Julie Rae
Julie Rae
  • Hometalker
  • Greensboro, NC
Asked on Jun 19, 2013

To pack, or to space, that is the question...

Catherine SmithDouglas HuntJulie Rae
+3

Answered

Seed packets and planting charts tell us to space our seeds or seedlings with a certain spacing in between. I have read on some info sites that it's best to reduce this space slightly to help deter weeds and reduce need for water. And then, I have also read about packing your plants close together (for the same reason), but with minimal space between plants. I assumed the spacing was to provide the plants with a minimum of nutrients and water needed for their development. Now that my garden has grown up a little bit, I have some spots where plants didn't thrive as well, and I have large patches where little or nothing is growing. I wonder if, in the future, I can 'pack' certain kinds of plants together (maybe tubers with vines?) (or maybe lettuce doesn't care if it's crowded?). I need advice.
6 answers
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Jun 20, 2013

    The thought that comes to my mind is the consideration of air flow. If you pack plants too close together air flow is restricted. This can cause all sorts of problems with bugs and fungus. In our greenhouses we strive to give each plant their own space so they are not touched by another plant. If plants are too close together they compete for sun and well....space, making the plants weak and spindly. I like a full landscape and am all about using space efficiently in the garden but am not sure 'packing' them in is a great idea.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 20, 2013

    I'm with Donna. There's a fine line between lush and overcrowded, and the latter can bring on a host of problems.

  • Catherine Smith
    on Jun 21, 2013

    Agree with Douglas and Donna. But you can go back in an replant additional crops in your bare areas. For example, and additional crop of lettuce by and under a taller growing plant, will help shade the lettuce for longer growth period, etc.

  • Julie Rae
    on Jun 21, 2013

    So, Catherine Smith mentioned something that I'm curious about. So if my watermelon plants are supposed to be 3' apart, let's say, could I plant a different crop --- like lettuce -- within that three feet? I'm just using this example off the cuff, not specifically. There is a tier in my garden that I've transplanted some of the bean and pea plants, but they do not seem to be doing very well I put in a few pepper plants in some of the bare areas; I'm wondering if I should scrap those bean and peas and start something else in that tier. I have heard that you can grow lettuce under peas and beans; this is good information, but this doesn't apply to my space this season. Thanks for your help everyone!

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 22, 2013

    If it says the plants should be 3 feet apart, that means there should be 3 feet before the next plant of any type. (Obviously this doesn't apply to trees or large shrubs where the may be room to plant "shoes and socks" plants underneath them.)

  • Catherine Smith
    on Jun 22, 2013

    Agree with Douglas, you need to consider what plants you have planted in the area, melons, squash, etc. are sprawler and you need to keep that in mind. I'm not sure we're talking about the same kind of extra "space" here. As for "transplanting" peas and beans, that may be your problem, since neither of those like being "transplanted" that may be why their not doing so well. I would also suggest you contact your local extension office, talk to your local agent and or the Master Gardeners who can help you with this question.

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