Thinning Vegetables 2
Thinning vegetables in the garden is a chore that lasts for most of the growing season.
As the plants grow, there is a continued need to give them space. In the beginning, it can be difficult to take the smaller plant especially when looking for something to put in the cooking pot. However, the little guys will never get to be as big as the bigger ones so it’s imperative to thin out the spindly ones.
Again, I do this slowly as insects can decide to munch away on the plants and I want to have choices when it comes to these important decisions. Now that the vegetables are getting to an edible size, thinning is quite fun.
I still only take the little ones unless I am looking for something to put into a meal. Here’s photos of my parsnips before and after thinning.
Here’s more photos of the basil before and after thinning.
I am continuing to thin the beets.
I also like to grow everything that I can up. My husband, Bob, and I created our garden from a completely infertile sucker forest. When we arrived here, there were tons of saplings about 4 inches in diameter and 10 feet tall. There were spaces that were difficult to walk through. So, Bob had to cut down the trees and pull the stumps. Then, I had to pickaxe the roots out of the upcoming bed and bring in organic matter to build the soil. Our first garden was four feet by six feet. So, having had to work hard for every inch of space, I make the same work hard for me.
I grow cucumbers on a twine trellis. I place a garden stake at each end of the bed and tie a pipe to the top with wire. Then, I tie string near the ground from one stake to the other. Next, I place string from the top pipe to the bottom string about every four inches along. As the cucumbers grow, I tie them to these vertical strings.
Tomato Cages and Ties
I also grow the tomatoes up. I have some very nice tomato cages that I place around the plants when I put them in the ground. I only allow three main stems to grow from each individual plant. The suckers I remove as you can see from the next two pictures.
I have found that tying tomatoes with twine can be damaging to the plant’s stem. So I tie them up with strips of cotton cloth. I find some inexpensive, unbleached cotton muslin and I spend a bit of time cutting it into strips. This supports the tomatoes without cutting into them.
Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens.
Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer!
Celeste's new book on living lightly on the Earth is due out September 25, 2014.