The Q&A Archives: how much to plant in a 4x8' garden

Question: I am starting my first vegetable garden which is a 4x8' raised bed. How many vegetables can I plant in a garden that size. I would like to grow tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, carrots, broccoli and onions.

Answer: How much you can grow will depend on how you space the plants within the bed and what planting schedule you use and also which varieties you grow. You can for example use successive plantings of lettuce, plant thickly and harvest and eat the thinnings. These can be grown in the shade of the larger plants such as tomatoes. When the tomatoes get larger, the weather will likely be too warm for lettuce so there will be adequate space for the tomato to mature. Lettuce, onions, and broccoli are planted early, the lettuce and broccoli can also be planted later as a fall crop. Carrots can also be planted thickly and then eat the thinnings as you go. Zucchini is a bushy plant and takes about a three by three foot space. It is a summer crop and like tomatoes must be planted after the last frost once the soil has warmed. Large vining tomatoes grown on stakes or cages can take a space about two by two feet or more. You do not want to crowd these as they grow best with good air circulation. You might like the book Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew, in it he describes many ways to grow the maximum crop in a minimal space with the least amount of work. Enjoy your new raised bed!

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