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Give ‘em Room to Grow – Thinning Vegetables

A tangle of carrots, ill-formed beets, and non-existent radish roots mean it’s time to add thinning to your gardening list.

I think thinning, removing the excess flowers and vegetable seedlings to their proper spacing, is one of the hardest jobs. Gardeners hate wasting plants or worse yet moving them to their next phase of life – the compost pile.

So let’s try thinking of thinning plants in a new way.  For some vegetables it can be considered an early harvest.  Use the sprouts and greens of beets, turnips, and radishes in salads or on sandwiches.  These seedlings pack lots of nutrition in a small package.

Try getting the family involved.  More hands make the job go faster and often lead to good conversation, laughter, or group whining. 

Consider thinning, weeding, and other gardening activities as a form of meditation.  As you focus on the task you soon find the cares and stresses of life often melt away.

 A bit more information:  Avoid overplanting and reduce the need to thin flower and vegetable seedlings.  Mix fine seeds with sand to separate fine seeds and make sowing seeds easier.  Purchase pelleted seeds coated with a biodegradable covering to increase the seed size for easier planting.  Purchase or make your own seed tapes.

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Ixonia, WI

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