Making Room for Plants

The crops in our garden have been growing so much that we’ve had to do some more thinning.

“Thinning can be tedious, but in a small space you can do it,” Jeanne Nolan said. “Three weeks after planting is a good time to thin.”

The nasturtiums in our garden, especially the ones planted in the north garden bed, have been flourishing —so much so that they are crowding the Haricot Vert (French filet beans) that we planted.

Two weeks ago, Nolan and her crew thinned the flowers as well as used plant Velcro to train the plants to grow toward the fence rather than in the garden beds and over the surrounding crops. While this helped, the flowers were so prolific that we had to extensively thin them and prune them.

When pruning, Nolan said she likes to prune at the base of the plant where the stem meets the base.

“I prune that way because I want the plant to be putting energy into the part of the plant that’s viable,” rather than the remaining stem, she said.

Once we were finished thinning and pruning the nasturtiums, we adjusted the plant Velcro, placing it higher on the plant to act like more of a girdle to continue to train the flowers to grow toward the fence. We also thinned carrots and beets, with the latter thinnings being edible.

“Carrots are always too crowded [as they grow] so we do thinning,” Nolan said, adding she thins carrots several times in order to give them adequate space to grow. 

As she thinned carrots, Nolan hilled, or added extra soil, around the remaining crops.

“I hill as well because sometimes carrots that were thinned were supported by the surrounding carrots,” she said. “I hill the soil around them to keep them supported.”

While some people may be hesitant to thin, Nolan encourages thinning of carrots.

“Ultimately, we want the carrots to be a couple of inches apart,” she said. “If you leave carrots too crowded, you won’t get very good carrots.”