Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a Hampshire garden. I've been growing veggies since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Some traditional varieties and old favourites as well as new ideas. I share my garden with my allotment assistant Daisy the Labrador. On Twitter as @MatronsVeggies

Monday, May 14, 2007

Thinning out

One of my least favourite tasks in the garden is "thinning out". As much as you try to sow seed thinly, they are usually too close together to be viable. Beetroot have a particular difficulty in this respect. When you have one beetroot seed, you actually have about 3 or 4 stuck together in a corky cluster. So when a beetroot seed germinates you will usually have a little group of seedlings all coming up together. There is however, a very new variety called "solo" which is a monogerm variety, there being only one seed per seed.

Looking back on my blog dates, I sowed these beetroot on April 15th, so they are about a month old. The weather yesterday was perfect for thinning out, so in the afternoon when it was wet and dismal, I thinned out my beetroot. When I say that thinning out is one of my least favourite tasks, this is because it seems such a waste to pick out perfectly healthy seedlings and toss them on to the compost heap - because each little seedling is a potential beetroot! What I did yesterday was to transplant some of the plants further up the row where germination had been poor. I usually space them between 3" and 5" apart depending on how big you want them to grow. Apparently you can also eat the leaves like spinach. I have never tried this - usually because I grow loads anyway. Has anyone eaten beetroot leaves and survived??


At 7:07 PM, Blogger Ashleigh said...

Thought you might like to see this about growing beetroot. The leaves look wonderful to eat!

At 7:23 PM, Blogger Matron said...

That's a wonderful blog, thank you. I will try to put a link to mine.

At 2:03 PM, Blogger RobD said...

Yes you can eat the leaves. We are eating baby leaf beetroot leaves at the moment, although these are just grown for the leaves with a number of other salad leaves.

Thinning out always seems like such a waste of the plants, but if you can at least eat the leaves it's not so bad I guess!

At 11:45 PM, Blogger Lynn said...

Hi Matron ~ nice to meet you ~ thanks for stopping by blog site. I feel the same way about thinning out. I've been using square foot gardening methods for several years now. Each vegetable has specific spacing requirements and you plant one seed at a time.

I've never known about planting parsnips!! Thank you for the lesson :) We love them and will certainly give them a try again. I wondered why they never grew for us.


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