Brettmm92
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Row gardening without thinning?

What's the deal with thinning? I read a Mel's book about square foot gardening and one of the reasons he started that method was because he saw thinning rows as a waste of time and resources. So I figured I'd treat my rows as a square foot garden and plant assuming that every seed will germinate this year. When I planted rows last year it seemed like most all my seeds germinated and I did do a lot of thinning. That only makes me trust the seeds to germinate more and take the overplanting step out. Is there something I'm missing? Only thing I can think of is that the time invested will be wasted if the seeds planted don't germinate and that's why so many people "overseed" their rows.
Also I'd like to share I started planting rows in a staggered style like when you cook biscuits or cookies to get more on the sheet, which I wish I did when I started gardening.

pepperhead212
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

That staggered method of planting that you describe - I call it zig zag - is a great way to get more plants in the same place. I plant double rows like this of greens and peppers all the time, and it works great.

Thinning is one of those necessities in gardening. Large seeds, like beans, you can pretty much avoid it with, but then, when you don't have 100% germination, you'll have to replant those spots. But things like carrots, with tiny seeds, there is no way to do this. Even when starting seeds indoors, I put 2 in a pot, and keep the strongest looking one, if both germinate, unless I have few seeds of something.
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

I don't "do" SFG although I do plant squares as well as rows, in my raised beds.

With many plants I now start seeds in either soil blocks or cells. I seed more of them than I hope to grow, and usually with more than 1 seed per 'pot'. Some varieties germinate less reliably than others; with those I seed a LOT more. Once it's clear which seedling is the strongest in a pot, the others are snipped. At transplant time the weakest survivors (over the intended crop no) are discarded. It took me years to learn to do this rather than plant them all somewhere, somehow.

Doing this I find my success rate in raising healthy plants (with some exceptions) is greater than with direct sowing. It has a few extra advantages like not wasting garden space waiting for seeds to emerge then find they are overcrowded; or spotty, not viable or bird-nipped. Also one can hold the potted seedlings while waiting to lift other plants & make room for them.
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kayjay
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

I'm happy to overseed when the thinnings are edible. :) Young spinach, lettuce, greens from cabbage family veggies, etc are nice.

Other than that, I agree with you - if I had to row garden (and I probably wouldn't) I'd use more SFG-like spacing.

(ETA) ... and most of what I grow has to be started indoors, anyway. Tomatoes and peppers.
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Gary350
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

You need to plant in rows or squares or patches what every works for the seeds your are planting and what works best for removing weeds and grass. I don't like to thin crops either, too much work & wasted seeds. Plant seeds wait & see what grows. Plant more seeds in the same place if you need to. You can do this with an crop. I planted 7 rows of corn this year 60% of the seeds grew. I planted the other 40% again. No big deal I have 2 crops of corn in the same place both large enough to pollinate and it will be 2 smaller harvests instead of 1 large harvest, easier work for me.
Last edited by Gary350 on Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:17 am, edited 4 times in total.

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jal_ut
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

Corn needs company if it is to get pollinated. If it does not get pollinated, you will have cobs with no kernels on them or spotty kernels. Always plant 3 rows of corn. A plant about every foot in the row. Rows spaced 30 inches.
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imafan26
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

James is right, with some things you have to plant a little insurance. Corn needs to mature about the same time so if you have gaps in your plantings, you don't always have time to plant filler seeds.
Small seeds, unless they are pelleted are hard to plant individually and some things do not have 100% germination so they need to be planted thicker. However, to minimize thinning you don't have to seed things like lettuce, or carrots too thickly.

I do start most of my smaller seeds in pots and transplant them out. I have even transplanted dill and carrots although, I do lose a few.

I also don't do row planting. I do offset planting sometimes, but mostly I do a form of French intensive. I interplant short duration and smaller crops between larger and slower maturing plants to maximize space in the garden. For example, when tomatoes and eggplants are small, I can plant some cilantro, radish, and sometimes lettuce in the space between the larger plants since they will mature and be harvested before the larger plants grow big enough to need the space.
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Brettmm92
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

I definitely enjoyed everyones input. And I feel for you, Kayjay, about having to start tomatoes and peppers indoors lol. Southern Ontario must be a vastly different climate than I'm used to. And I had a hard time following you Vanisly with the whole "soil blocks or cells" what exactly do you mean by that? And forgive my ignorance if it's common knowledge.
And I'm a fan, that placing a radish or something quick between plants is something I'll have to remember and copy.
I'm also very curious as to why corn is such a popular crop. I love me some but I feel like I'd rather have many other plants instead. Maybe if it had more than 2 ears per plant I'd be more inclined to grow some.

Vanisle_BC
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

Brettmm92 wrote:....Southern Ontario must be a vastly different climate than I'm used to. And I had a hard time following you Vanisly with the whole "soil blocks or cells" what exactly do you mean by that?
Brett, where are you? Maybe you told us but I missed, it or more likely forgot.

Generally I was talking about raising seedlings for transplant, in their own small containers, as opposed to sowing seed directly, in the ground.

Soil blocks are these:
https://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/ ... money.html
I use them but in my view they have their pros & cons (of course). Apologies if the link gives more info than you really want!

These are what I meant by cells:
http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/prod ... ys-inserts

You don't need to be forgiven for not understanding me. Oddly, it happens a lot! :).
"The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior." H. D.Thoreau. (Me too.)

Brettmm92
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

I live in North Carolina (Middle of the U.S.A.'s east coast).
And I see now, thanks for the links. Funnily enough, I was searching for some soil block tool like that months ago knowing that it existed but not knowing the name and never could find it. Now I might have to upgrade from dollar store cups.

Vanisle_BC
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

Brett, as far as I can see (online) your usual last frost is only about 3 weeks earlier than ours. I'm surprised if you don't find it an advantage - even a necessity - to start tomatoes earlier, indoors. Here most folks sow indoors in March to set out the beginning of last week in May.
"The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior." H. D.Thoreau. (Me too.)

Brettmm92
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

Yeah, your right. It would be. But I thought Kayjay was implying that he couldn't grow tomatoes and peppers at all without starting indoors. This post was originally about me thinking thinning was a waste with the usual success rate of seeds. But one thing I can argue against that and will take heed of from now on is the dang cutworms. I have had bad luck with them and for that sole reason I think I'll have to plant at least two for insurance against them

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jal_ut
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

"I'm also very curious as to why corn is such a popular crop."

Image

It is popular because it is so good to eat! Nothin quite like fresh corn on the cob.
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imafan26
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

I have to agree with James. James has a very large garden and the space to grow corn. If planted well, corn can get two to three ears on a plant and you can get a second ear or even a third if you do successive planting or plant some extra seedlings a week later just to get the tassels to last long enough to pollinate the second and third ears. You just have to remember to plant the same variety to prevent crossing. You can also bag the tassels and hand pollinate if you have a small block planting.

For most smaller gardens corn is not an economical crop. It takes up a lot of space, is a heavy feeder, and as you know you only get one ear or maybe two mature ears from each plant. There are other crops you could grow in the same space that would give you better yields.

I do grow corn in summer. I can get 3 crops in from June-September as long as I plant the temperate corn early and the tropical corn later. However, I do have to choose. My garden does not always cooperate. When I plant broccoli in the fall (I only have room for 5 plants), it does not produce until November but will make side shoots until May. Either, I keep the broccoli longer and skip the first March planting of corn or I pull the broccoli plants sooner. In the heat of summer, I can grow eggplant, peppers, tomatoes (heat resistant ), beans, sweet potatoes, ginger, okra, cucumber, squash, gourds (although it might try to take over my whole back yard not just the garden), or corn. Tomatoes, ginger, and eggplant I grow in pots outside the garden. I do grow cucumber and beans either in the garden or in one of the tomato pots. I grow gourds in another garden where they have room to sprawl or climb the fence. I don't need a lot of okra or beans and I don't like to eat them often. So, I actually have space in summer to grow corn in my main garden. It is one crop that never goes to waste since I really like corn. It may take me a week to eat it, but I will eat every one. Sweet potatoes,and tropical spinach are perennial here. Long and wing beans are almost perennial since they last a long time. The potatoes and tropical spinach sprawl and they will take over spaces and the beans will climb the plumeria tree, so I don't plant very much of them. I can usually trade calamondin, lemons or limes for them anyway. I do have wild bitter melon growing in my yard and I could probably trade them for something else as well. I plant Asian and leafy greens mostly from October-May although I can get Kale and Swiss chard to grow year round for greens, they taste better in cooler weather. I plant most of my herbs in pots although the bay leaf, Indian curry, bilimbi, and Jamaican oregano are in the ground. I haven't had any dragon fruit yet, but I was cutting it so now I have not cut it in a while, it is branching. It still tries to escape into my neighbor's yard.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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jal_ut
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

Wanna know about corn? check out Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_prod ... ted_States
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jal_ut
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

I plant corn using one of those wheel planters. I plug every other hole in the disc so it only drops seed every 18 inches. One or two seeds. I never thin. Whatever comes up grows. I always plant at least 3 rows and the rows are spaced 30 inches. It is important to have good fertility and water as the corn is a heavy feeder. When the first planting is 4 inches tall I plant another 3 rows. When the second is 4 inches tall I plant another planting. This spreads out the harvest.

Image
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Brettmm92
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Re: Row gardening without thinning?

Jal, I can't argue with your picture and explanation on why corn is a popular crop. And the staggared planting makes it much ore appealing to me. Maybe I'll attempt to make 3 rows on the northen side of the garden to try it out before it's too late.

Imafan, that's all very interesting. I really like how you trade food with people, that just sounds so "organic" to me. It sounds to me, like your garden could benefit from a "diy garden tower project" If you haven't heard about it here's a link to some pictures

https://www.google.com/searchbiw=1366&b ... 5qSb-P_lD8
.
They are especially great for growing swiss chard and kale. You can buy them for 350$ or buy a 55 gallon barrel and make one yourself and enjoy a space efficient, weed free, water retaining addition to your garden year after year. They are my favorite part of my garden. And you might find it funny that I recently bought a dragonfruit from the store just out of shock of how strange it looked. It was very expensive (for a fruit) and me and my neighbors ate it and talked about it with pure wonder and curiosity. Maybe the closest feeling you could get over there is finding affordable milk at the store, lol!

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