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June 26, 2013
Edible Garden -6

Overseeding (as pictured) can happen accidentally or could be a recommended practice if you are not sure how well your seeds will germinate. However it happens – it is important to go back through and thin once your seeds have successfully emerged. (photo credit: Paul g. Wiegman)

After the seeds are sown in your garden or container and the seedlings have begun to come up, it’s time for a step that can help your plants be the best they can be: thinning.

At this point of the summer, carrot and beet seedlings are probably getting a little crowded, especially if they were sown directly into the bed. It’s a good time to think about thinning the crop, if you haven’t already. Most seedlings will need to be thinned a couple of times before the plants are finished growing.

The reason for thinning is simple: plants need room to grow. When given the correct space, they have the chance to develop properly. The carrots will grow straight and long, and the beets and radishes will fill out into perfect round globes.

Thinning can start once the plants become established, or when seedlings have grown a couple of inches high. When seedlings are too close together to pull easily, scissors can be used to snip instead of pulling the plant. Be brutal, and pull anything that is spaced too close together! This will give the remaining plants enough space and reduce the competition for light, water and nutrients, so that they can grow into ideal form.

Carrots can grow well in a row, with each plant 2-4“ apart and the rows placed 5-6” apart. Beets like to be a little further apart, since they have a larger circumference. A spacing of about 4” is acceptable for beets, with the rows spaced 4-5” apart.

You will find that throughout the length of the crop, there will be seedlings that need to be thinned. The little bit of care and effort that you put into your veggies will pay off in the end.

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