Square Foot Gardening Planting Numbers

Square Foot Gardening (SQF) is a method that makes planning and planting your garden way easier. Mel Bartholomew, who came up with the idea, has determined how many seeds or plants can be planted in one square foot of space.

Using rope, string, sticks, or by drawing lines in the dirt, and a measuring tape or ruler, divide the area you want to plant into a grid of square feet. In the image below, each square = one square foot.

Now, decide what you want to plant. Use the list, below, to determine how many seeds or plants per square. For example, if you want to plant bush beans, plant 9 bean seeds in one square. A tomato plant = one per square.

Scroll to the bottom to see an example of a completed SQF map. You can download a blank map here.

The Seed Planting “Rule”

Don’t forget the seed “rule”: only plant seeds as deep as they are big. Small seeds get sprinkled on the surface and covered lightly with soil; larger seeds like beans and squash are planted in a larger hole (about as deep as the first knuckle on your index finger).

Consider the height of your plants when planting

If possible, plant your tallest plants (e.g., tomatoes, pole beans, squash plants trained on a trellis) at the north side of your garden plot or bed. Shorter plants should be at the front, or south side. That way shadows from the taller plants won’t fall on the shorter plants.

Square Foot Gardening Numbers (Vegetables)

Arugula: 4 per SQF (or sprinkle seeds)
Asparagus: 1 per SQF
Beans (Bush): 9 per SQF
Beans (Pole): 8 per SQF
Beets: 9 per SQF
Broccoli: 1 per SQF
Cabbage: 1 per SQF
Carrots: 16 per SQF (or sprinkle seeds)
Cauliflower: 1 per SQF
Celery: 4 per SQF
Corn: 4 per SQF
Cucumbers: 2 per SQF
Eggplant: 1 per SQF
Garlic: 4-5 per SQF for large varieties/9 per SQF for small varieties
Greens: (e.g., collard, mustard greens, spicy mixes), 4 per SQF (or sprinkle seeds)
Kale: 4 per SQF (or sprinkle seeds)
Leeks: 4 per SQF for large varieties/9 per SQF for small varieties
Lettuce: 4 per SQF (or sprinkle seeds)
Melons: 2 SQF per plant
Okra: 1 per SQF
Onions: 16 per SQF (I have better success with 9 per SQF)
Peas: 8 per SQF
Peppers: 1 per SQF
Potatoes: 1 per SQF
Quinoa: 4 per SQF
Pumpkins: 2 SQF per plant
Radishes: 16 per SQF
Rutabaga: 4 per SQF
Scallions: 16 per SQF
Spinach: 9 per SQF
Strawberry: 4 per SQF (some people say only 1 per SQF; 2 seems to be a good number)
Summer Squash: 2 SQF per plant
Sweet Potatoes: 2 per SQF
Swiss Chard: 4 per SQF
Tomatoes: 1-2 per SQF (4 plants in one row can get a bit crowded–3 plants works better if you have enough space)
Turnips: 9 per SQF
Winter Squash: 2 SQF per plant
Zucchini: 2 SQF per plant

Herbs and Flowers

Basil: 4
Bachelor Buttons: 2 per SQF
Calendula: 1-4
Chives: 9 seeds or 1 plant
Cilantro: 9
Dill: 4 or sprinkle seeds
Fennel: 4
Marjoram: 4 per SQF
Mint: 1 per SQF
Oregano: 4
Parsley: 4
Rosemary: 1
Sage: 2-4
Savory: 1 per SQF
Sunflower: 1 per SQF
Tarragon: 2
Thyme: 4

If you can’t find your plant on this list, look on the seed packet for the plant spacing (ignore the row spacing!). If the spacing is:
3” apart (or something smaller), plant 16 per square foot
4” apart, plant 9 per square foot
6” apart, plant 4 per square foot
12” apart, plant 1 per square foot

Sample Map