When you plan the layout and design of your vegetable garden, each planting needs ample space to grow. Each type of vegetable has its own average root spread, and this determines the recommended spacing for the vegetable. Vegetable seed and vegetable plant producers state recommended spacing between plants or rows on each packet or plant tag. Give vegetables just enough room to have their fair share of moisture and nutrients from the soil without competing with their neighboring plants.
Record each vegetable for the garden with its recommended spacing on a piece of paper. Having this information in list form is easy to refer back to as you work the soil and plan your garden space.
Average the recommended spacing for all of the vegetables in the garden. If you have different vegetables that recommend 4 inches, 6 inches and 10 inches, respectively, add these numbers up and divide by three. Check the absolute minimum spacing for the vegetable that requires the most space--it may be close to the average of these three numbers.
Bypass taking the average of the vegetable spacing if you have a large garden area, and space your vegetables using the widest spacing required for one of the vegetables you will plant in your garden. Deciding on a universal spacing distance between the vegetables in your garden makes it easy to make all the rows the same size and to get right to planting without sorting the vegetables by their spacing requirements.
Companion plant your vegetables. Plant vegetables that grow well together, such as cucumbers, beans, lettuce, radish and corn. These vegetables take balanced amounts of nutrients and moisture from the soil without compromising the nutritional and growing needs of their neighbors.
Stagger the vegetables for small gardens. The roots can become crowded if you line up the vegetables in precise rows. Staggering the vegetables makes use of the empty space between the vegetables and their rows without draining the nutrients of neighboring plants.
Arrange your vegetables in size order in your garden--according to the direction that the sun shines on the garden--so they all get adequate sunlight. Plant towering vegetables, such as corn, behind lower-growing vegetables, such as lettuce, and plant facing the main direction the sun shines on the garden.
Label your vegetables with garden signs. Use pre-made garden signs or make them from scrap pieces of wood or recycled plastic and staple them to a wooden stick. Garden signs make it easier to identify the vegetables growing in the garden, especially during their early stages when so many seedlings look similar.