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How to Space Vegetable Plants in a Garden

By Katie Jensen ; Updated September 21, 2017

A kitchen garden offers a great way to add more fresh vegetables to a family's diet. Children are intrigued with planting seeds, watching them grow and harvesting them. What could be tastier than a tomato bursting with juice still warm from the sun, or crunchy sweet carrots pulled from the ground? Different vegetables have different spacing requirements to get the best yield.

Space tomato plants about 3 feet apart. Support the plants with a wire tomato cage, or use stakes to make your own cage. Place four 5-foot stakes around each plant. As the plant grows, tie the branches to one of the stakes. Pepper plants should be spaced the same way, although they don't need cages or staking.

Broadcast small seeds such as carrots, lettuces, spinach, onions and beets over the soil, then lightly cover with top soil. When the seedlings are about an inch high, thin to one inch apart. Baby carrots, beets and onions will continue to need thinning as the roots grow and fill in. Don't toss the seedlings. Wash them thoroughly and add them to salads. Leafy green veggies should be thinned as well. Again, use the seedlings in salads. Space head lettuces 4 inches apart.

Plant the seeds of beans and peas one inch apart. Thin to 3 or 4 inches apart. Peas can be planted on either side of a trellis or netting. Bush beans do better when planted in blocks rather than in a long single row. Corn is the same way. The corn plants should be a foot apart and the rows 2 feet apart.

Space squash plants at least 3 feet apart. As the plants start to bear fruit, they'll take up most of that space. Cucumbers, watermelon and cantaloupe require lots of room to sprawl. If you are short of space, grow them up a trellis. Support small varieties of melon with a hammock made from soft cloth. Pantyhose or socks work well.


Things You Will Need

  • Tomato cages or stakes
  • Ruler
  • Trellis


  • Rich soil can support more plants, so the plants can be closer together and still get the nutrients they need.
  • If you don't have a ruler around when you need it, use your hand. The hand is about 6 inches long from wrist to tip of middle finger. The pinky finger is about 2 inches long.
  • Plants don't care or know if they're planted in straight rows.
  • Overcrowding plants weakens them. If you have any doubt, space them farther apart than closer together.

About the Author


Katie Jensen's first book was published in 2000. Since then she has written additional books as well as screenplays, website content and e-books. Rosehill holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University. Her articles specialize in business and personal finance. Her passion includes cooking, eating and writing about food.