Thinning Your Plants

Thinning plants in the garden

These are the onions I thinned from my garden.

I just got back from the school garden.  My primary reason for walking over was to spend 20 minutes pulling weeds from between my onion plants. As I was finishing up it occurred to me that those onions were never going to grow to full size planted like they are.  It’s a long story, but I didn’t plant them.  They were planted in groups of 3 and 4.  Looking back on it, I would have planted them each separately.  Because they were planted several in each hole, each onion bulb didn’t have room to become a big beautiful onion.  As much as it killed me, I had to pull some out prematurely so that the others would have room to grow larger.

When we plant seeds, we are instructed to put a couple of seeds in each whole.  I think the reason for this is that not all seeds sprout.  When more than one does, you have to thin.

As a new gardener thrilled with things sprouting in your garden, the thought of thinning goes against everything you want to do.  You’ve planted seeds, then you look at them daily, sometimes hourly waiting for them to sprout.  Pulling out those precious sprouts just seems wrong.

Do it anyway.

If you don’t thin your plants, they simply won’t have the room and the soil resources to grow the way they’re supposed to.  I’m all for making the best use of the garden space you have, but don’t compromise your plants by overcrowding.

Also, depending on what you’re thinning, you can actually go ahead and use what you’ve thinned.  The picture above are the onions I thinned.  I’ll certainly be using them!  Baby potatoes, baby spinach, baby carrots…you can use them all.

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