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How many plants can I cram in?

Updated: Mar 19, 2023

Or, spatial relations revisited.

Been on the hunt for a program to help visualize how many plants of each variety will fit into each of the permanent planting beds - haven't found it yet. (Any programmers interested in developing an app that is desperately needed in a niche market, please get in touch!)

I did find this cool plant spacing calculator online which spits out the number of rows and how many plants you need in total, given the dimensions of the bed and chosen spacing.

Illustration of plant spacing

I know how many plants I have because I ordered/started a certain amount of seedlings. So, I need to work backwards and see how much space is needed for the total number of plants. Here goes:

At 5" spacing with a triangular pattern (see illustration above) in a 36" wide bed with a 2" unplanted border, we can plant 188 seedlings every 10', with 8 rows alternating 23 and 24 plants per row. I have ~500 sprouted ranunculus corms so I'll need about 25' of a 36" bed for them.

5 inch spacing is a bit tighter than we've done in the past for ranunculus. But I've definitely seen other flower farmers do closer spacing than what we do so I'm going to give it a try. [Edit: the calculator spaced the rows at 4.33", but a little math showed that we could actually go with 4.5" which is a lot easier to lay out.]

For reference, common spacings (10' in a 36" bed):

  • 4"- 295 plants; 10 rows, 3.5" apart, alternating 29 and 30 plants per row

  • 5" - 188 plants; 8 rows, 4.5" apart, alternating 23 and 24 plants per row

  • 6" - 137 plants; 7 rows, 5" apart, alternating 19 and 20 plants per row

  • 9" - 65 plants; 5 rows 8" apart, 13 per row

  • 12" - 30 plants; 3 rows 10" apart, 10 per row*

  • 18" - 13 plants; 2 rows 15.5" apart, alternating 7 and 6*

  • 24" - 10 plants; 2 rows, 20" apart, 5 per row*

* unplanted border = 4"

Next step: decide which varieties earn a spot inside the hoophouse. It's a pretty cutthroat competition!


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