The Q&A Archives: Spacing In A Small Vegetable Garden

Question: I am planting a small vegetable garden (200 square feet)and would like to plant 1 row of each of the following vegetables: tomatoes cucumbers, pepper, beans, zucchini, carrots, and peas. Since there will only be 1 row of each vegetable, do I still need to allow for the recommended spacing? For example, the recommended spacing for cucmbers is 5 feet between rows. Since I will be planting carrots next to them and not another row of cucumbers, do I still need to have a space of 5 feet between the cucumbers and carrots?

Answer: To space two different crops, figure the average of the two recommended distances, assuming they are going to be reaching full size simultaneously. So, your carrots could be about two and a half feet from your cucumbers.

Spacing can be manipulated in a number of ways. One of the most effective is to grow smaller plants in patches rather than rows. By limiting the amount of aisle, you preserve space for growing. For instance, you could grow about twenty or more carrots to maturity in a one foot square space, plus eat the carrots you thin out in the meantime.

To save lots of space, grow the cucumbers on a trellis. Also look for varieties described as bush, compact, or space saving.

Remember too that early season crops such as spinach will be finished early in the season and could be planted near plants that mature more slowly, such as tomatoes. The tomatoes will not need their full allotted space until well after the spinach is gone.

I suggest that you peruse some books on square foot gardening or French intensive gardening -- these techniques focus on maximizing a small space. Probably the best piece of information books like this provide is the potential yield of various crops...a 15 foot row of cucumbers or zucchini will produce a lot of fruit. Enjoy!

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