planted veggies too close

nocluescarlett(6)June 2, 2009

I am a novice gardener and in my second year of planting a small vegetable garden. Last year I planted everything WAY too close together and had a huge mess when the plants reached full size. This year I made more space and planted further apart, but it's been two weeks and I can tell I've planted too close together again.

My question is, would it be less harmful to the plants to let them grow in crowded, or move them now while they are still kind of small? A few of the plants didn't look very good after I planted them the first time, I chalked that up to transplant shock. Everything looks pretty good now with excpetion of the zucchini, that still looks like it's struggling a little - which surprises me because that was my heartiest plant last year - those things went crazy!

The plants I was thinking of moving are tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers and summer squash. I wasn't going to move them far, just dig out the garden a little more and spread them out.

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jimster(z7a MA)

Those things should transplant well, especially if transplanting is followed by a day or two of cloudy weather.

Replant the tomatoes deeply. They will put out roots all along the buried part of the stem.

It's not too late to direct seed more cucumbers and squash if you wish, either as replacements or back ups for the ones you have.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 2:21PM
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dave_f1 SC, USDA Zone 8a(7b)

It would help if you told us your exact spacing for each of the types of veggies. Maybe they're ok to leave be. I personally wouldn't move anything that's been in the garden for 2 weeks or more. Maybe if 1 or 2 days. It's fine to plant more seed of melons, cucs, and squash now or put in more transplants of the others at a wider spacing if you want to compare. I'm sure you'll get alot of different opinions on the best spacing for these. And it also depends on alot of things like variety, climate, training practices, etc. For example, tomatoes grown in cages probably should be spread out a few feet, but can be staked and pruned to grow 18" apart or so. Dave

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 2:51PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

noclue, it's never too late to do some homework. Your Cornell Extension service has a great web site, with all kinds of vegetable gardening information. You'll increase your chances of success this year AND for years to come if you educate yourself a bit about the how's, why's, when's, do's and don't's of veggie gardening.

I've attached a quick link to their guides for growing many veggies.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click here!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 2:57PM
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also check out the Square-Foot Gardening forum. You'd be surprised how up-close-and-personal you can get with some things. They have a 'recommended spacings' chart in the's a link to that.

Here is a link that might be useful: Recommended spacings for Square Foot Gardening

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 4:30PM
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tedln(7 Texas)

I have always purposely planted my garden crowded. I plant in four 4' X 8' raised beds. That is a total garden space of about 120 sq. feet or a normal garden 10' wide and 12' long. In that area I am growing the following this year.

24 Better Boy tomato plants
8 Juliet tomato plants ( as well as a few volunteer tomato plants from last years crop)
9 jalapeno pepper plants
9 yellow sweet banana pepper plants
13 bell pepper plants
45 Burpee Pic & Pic yellow crook neck squash plants
12 Burpee Early Pride cucumber plants
12 Burpee Sweet Hybrid cucumber plants
1 pack of stringless green beans ( supposedly enough to produce 30 lbs of beans.)
1 pack of carrot seed/plants
1 pack of lettuce seed /plants
2 Asian long green eggplant plants
120 Texas A&M 1015 sweet onions.

My observations have been that plants don't mind being crowded as long as they receive the needed nutrients and moisture. You just have to learn which plants are compatible with each other.

For me, the denser planting provides shading for some plants which have difficulty with to much direct sun. It protects some fruits from the inquiring eye of predatory birds and other animals.

The drawbacks are the fact that it is more difficult to harvest. (if you can't see it, you can't pick it.) Humidity stays higher in the denser growth promoting fungus and mildew growth.

All of my plants are doing very well with a strong harvest of squash, onions, lettuce, and cucumbers so far. The tomatoes and green beans are about one week away from harvest (I have some of the largest tomatoes I've ever grown well protected down in the thick growth). The pepper plants are loaded with small peppers which I could start picking tomorrow, but will probably wait another week.

The only point I'm trying to make is the fact that you can grow a lot in a very small space if properly planted. I have five acres of land, but I plant this way because I enjoy it.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 6:34PM
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jessicavanderhoff(7 Md)

You are an urban gardener's idol! Care to share your layout?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 8:14PM
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dirtydan(8-9 Lancaster, CA)

Thats amazing Ted! Care to upload some photos?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 9:08PM
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tedln(7 Texas)

I'll take a couple of photos tomorrow and post them.


    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 12:36AM
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tedln(7 Texas)

I have the photos requested of my raised bed garden. I will post them on a new thread titled "My raised bed garden"


    Bookmark   June 3, 2009 at 12:06PM
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Thanks everyone for the great input! I have not moved anything yet, but I may move a couple things - my broccoli and eggplant are only about 5 inches apart! I guess we'll see how much more room I can make before they get too big to move.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 6:01PM
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heather38(6a E,Coast)

I would guess that the eggplant may shade the broccoli and as B can't go on to long in the heat of summer it will make room for the eggplant? not sure! but that is the theory I am using on my toms and peas! and I can only learn from it, I have culled many plants in my learning curve, but because I discovered SQ foot gardening after I had only planted lettice and thinking this is a big waste of seeds, I have most of my packets left, not too much thinning either, but like you I'm oh whoops, its hard for us newbees to really understand how big some stuff gets! I am okay with cabbage, broccoli ect, but something new to me is eggplant, no idea how big they get, and tomatoes, I am living in fear! the size of trellis and cages which I have never heard of before, because I am from the UK and our (well mine and my families) never got that big! but produced well. and a planted 1 howden pumpkin for the fun of it, and although I know how big a pumpkin is...I hadn't made that leap to how big the plant would be, its amazing, how quick it grows and I didn't know it had the grippy "yes I can do the technical stuff as well :) ) things like peas, which I planted them next to and they are fast friends now! another whoops!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 9:15PM
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