Basics on How Many Seeds Are Needed for Gardening & Plant Spacing


In this video, I want to show how many seeds you need to buy for your garden, as well as how you figure out how to space them out when planting and finally I will show you how we plant and space out some basil seeds. These tips are really important to consider when we are gardening.

0:00 Saving Seeds
2:30 Spacing Seeds
6:29 Planting Seeds
8:32 Sharing Seeds with Community


Hi everyone, this is Lindsey. I’m here in the front of the urban farm and today I wanted to talk about something that I’ve gotten a couple questions about, and that is, how many seeds do you need to buy for your garden? How do you figure out how many seeds you need to purchase, how many seeds you’ll get from plants that you can then save for the next year? This is something that’s really important to consider when we are gardening.

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Most seeds in a seed packet will last multiple years. You always want to use the freshest seeds possible. This is why seed saving is a really amazing strategy, but seeds in seed packets, if you keep them in a dark sealed place, they will last multiple years. So you don’t need to worry about having excess seeds, but you never wanna over buy if you don’t have to. This is something that I like to think about here on the farm. We have a lot of different spaces. We have raised beds like these ones, as well as more open areas that can fit a lot of different plants. I like to think about it in terms of spacing. So whenever I’m buying seeds, you can either tell from the packet or if you’re buying them online, all the seeds on the back will have a stamp here that tells you how many seeds.

So for this basil packet, it says that there are a minimum of 35 seeds, and for this lettuce packet it says a minimum of 250 seeds. So this is a minimum of 250 heads of lettuce we can get out of this single packet of seeds, which is kind of crazy if you think about it. This is really great information. Also, keep in mind that you might not have a hundred percent germination, so you can find the germination rate on a lot of seed packets, but if not, just assume that you’re not always gonna have a hundred percent germination. But this is a really great idea is to always check how many seeds come in your seed packet. That’ll give you a place to start.

The next thing I like to think about and one of my general tips is to just think about your space. Think about how things will fit inside of it. If you’ve grown crops before or if you’ve seen them in the grocery store, you often know how big they can be, then you can use that to visualize how they will fit in your space.

Next to me here I have kohlrabi, which is a bulb vegetable. So first it greens out like this, and then here where you see this transition from green to purple, this will eventually bulb out and it’ll become a large bulb that sits above the ground and you eat the bulb part and it’s a starchy vegetable. You can use it similar to potatoes. So this is something that I like to grow, and when I’m seeding it, I just keep in mind that each of these is going to create about a tennis ball sized bulb. So then I use that as my spacing for the seeds. I don’t need to do anything too scientific. I don’t need to get out my tape measurer. And a lot of times it’ll say on the seed packet how much you need to spread them apart.

This plant spacing for this lettuce says eight inches apart. But if you are in the garden and you don’t want to be that scientific, just visualizing what your crop is gonna look like is a great way to space and you can always thin out.

So speaking of lettuce, I have lettuce in the front of this bed and I definitely plant it a lot closer than eight inches. Some of it has already been harvested, but you can see here this is about maybe five, six inches that I put between these. Lettuce is very easygoing. It will, it’ll just grow wherever and it’ll kind of just naturally bunch if it’s a little too close together. So lettuce isn’t something that I’m ever fearful about spacing too close together. You just kind of have to realize and be attentive because if you plant your plants too close together, they could be more susceptible to disease. And if one plant gets infected and it’s touching the other plant, but that’s just something to keep in mind that the spacing on a seed packet isn’t necessarily the rule. You kind of just have to be flexible and figure out what works for your garden. In terms of flexibility though, you also want to make sure that you’re giving everything the space it needs to get as big as it can.

For example, carrots in this bed, carrots are a crop that if they don’t have enough space, they’ll kind of stop growing or they’ll just be really skinny and spindly and that’s not what we want. So for carrots, I usually over seed and then thin out when they’re smaller than this.

So these ones have already been thinned out. I just thin them out based on visualization of how much space a carrot would need. Carrots grow straight down, but they do get a little bit bulky. So you just wanna make sure that they have that space. They need to get a little bit fatter. But thinning out is also a great strategy. I do this for radishes as well. Sometimes it’s just easier to pull one of the seedlings to make more space than it is to have a few radishes next to each other that aren’t as big as they should be. So my tip is to, for things like carrots that you know, germination is a little bit harder, I think is easier to just thin out after you see how they come up out of the ground.

I want to show you how I would plant some basil in this back area here. I have some baby lettuce going, but I’m just gonna make a line back here. And basil is a crop that you can either give it a lot of space and it’ll get really bushy and big, or you can keep it closer together and it’ll just form like a nice hedge. So you can see have some seeds there. And I’m not gonna be too crazy about making sure I just get one because basil will just grow nicely next to each other. And that’s it. And then I’m just going to cover it.

So I would say that knowing what’s going to fit in your garden is more about knowing your crops. You really need to know and get a good understanding of how things grow. And that’ll really help you visualize and ascertain how much you can fit in a certain area and what you don’t want to crowd and what you can crowd and get away with. So another thing that I often crowd is tomatoes. I grow them closer together than it’s usually suggested, but I find they do fine and two can go up the same tomato cage or trellis, and it’s usually not that big of a deal. I like this because it just is a way to get more out of the space that we have. And when you’re buying seeds, it’s important to remember that you can always save your seeds. So think of them as more of an investment. If you get more seeds the first year you’re starting to grow than you need, then you can always save seeds. And then maybe you don’t have to buy that seed next year or in the coming years.

There’s also a great opportunity to trade seeds. If you belong to local community groups or if you go on Facebook or some other kind of sharing community, you can easily share seeds or find free seed exchanging resources. And this is a great way to just get more seeds. And then you don’t have to worry about the cost or excess associated with getting too many seeds, but I always suggest get more than you think you need and then you can have them for the years to come. Because like I said, in a seed packet like this, these will be viable for at least a few years. So it’s a worthy investment and I hope this helps you decide and kind of start to learn the tools to visualize how many plants will fit in your garden.

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