University of Illinois Extension

Gardening FUNdamentals

You Are the Ruler - Gardening Measuring

Our hands and feet are useful for measuring in the garden. Because each of us is different, find out how your finger and feet compare to numbers on a ruler!

Planting Depth
To find the planting depth for seeds use your index finger.

First measure from the tip of your finger to the first joint. How long is it?

_____________ inches

Next measure from the tip of your finger to the second joint. How long is it?

_____________ inches

Then measure the length of your index finger. How long is it?

_____________ inches

The pictures below show an example of how to use your finger to find three different planting depths.


Distance Between Seeds
Use your fingers to measure how far apart seeds should be.

First measure the width of your index and middle finger. How wide is it?

_____________ inches

Then how wide are your three middle fingers?

_____________ inches

And how wide are your four fingers?

_____________ inches

Next how far can you reach from your thumb to your index finger?

_____________ inches

And how far can you reach from your thumb to your little finger?

_____________ inches

Distance Between Rows
Use your feet to measure how far apart you want your garden rows.

Place your shoe beside a yardstick or ruler to measure how long it is. How long is it?

_____________ inches

How long would two shoes be?

_____________ inches

How long would three shoes be?

_____________ inches

Length of Rows
To decide how long you want to make your garden rows or the garden, step it off.

Begin by measuring how long your step is. Measure from the heel on one foot to the toe on your other foot. How long is your step?

_____________ inches

Then use this measurement to figure the length of your garden rows.

If your step is 2 feet, then 2 1/2 of your steps equals 5 feet.

How many steps would it be for you to measure a row that you want 5 feet long? Or 10 feet long?

Now you can use these body measurements to space your seeds properly, plant seeds at the proper depth, space the rows apart and have the proper length.

Alert: Making Pesticide Applications in School/Community Gardens

You Are the Ruler - Garden Measuring
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