Thinning Your Vegetable Garden

For plants which have been direct seeded into your backyard, you might find that once the seedlings have started to appear, you will need to thin them. This is particularly true for root crops, as well as crops that have delicate root systems.

This section of the garden chores need to be done after the plants are large enough to pull out of the backyard, and before they start to show the effects of crowding in the backyard.

When you are deciding which crops to thin, you need to bear in mind not only keeping the most healthy crops, but also maintaining proper spacing. Failure to properly thin your backyard will usually result in an inferior crop, or one which doesn’t produce to its potential.

Some anglers are reluctant to thin their crops, and often put it off until it’s too late. Thinnings of carrots, onions and other similar vegetables are often postponed, as the gardener expects to use the thinnings, as opposed to simply tossing them on the compost heap. Unfortunately this is generally a bad idea. Overcrowded plants take longer to reach maturity, and as they get bigger, the removal of one plant is more likely to disturb its neighbors.

A much better solution is to lean in two phases. In second stage thinning, you can then extract about every other plant as soon as they reach edible size.

Parsnips, salsify and other root plants should be thinned after, and to their full distance.

Snip the tops of the plants to be sacrificed. The soil around the plants you need to keep will stay undisturbed, but by taking away the leaf structure, you stop the growth of the undesirable plants.

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