Plant spacing

gardener_sandyMarch 5, 2009

This question may have been asked and answered but I couldn't find it so here goes.

Does Mel's spacing of plants really work? I know that I can do the tomatoes and peppers and such one per square foot with some careful attention but I worry about things like beans (green & limas) and peas at 9 per square. Do they crowd each other out or suffer from competition with each other? In other words, have you grown them this way and, if so, what was the result?

Most of my life I've grown in a field setting and I planted these things closer than recommended in a row but with the typical row spacing and they did fine. The last couple of years I've had a very small area to plant and I put in beans in more of an intensive pattern but again there was some additional room between the beans and the next crop for the roots and air circulation. This year I have square foot beds set up. It will be a new experience for me. Just don't want to waste time, seeds, and energy if they actually need to be planted a bit thinner than Mel says.

Love this forum. I've learned a lot here. Thanks for sharing all your experiences.

Sandy

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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

I have grown bush beans at 9/sf and have been happy with them. Before I ever heard of SFG, I planted using wide rows spacing beans at about 3" in all directions.

I think there are a few things people have found do better with a bit more space, maybe broccoli & cabbage I think? I'm sure others will chime in with their experiences.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tales of a Transplanted Gardener

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 1:31PM
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gardener_mary(6 MA)

I've grown pole beans at 8 to a sq ft for many years with great results. I grow tomatoes 1 to a sq ft, pinched to 1-2 main stems and trained up a string.

Good gardening, Mary

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 4:13PM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

I grow everything according to Mel's spacing except for tomatoes, which I give the same space but allow to spread out and blend together.

Pole beans do very well at Mel's spacing. Bush beans were a disappointment, though maybe not due to crowding. They didn't germinate well either.

As for Mel's spacing working or not, just check last year's spring and summer blog posts to see my first attempt at gardening anything. Of course, there are 100 ways to grow a tomato, so to each their own.

Good luck and enjoy your garden!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 4:41PM
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knittlin(8b)

I grew pinto beans about four inches apart one year (I broadcast the seed across the raised bed, so some were about three inches apart) and they did marvelously! They acted as their own living mulch, shading almost all the weeds out and keeping the soil from drying out (things were so moist in there that some beans I missed in picking sprouted in their hulls!). I got more beans from that bed than I ever harvested from a same sized bed planted conventionally spaced.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 4:48PM
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worldofyardcraft

I've had success with the pea/bean spacing for pole and bush :) Broc and cauli are 1 per sq ft.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2009 at 8:27PM
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bsntech(5b)

Have you had good luck with the broccoli and cauliflower spaced 12 inches apart?

The bed I am setting up is 20 ft x 4 ft. I plan to put bush beans around the perimeter at 6 inches apart, and then put broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, and lettuce in the center of the bed - with 18" between all - but 8" between the lettuce. This gives enough room for 80 green beans, 12 lettuce, and 8 each of broccoli, cauliflower, and pepper.

Since others believe that spacing even 3 - 4" apart for bush beans works, I might try to space 4" apart - if I do that, it will allow me to plant 96 beans instead of 80.

I plan to freeze a lot of the stuff this year so we'll have some over the winter time as well.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:29AM
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bsntech(5b)

Woops, my math was off for the beans. It would be 96 beans at 5" apart, but 120 beans at 4" apart.

I would think giving the broccoli and cauliflower spaced only 12" apart would create some crowding problems. When I would grow broccoli by itself, it seemed to take up about a 2 square foot area - which is why I plan to use 18" - a "happy medium" between the 12" from Mel and 24" I've witnessed.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:37AM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

It is tight at 1/SF for broccolu and cauliflower, but I did it last year and it worked. Mostly I had a problem with the broccoli growing sideways out of the bed to get out of the cauliflower's shadow. This year, the broccoli goes in front.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:41AM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

I had good initial results of growing brocolli and cauliflower. But, my mistake was that I put them all in one box. So, I had 16 brocolli plants in one box. The problem came with the bugs...planting them like that was the equivalent of making my brocolli patch an airport landing for pests....I never did it like that again, but, it does work when you put one here, another there...etc...

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 3:56PM
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mcav0y(z3/4 Anchorage)

The biggest issue that I have had with broccoli at 1/sqft is the shading of other veggies. Last year I put them in the "back row" of my square gardens and it worked well. I also pruned leaves that were overstepping their area into other's light and braised them like collard greens or chard.

I am always surprised, but the tight spacing of onions and carrots and bush beans work really well.

When trellising, I have trouble putting the seeds in the middle of the square, they have to get so long to reach the trellis. I tend to plant them closer to the edge of the garden.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 4:06PM
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flatlander(z6KS)

Snibb said "The problem came with the bugs...planting them like that was the equivalent of making my brocolli patch an airport landing for pests....I never did it like that again, but, it does work when you put one here, another there...etc..."

Row covers will keep the bugs (especially the lopers) off the brocolli.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 1:56PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

Your probably right...Im just too lazy to go out there and put that stuff down..I wonder if that was my problem. All my leaves were eaten..does that sound like what it was?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 3:56PM
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flatlander(z6KS)

Most likely. The eggs are layed by a pretty little white butterfly and within days, the loper worms are all over the plants. They especially like cole crops, like broccoli and brussel sprouts. I set out some seedlings to harden off last summer and within a few days they were eaten down to nothing. The butterflies sure are pretty though.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2009 at 4:12PM
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bdobs(8b or 9 SF Bay Area)

Glad to hear the positive comments about the bean/pea spacing.
I just planted 9 squares of bush beans and snap peas and was thinkig "Damn this is a lot of seeds in a small space" :-)

I plant my Tomatoes on the south trellested end of my box, two in a 1x4' area and it works great

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 1:11PM
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