Do I need to thin out before planting my veg?

Some plants that you receive from Rocket Gardens will benefit from being thinned out. It’s not obligatory, but it doesn’t take long and is quite easy.

What is meant by “thinning out”?

Basically, some of the seeds that we sow are tiny, and when we sow these tiny seeds there will inevitably be more than one seed per pot (with bigger seeds, like beans, it’s a lot easier to control). If they all germinate, then there will be more than one seedling growing per pot. Thinning out essentially means removing excess seedlings so that they are not competing for space. This gives the remaining seedlings a better chance of growing into decent sized, healthy plants.

Do I have to thin out?

No, you don’t HAVE to thin out any of our plants; it’s not mandatory. However, if you are someone who would rather grow one good sized beetroot instead of three smaller ones, or if you want your carrots to be nice and shapely rather than wonky and gnarled, then you may wish to take the time to thin them out before planting.

How do I thin out?

It is very straightforward to do. Simply inspect each plant before you pop it in the ground. If there is more than one growing, you can pinch off all but one with your fingernails (easiest), gently tease them out of the roots (not so easy as you may damage the root ball) or snip them off with a small pair of scissors (can be a bit fiddly). Once you have done this, you should be left with a single seedling growing and this can now be planted.

Now the question….how do you choose which seedlings to remove? Well, usually there will be a clear frontrunner who possibly has greener leaves, more leaves or is simply a bit bigger. This is the one to keep. If you can’t decide, don’t lose too much time over it, and just remove the ones that are easiest to remove.

Which plants are most likely to need thinning out?

  • Beetroot
  • Carrot
  • Lettuces & Leaves (chard/spinach/rocket etc)
  • Leeks

It’s worth casting a glance at other plants too, just in case, but on the whole it’s only the above that sneak in the extras!

What happens if I don’t thin them out?

Then they will simply grow together. For beetroot and carrots you may get smaller, misshapen roots at harvest but they are still edible of course. Leeks will be a bit smaller when you harvest them. To be honest, you will probably hardly notice if you don’t thin out lettuces and leaves unless it is a hearting variety.