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Square foot Gardening Spacing Guide

Square foot Gardening Spacing Guide

Raymond Meijer |

Square foot gardening is definitely not something new. In 1976 Mel Bartholomew invented Square Foot Gardening to replace labor-intensive and inefficient row gardening. By creating blocks of one square foot (30cm by 30cm) he changed backyard gardening around the world.

Square foot is referencing a 1 by 1-foot square. Usually, it’s done in a 4 by 4 foot (120cm by 120cm) raised bed witch will be divided into 16 smaller square feet. As seen in the image below, the small squares can be used in different ways for growing different vegetables. We can also combine more squares to grow our bigger plants.

There are no specific rules to how many exactly you can plant in your square foot garden. It also depends on how much light does the garden get, Is one vegetable casting a shadow over the other and how deep is your raised bed. But in general these are the spacing’s to start out with.


Some vegetables will require roughly one foot square to grow.

  • Lettuce (head)
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers
  • Corn
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Bok choy
  • Melons
  • Sage
  • Brussels Sprouts (sometimes require more than one-foot square)
  • Zucchini


Two plants will go in next to each other. Read the package for the planting distance so they will have enough space to grow.

  • Fennel
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Calendula
  • Cucumbers
  • Swiss Chard
  • Thyme
  • Winter Squash
  • Pumpkins



Remember this is up to four. Some might be better to put in two or three depending on the sun. Plant four plants at equal distance in a square. Try to keep the distance from the corners the same as the planting distance.

  • Garlic
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Rutabagas
  • Bush beans
  • Beets (multi sowed)
  • Winter Radishes
  • Onions (large bulbs)


Keep on using the same spacing in between all plants and create a grid. Three by Three spacing works great but of course, this makes for 9 holes. So let’s make these 8- or 9-per-square plantings. Try to keep an equal distance from all sides.

  • Beets
  • Onions (small bulbs)
  • Spinach
  • Leeks (small harvest)
  • Garlic (small harvest)
  • Turnips
  • Cilantro


Some plants don’t create a large root system and therefore don’t require too much space. Usually, these are the vegetables we can harvest quickly. Again remember the light they will get throughout the day. Planting ten is sometimes better than sixteen.

  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Parsnips


Some plants just require more space. I personally don’t like to grow big plants in my square foot garden because they just take up too much space. The harvest is not worth the space it requires. But if you just don’t have more space available and you really want to grow some bigger vegetables. We can use up 2 or 4 squares to give them the space they need.

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbages
  • Cauliflower


Square foot gardening is a great way to start out your gardening adventure with much info on the web. I personally also started out with two beds of 4 by 4 foot (120cm by 120cm) and this was the best way to start out. It’s simple, low maintenance, and still high yields.

Got any more questions about the subject comment down below and let’s help each other out!

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