Thinning the vegetable and herb crops, I think, is one of the hardest jobs in the garden.
Once the plants germinate, it’s lovely to look at the hundreds of carrots or beets or lettuces. It’s easy to think, “Wow, I’m going to have hundreds of everything!” The only problem is, if you don’t thin them out and give everybody space to grow, you’ll end up with hundreds of teensy, tiny crops that won’t give you much good eating. So, thin we must.
I do like to thin slowly. You never know when some insect will come along and decide to eat a few (or more than a few) of what you have planted. So, I do it in stages. The important thing is to give everybody some room to grow. Even with the best Sun, water and soil amendments, the crops are not going to get big in size if they don’t have enough room.
Here’s some basil before and after thinning.
Here’s some lettuce before and after thinning.
Here's some kale before and after thinning.
Here’s some beets before and after thinning.
Throughout the summer, I keep thinning. Soon, the thinnings are big enough to eat and they are going into my kitchen and dinners instead of to the chickens. Carrots and beets were on the menu today.
Some of the purslane is also harvestable. Yum!
And, just for the fun of it. I saw a couple of chickens taking a dust bath and decided to take their picture. They do this as a way to clean themselves and remain mite-free.
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.