How to space your vegetables for planting

Alan Titchmarsh gives advice on storing vegetables in 2013

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Gardeners interested in growing a bumper crop of vegetables this summer should start now. Spring and early summer present an ideal combination of conditions for cultivation. But budding harvesters will need to treat their crops with care, as some simple details, such as spacing, can ruin the whole process.

How to space vegetables for planting

Vegetables, like all other plants, rely on a root system to grow before harvest.

They also require appropriate depth to germinate as well, as otherwise, they risk exposure to insects or birds.

Roots grow around the plant’s vicinity and reach out and find nutrients and water, for which they need appropriate space.

Otherwise, they risk competing for resources, which could cause a significant variation in sizes.

Competition also leaves them more open to disease and ultimately attracts more insects.

The solution is to space vegetables both by lines and rows in the garden.

But some vegetables require more space than others.

Here are the spacing requirements for the top easy-to-grow garden crops:

Spinach: Three to five inches apart, eight to ten-inch rows

Radish: One inch between plants, four between rows

Potatoes: 12 inches apart, three between rows

Parsnips: Three to four inches apart, 18 inches between rows

Swiss chard: Eight to ten inches apart, 18 to 24-inch rows

Broad beans: Two to three inches apart, 24-inch rows

Pumpkins: Nests with two to three seeds and four inches between rows

Onions: Four inches apart, 10 to 12-inch rows

Tomatoes: 18 to 24 inches apart, 24 to 36-inch rows

Beetroot: Four to six inches apart, 12 inches between rows

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Once people get the hang of spacing their plants, they can get creative.

They can add a fun angle to the process by planting different plants in patterns.

Over time, they will eventually learn to grow and manage more diverse (or just more) plants.

Ultimately, however, people will only know if they’re successful or not when the plants grow to maturity in warmer weather.

If gardeners find they accidentally crammed the soil, there is still time to correct their mistake.

They can move germinating seeds to areas where others weren’t so lucky.

If this is not the case, people can eat some common garden crops early.

Chard, kale and carrots are all edible before full maturity.

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