Thinning crops is one of the most important aspects of gardening. Each and every plant needs to have plenty of room to grow.
I thin rather slowly as there is always the possibility that there will be some loss due to insects.
The cutworm is one of the worst—this particular bug lives under the soil (where you can’t see them) and comes out at night. It then takes one bite right where the plants go into the soil thereby killing the entire plant.
You can tell that a cutworm has been at work if you see something like this:
When I do see this kind of damage, I bring out my countermeasures. First, I apply diatomaceous earth and place it all around the injured plant. Cutworms generally work their way down the row so I know that this little bugger is waiting just under one of the still-standing plants for the next night’s meal.
Be careful using this particular tool, though. This stuff can hurt any insects so you don’t want to put it all over the place as it can do damage to bees and other beneficial insects. I then spread a large amount of dried and crushed eggshells on top. This generally takes care of the problem.
So, the thinning should go from this:
Or from this:
And from this:
Next time, I think we’ll be able to add the thinnings to our meal . . .
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! A personally autographed copy of her book, Love Signs, is available in the Almanac.com General Store. You can also find an ebook version on Amazon.com for $2.99.
Celeste is a great speaker for garden groups and civic groups. She is also offer a gardening “Apprentice with Celeste." Email her for details via AlmanacEditors@yankeepub.com