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Calculate How Many Vegetables to Plant

By: Marisa Reyes
Planning to have a vegetable garden this year? Use this handy chart to figure out how many plants you will need so your whole family can enjoy the homegrown bounty.

Vegetable garden: A vegetable garden can be a great way to provide healthy produce for your family.

Figure out how many vegetables to plant

When I first started vegetable gardening, I would sow every single seed in the envelope and plant every seedling in the pack, take care of hundreds of my growing babies and struggle with letting any of them go. Oversowing and overplanting left me with more produce than I could handle and sometimes weird-looking, stunted crops that were growing too close together. There was no way everything that germinated would fit in my garden, but watching those little seeds sprout and turn into plants was a treat in itself.

Adjust to your vegetable garden needs

Every year of experience with a vegetable garden helps you decide what to do the following year, but if you’re not sure if you’re planting enough or too much of a particular crop, start with the helpful chart below. It’ll help you decide whether to start with seeds or plants, how many to put in, and whether (and how much) to thin. If you’re getting started with vegetable gardening, this will help you mix and match your favorite crops into the space you have. These suggestions are based on fresh eating for a single person or a family of four, for four or five meals. You may decide you want to eat more than that, but it’s a starting point. If you’d like to freeze, can or pickle, decide how many meals you’d like to eat throughout the year and adjust accordingly.

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How many vegetable to plant for a family

In general, multiply the number of plants per person by 3 or 4 for a family-sized planting. We’ve done the work for you in adjusting the numbers of these plants in the chart so at harvest you aren’t overwhelmed with too many delicious veggies. Keeping a garden journal from year to year will help you track which crops you had more or less than needed so you can better plan for future growing seasons.

Vegetable crop Plants per 1 person Plants per 4 People Plant spacing Direct Sow Seeds Transplant Seedlings Comments
Asparagus 5 to 10 25 plants 12 to 18 in. X X It takes 2 to 3 years before harvest but can last up to a decade
Beans 10 to 15 40 to 45 Thin seedlings to 2 to 3 in. X Plant successive crops every two weeks for a continuous harvest; great for canning and pickling
Beets 10 to 12 40 to 48 Thin seedlings to 3 in. X Beets store well; plant in spring and fall for two harvests each year
Broccoli 1 to 2 4 to 6 15 in. X Every time you cut a head, more smaller ones will form
Cabbage 2 to 3 8 to 10 Thin seedlings to 9 to 12 in. X X Plant cabbage closer together for smaller heads
Carrots 20 to 30 80 to 90 Thin seedlings to 1 to 2 in. X Long shelf life; plant in spring and fall for multiple harvests
Celery 1 to 2 4 to 6 8 to 12 in. X Stronger taste than store bought; celery stalks will regrow after being cut
Corn 10 to 12 40 to 48 12 in. X Plant in blocks for best pollination
Cucumbers 1 to 2 3 to 4 Thin seedlings to 12 to 24 in. X X Plant 12 in. apart if using a trellis system and 24 in. apart if they’re rambling on the ground
Eggplant 2 to 3 4 to 6 38 in. X Each plant will produce about 8 to 20 well developed fruits depending on variety
Kale 4 to 5 16 to 20 12 in. X Sow seeds 3 in. apart and thin to 12 in. the seedlings can be enjoyed as microgreens!
Lettuce 4 to 6 16 to 24 Thin seedlings to 9 in. X X Stagger sowing for one head per week per person
Melons 1 to 2 2 to 4 24 in. X Plant two seeds per hole in mounds 24 inches apart
Onions 6 to 12 24 to 48 4 to 6 in. X Buy sets (individual bulbs) or plants (in bundles) and plant two per person, per week
Peas 15 to 20 60 to 80 Thin seedlings to 2 in. X X Grow peas on a trellis
Peppers 1 to 3 1 to 12 12 to 24 in. X Most hot peppers are prolific: one plant is enough for one or four people; for larger peppers, grow two to three plants per person
Potatoes 4 to 6 12 to 24 12 in. X Seed potatoes are tubers you plant in the ground; each plant will yield 1 lb. of potatoes
Radishes 10 to 15 60 4 to 6 in. X Enjoy radish seedlings as microgreens and are tasty on salads and sandwiches
Spinach 4 to 8 16 to 32 Thin seedlings to 3 to 6 in. X X Plant in spring and fall for two harvests a year
Squash (Summer & Winter) 1 to 2 2 to 4 Thin seedlings to 18 to 36 in. X X Plant summer squash 18 in. apart and larger plants of winter squash 36 in. apart
Tomatoes 1 to 4 1 to 16 12 to 24 in. X Cherries: Grow one per person; slicing: grow one to two per person; paste: grow three to four per person
Zucchini 1 to 2 4 36 in. X Flowers from zucchini plants are also edible, fry them up and give them a try for something new

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Published: March 12, 2018
Updated: Feb. 24, 2023
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Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work in the garden. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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