The benefits of 'thinning' out your harvest.
So you’ve carefully sown out your seeds using our #GrowwithVegepod Growing Grid, but what next? Once seedlings start to appear, most plants will benefit from some space, to give them the best chance of thriving. That’s where ‘thinning’ comes in. Thinning out your plants is particularly important if you have used a broadcast or drill sowing method, whereby you purposely plant out more seeds than you need to.
Why should we thin our plants?
Thinning your plants out will make sure that they are growing in the correct place, as well as ensuring that your seedlings are situated at an optimum distance from each other. This means that as the plants develop and mature, they won’t start to compete for all-important sunlight, water or nutrients. It’s best to check the ideal spacing for each different plant on the seed packet, as it can vary.
Pic: This Vegepod planted at the start of summer now requires thinning to ensure maximum harvests and all crop success.
How do we thin out plants?
When we sow out our seeds, we generally sow too many on purpose. This is because we know that not all of them will go on to germinate, but it will still guarantee a good yield. So as your seedlings grow and develop, you will probably wish to remove some of them by hand.
Pic: Thinning cut and come again salad leaves using scissors. Thin at the point the leaves begin and you should reap multiple harvests during the season.
The best way to thin out is to do it bit by bit. If you have planted anything with edible leaves – such as salads and peas – once the seedlings have grown their first ‘true’ leaves, you can remove those growing in the wrong place. We think it’s a great idea to use these thinnings as micro greens, as they’re perfect for adding to salads or stir fries, from the very beginning of the growing season. The plants remaining in the ground will then have enough room to grow on to reach their full size, ready to be harvested later on in the season.
Pic: The bottom half of this Vegepod has been thinned out of cut and come again salad leaves around the outside. They will grow back within a few weeks, giving multiple harvests over Spring.
Growing Tip: If you're following our #GrowwithVegepod Growing Grid, now is the time to be thinning the cut and come again salad leaves planted in the outside border. Trim them at the spot where the leaves start, they will grow again and you should get a good 2-3 harvests. The other benefit is that by thinning those outside plants, the inside rows of carrots, coriander and rainbow chard will get some much needed sunlight which they have likely been fighting for.