Line

Raised vegetable gardens have revolutionized small-space gardening and have made it possible to grow more vegetables in smaller spaces. This has been a plant spacing chart and planting guide designed to make things much easier for you while figuring out how best to plan your raised vegetable garden. Learning how much space is required between plants results in healthier vegetables and higher yields.

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