I woke up yesterday morning to take care of my radish seedlings. When I planted the seeds I tried my best to space them but I didn’t do a very good job.
Here is the result. They germinated nicely, however way to close to each other.
Spacing the seedlings will result in much better crop. Not only the root will have more room to grow larger, there will also be less competition for water and nutrients and better air circulation between the plants.
The common term for this gardening practice is thinning. When you thin seedlings you basically remove the weaker ones and leave healthier seedlings with more space to grow. I don’t discard the seedlings but replant them, this is the reason I call it spacing.
Almost all vegetables need a certain amount of space between them in order to grow properly. Some seeds are big, like beans or peas for example, so it’s really easy to space them correctly when planting. However, carrots, lettuce, radish (the small verity, like I have here) and many other seeds are tiny and very hard to space when planting (although you can always make seed tapes during the winter if you have time). Most leafy greens like salad leaves, spinach and chard don’t need to be spaced at all. The required proper spacing will be mentioned on the back of the seed packet.
Wait until the seedlings are at least 2 to 3 inch tall and have at least 1 or 2 sets of true leaves before spacing/thinning. It’s much easier to do when the soil is damp and better to do in the evening so the seedlings have time to adjust before being exposed to heat and direct sunlight.
I use a pencil to loosen the soil around the seedlings. Those babies are so delicate! If you try to pull them out without loosening the soil the root might tear, and you’ll lose the seedling.
Gently pull them out of the soil…
Stick the pencil in the soil at the spot where you want to move the seedling to…
And move it around a bit until you get a decent hole…
Place the root of the seedling in the hole…
And tighten the soil around it.
Now do this about a hundred more times and you’ll have nice radish in about a month!
Here is the result.
Much better spacing. If your soil is relatively dry, make sure to water the plants in.
It’s not my favorite gardening chore, to say the least… Being eight month pregnant and bending doesn’t really go well together, but if I want to harvest anything it has to be done.
On the positive side, it was really nice spending a quiet early morning by myself in the garden 🙂