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Square Foot Gardening Spacing – How does it work?

Want to grow a lot in a small space? Want to use your growing area as efficiently as possible and give yourself huge harvests with less work? Then you should plant using the square foot garden method. Spacing plants using the square foot garden method takes advantage of planting by area, as opposed to planting by rows. To optimize growing space, gardeners subdivide their growing area into equal sized planting sections.

Fortunately we’ve made your job easy! Below is our quick and simple overview of knowing exactly how to plant ANY plant using this method.

The main takeaway: Plant by area, not by rows.

Raised gardens and square foot gardens alike, are most efficiently used when planting by area, as opposed to rows. This saves lots of space and allows you to grow much more in a condensed area.

Let us explain…

On the back of a seed packet you are given instructions. They say something like this: “Sow seeds 3″ apart in rows 12-18″ wide.” The row spacing is meant to give you walking room for ease of access to plants. This is great for large gardens, but wastes a ton of space in a raised garden bed! Since you’re growing in a raised bed, everything can be reached at arm’s length – meaning you don’t need the rows to walk down!  So, disregard the rows instruction and just look at the first number. In this example, 3”seed spacing

Square Foot Gardening Spacing


Take our Garden Grid™ watering system for example. One of the benefits of it, is that it divides your raised garden into equally sized, square planting sections that are roughly 1 square foot in size. If a seed need to be spaced apart every 3”, then in a square foot you can plant 4 rows across and 4 rows down.

square foot gardening spacing

Here’s the Quick and Easy Math of Square Foot Gardening

12in. x 12in. planting area

3in. seed spacing

12in. wide/ 3in. = 4 seeds wide

12in. long/ 3in. = 4 seeds long

4 seeds wide x 4 seeds long = 16 plants that can be grown in a square foot!

Grow a lot more, in a smaller space!

Pretty simple right?

Now you may ask us, “If we can grow so much in such a small place, why don’t farmers do it?

Well, there’s a good answer for that. Remember the row spacing we were talking about earlier? Simply put, farmers need that extra spacing so they can reach all of their crops. Like we mentioned above, in raised gardens, everything is designed to be within arm’s reach, so you don’t need the extra row spacing!

Square foot garden spacing is a simple and effective way of growing a lot, in a little area. To make the most of your area, use a plant spacing guide to give yourself pre-mapped planting squares so you plant efficiently and keep your garden looking neat and tidy!

Want more info on planting guides? Take a look at our Salsa Garden and Salad Garden planting layouts or our popular All-In-One Plant Spacing Guide!

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