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How to Plot a Vegetable Garden

By Amma Marfo ; Updated September 21, 2017

Typically in the early months of a new year, gardeners everywhere spend time plotting their vegetable gardens on paper. If you aren’t familiar with vegetable gardening, learning how to plot a vegetable garden can seem like a challenging puzzle. Once you learn about the plants you wish to grow and their needs, however, plotting your garden can be easy. It’s important to plan ahead so you know where to put the plants based on how much light they will receive and whether they would be taken over by their larger, sprawling neighbor.

Make a list of the types of vegetables you would like to grow and what your family will eat. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to grow them this year, include vegetables you would like to grow at some point so you already have the information collected in one place.

Research the vegetables on your list and write down the amount of space between each plant type, the number of plants you would like to plant, and the height of the mature plant. Vegetable gardening books and websites can be great resources.

Measure your garden area outside and make note of how it is positioned in relation to east and west.

Draw out your garden area on graph paper. Create your graph so that each square represents one foot or six inches to make your plant spacing accurate.

Refer back to your completed list to plot where your desired vegetables will go on your graph paper. Taller plants tend to work well in the northern areas of your garden so the shorter plants receive enough light.

Make adjustments as needed to use fewer of one plant or more of another depending on the space you have available. Stick to the spacing guidelines rather than trying to squeeze in extra plants or you may end up encouraging diseases that thrive in low air-circulation areas between plants.


Things You Will Need

  • Resource guide (book or website)
  • Tape measure
  • Graph paper


  • Make several plot diagrams for your vegetable garden and play around with placement and designs. Making more than one lets you rearrange the garden's layout and "see" how each will look, and gives you more than one plan to choose from when it comes time to plant.
  • Resist the temptation to plant vegetables just because they are easy to grow. For example, even if squash is easy, if no one in your household will eat it, there's no reason to let it take up valuable space in your garden.