Planting Board: A Very Handy Tool

This handy guide is a snap to make and makes spacing plants a breeze

A tool I’ve seen in use for years on The Victory Garden television show is the planting board, similar to the one pictured. I always thought that would be a handy gardening tool, but it took me almost three years and hundreds of seedlings and thousands of seeds before finally getting around to making one of my own.

Now that I have made one, I can’t believe I ever lived without this tool. I use this planting board virtually every time I plant something new in my vegetable garden beds. I even used it recently to plant my rows of corn. This is a handy tool that every gardener should have if they plan on ever sowing seeds again, or laying out seedlings in an evenly spaced row.

There are several advantages to using this planting board. First, it provides an easy way to level the soil in the bed. I use the smooth side and just move it across the soil, using the bed edges as my surface guide. I let the excess soil fall off the sides, but you could collect it as well and return it to another part of your garden or beds.

Next, the planting board is a convenient way to make shallow furrows in the soil. Simply place the smooth end into the soil and apply some pressure as you slide it back and forth. The depth of the row is simply a result of how much pressure you apply to the soil.

Then, by virtue of the notches and markings, spacing vegetable seeds or transplants is a snap. Simply plant your seedlings or sow your seeds at the desired spacing, cover, and you’re finished. If you need to come back later and thin out your plants, the board makes it easy to get the exact spacing you want.

Vary the depth of the “V” for 6″ and 12″ markings


Making this tool is easy. I purchased a 1 x 4 board, and decided on a six-foot length which I’ve found works well. You can use whatever type of wood you desire. I made marks in my board with a permanent marker every three inches. At the six-inch and 12 inch marks, I made “V” shaped cuts using a jigsaw and straight edge. The six-inch marks were an inch deep and the 12” marks were 1½ inches deep. This gives a quick visual as you sow or plant.

That is all there was to it. The entire job took less than 30 minutes and I love my new gardening tool. For a couple of dollars and just a few minutes, I now have a planting board that I’ll use often for years to come. Do yourself a favor and make one too. Just don’t wait as long to do it as I did!


Joe Lamp'l is the Host and Executive Producer of the award winning PBS television series Growing A Greener World. Off camera, Joe dedicates his time to promoting sustainability through his popular books, Compost Confidential blog, podcast series, and nationally syndicated newspaper columns. Follow Joe on Twitter

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  1. says

    I go to my computer for hours after watching every show for you tips, ideas and recipes! The planting tool was a hah, haa moment! Thanks for your wonder shows, God bless you and keep up the great work! Cathy

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