To optimize square foot garden spacing of plants here are a few ideas to keep in mind. If you are gardening outside you should think about vining and climbing plants and how then will be handled. I like to setup square foot gardens near a fence or with a trellis on the north side. That way you can plant climbing plants on the edge of your square foot garden next to the fence or trellis. Vining plants like cucumber I also like to plant on an edge where they can run out of the square foot garden and into the yard. That way, climbing and vining plants don’t take over your entire square foot garden space. Even if you plant climbing and vining plants on the edges you will have to train them by tying them to the trellis or trimming back the parts that grow into the middle of your square foot garden.
Your square foot garden spacing should also take into account the direction of sunlight. If you put tall plants or your trellis on the south side of the garden (for people in the Northern Hemisphere) they will shade all of your other plants which would be terrible in most cases.
Each plant then needs proper square foot garden spacing. It is worth mentioning, that square foot gardens work perfectly as a school garden.
Square Foot Garden Spacing – Climbers on your fence or trellis
Beans - Plant 4 to 6 inches apart next to your trellis or fence probably on the north side of your square foot garden facing south to give full sun.
Peas – Plant 8 inches apart peas will climb up your fence or trellis but need training sometimes.
Tomatoes – Plant 2 feet to 5 feet apart depending on variety. Plant along fence or trellis or in their own tomato cage or tied to spikes. Tomatoes do not cling to fences on their own so must be tied on loosely with string to support for them to stand up correctly. Make sure your square foot garden spacing of tomatoes is designed to not shade your other plants as tomato plants can get large. It usually helps to trim back the tomatoes as well.
Square Foot Garden Spacing – Vining plants to put on the edge
Cucumbers – Plant cucumbers 2 feet or more apart. Trimming your cucumbers will definitely improve your square foot garden spacing. Plant them on the edge where they can over run. A cucumber vine could run 50 feet or more. So, send it out of your square foot garden. One method is to trim your cucumber to one main vine instead of letting it sprawl. Cucumber plants will grab onto other plants to grow in that direction. You don’t want your cucumber to take over.
Squash – Plant 2 feet apart or more. Squash plants don’t really vine but they have huge leaves and take up a lot of space and shade other plants. That’s why I keep squash plants on the edge in my square foot garden spacing. That way I can trim them down. Also, don’t put squash on the south edge where they will shade everything. I like to put them on the east and west edges and force them to grow over the edge of the square foot garden.
Cantaloupe and Watermelon - Follow the advice for Cucumbers for Cantaloupe and Watermelon. They act very similar.
For planting in a myGroFarm Deluxe inside we do not recommend vining plants but you can have a few climbing plants on the trellis. The key is to trim them regularly so they do not overtake your whole myGroFarm Deluxe.
This guide for square foot garden spacing applies to myGroFarm Deluxe and myGroFarm Classic when planting outdoors. You can let the vining plants “jump” the edge of your myGroFarm and grow out onto your yard, patio, or balcony. This advice really works for gardens at high school or any other school. I recommend using the square foot garden method for any student garden because it give you a great yield in a controlled space and you start with good soil so the success rate goes way up.
Check back often, we will be adding more information on myGroFarm.com to optimize your square foot garden spacing.