Square Foot Gardening Plant Spacing

square foot garden plant spacingOur first garden was a Square Foot Garden. We’re talking about an authentic by-the-book (written by Mel Bartholomew) SFG. There are so many reasons why Square Foot Gardening is a great method for growing, especially for those who are new to gardening (that was me!) or have modest-sized gardens. As we’ve continued to grow vegetables, we’ve made some changes to our methods. For example, we no longer use the Mel’s Mix gardening soil recipe and we’ve exchanged six inches of soil in a box for hugelkultur mounded beds. But one thing has remained constant – we follow Mel’s concept of intensive planting. This intensive planting method follows the logic that if a plant can handle certain spacing in a row (i.e., 2 inches apart) the same spacing should apply in all directions (2 inches to the side, but also above, below and on the other side). So if you look at your seed packet, you can use the recommended spacing to determine how many plants will fit per square foot (1 foot x 1 foot).

But who wants to stand around doing silly math when they could have someone else do it for them? Maybe I’m just lazy, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been about to plant something in the garden and thought “Oh wait, can you plant four or six heads of lettuce per square foot?” Invariably, I pull out my smart phone and fire up Google so that someone else can remind me. I did this so often that it occurred to me that others might be doing the same thing. And that if they (and I!) were going to be searching for this info frequently, it sure would be a handy service for Arcadia Farms to provide a lickity-split answer. So here it is – a cheat sheet chart to let you know how many plants to sow per square foot. Bookmark this one – trust me, you’ll need it later.

SFG Cheat Sheet {easy to read from your mobile device!}

Arugula, 4 per SQF

Asparagus, 1 per SQF

Bachelor Buttons, 2 per SQF

Basil, 1 per SQF for large plants/4 per SQF for small plants

Beans (Bush), 9 per SQF

Beans (Pole), 8 per SQF

Beets, 9 per SQF

Broccoli, 1 per SQF

Cabbage, 1 per SQF

Carrots, 16 per SQF

Cauliflower, 1 per SQF

Celery, 1 per SQF

Chives, 9 per SQF

Cilantro, 1 per SQF

Corn, 4 per SQF

Cucumbers, 2 per SQF

Dill, 1 per SQF

Eggplant, 1 per SQF

Garlic, 4 per SQF for large varieties/9 per SQF for small varieties

Greens (Collard), 4 per SQF

Kale, 1 per SQF

Leeks, 4 per SQF for large varieties/9 per SQF for small varieties

Lettuce, 4 per SQF

Marjoram, 4 per SQF

Melons, 2 SQF per plant

Mint, 1 per SQF

Okra, 1 per SQF

Onions, 16 per SQF (I have better success with 9 per SQF)

Oregano, 1 per SQF

Parsley, 1 per SQF

Peas, 8 per SQF

Peppers, 1 per SQF

Potatoes, 1 per SQF

Quinoa, 4 per SQF

Pumpkins, 2 SQF per plant

Radishes, 16 per SQF

Rosemary, 1 per SQF

Rutabaga, 4 per SQF

Savory, 1 per SQF

Scallions, 16 per SQF

Spinach, 9 per SQF

Strawberry, 4 per SQF (some people say only 1 per SQF)

Summer Squash, 2 SQF per plant

Sunflower, 1 per SQF

Sweet Potatoes, 2 per SQF

Swiss Chard, 4 per SQF

Thyme, 4 per SQF

Tomatoes (Bush), 9 SQF per plant (I’ve grown them successfully in just 2 SQF)

Tomatoes (Vine), 1 per SQF

Turnips, 9 per SQF

Winter Squash, 2 SQF per plant

Zucchini, 2 SQF per plant

How many per square foot (SQF)? Doing the Math.

If you can’t find your plant on this list, here’s the low down on how to determine how many plants belong in a square foot. Look on the seed packet for the plant spacing (ignore the row spacing!). If the spacing is:

  • 3” apart (or something smaller), plant 16 per square foot
  • 4” apart, plant 9 per square foot
  • 6” apart, plant 4 per square foot
  • 12” apart, plant 1 per square foot

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