gardening

Thin Your Plants: My Number One Gardening Tip for Beginners

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There are a few things you should remember if you want to be a successful gardener, but the most important tip gardeners forget is to thin your plants!

Water regularly.

Drastic increases or decreases in water supply can harm plant growth. Like you and I, our plants prefer to have regular access to hydration.

Plant good quality seeds.

Newer seeds are better, but seeds from quality seed stores can last a long time.

Plant at the right depth and season.

Digging salad seeds 6 inches under the ground when they want to be on the surface is a BAD IDEA.

However, most beginner gardeners already know these things. Plant seeds, water plants (not too much, not too little) and don’t plant seeds when the ground is frozen.

The Most Important Gardening Tip You Probably Don’t Know

These will get you pretty far, but there is one more essential gardening tip I think most new gardeners do not know.

But literally, the BEST thing you could do as a beginner gardener is this one tiny thing….

THIN YOUR PLANTS!

Now, I’m not trying to yell, but it is really this important.

Thinning your plants simply means removing plants that are too close to others.

 

New gardeners often have no sense of plant spacing. Many plants don’t mind being closer than what the seed packet may say, and you can often find great information on seed spacing from square foot gardening pages! 

For example, if you plant kale seeds really close to each other, you will only get small, salad-sized leaves.

If you want large, kale salad leaves, you will be disappointed.

Both sets of leaves are completely edible, but the plant will grow differently depending on how close other plants are.

This is all because of…SPACING.

I used this gardening tip a lot this year because I planted the rest of a packet of purple kohlrabi seeds from Baker Creek. This packet was 5 years old so I assumed it would have poor germination….it didn’t. I’m pretty sure every single seed germinated. There were probably a hundred sprouts or more…

crowded purple kohlrabi seeds
My haphazard purple kohlrabi seedlings began to emerge…with plenty more to come. Also, do you see how mulchy my new soil was?!

In a 2 ft x 4 ft space.

Yet, kohlrabi wants more space, like at least 6 inches, between plants.

I thinned…and thinned…and thinned again. Honestly, I probably could have thinned one more time.

how to thin kohlrabi

You will NOT get the bulb size you want if you overcrowd the plant.

If you want big kale, thin your stinkin’ plants.

That means that you need to squat by your garden bed and rip hapless seedlings out of the ground. Throw them to the ground to rot or if large enough, eat them (tiny kale leaves = baby kale). Honestly, I ended up thinning out so many great kohlrabi starts that I replanted them in another section of the garden! This is a great solution if you way over plant.

You can always thin your plants, but you can’t make up for the lost growing time if you plant too few seeds.

Give your plants space to grow to full size and you will be thrilled by your garden!

It is that simple.

This is the only gardening tip people generally may not know and it’s really that helpful!

Do you thin your plants or not? Tell me below!

Linking to:

Friday at the Fire Station at The Fireman’s Wife

We love to share with other bloggers! This post was shared at one of these great linky parties!

Rachael

Rachael is a schoolteacher who loves to grow her own produce in her backyard garden, cook from scratch, and update vintage furniture for her farmhouse look. She lives in Western Washington with her husband and her cat.

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