Seedlings germinating in the garden is a sure sign of a green thumb, and now it's time to help your newly-sprouted veggies thrive. When plants reach a height of 6", it is time to "thin" out the extras to make space. Many beets growing in the same area simply won't have enough room to produce large roots for each plant. It may feel heart-wrenching to pull your baby plants out of the ground, but trust us, it will lead to larger harvests in just a matter of weeks. Plus, the plants you're pulling are "microgreens", or the most nutrient-dense snacks!
Here are some tips when thinning your garden that come with sweet rewards.
- Water your Seedsheet before and try to thin in the morning or evening so as to not stress your plants. We did it in the morning after a good rain.
- When beet leaves get to be about 4-6 inches tall, it is time to thin. Vegetables that you're growing for their roots or fruits (beets, carrots, tomatoes, peppers) generally are the ones that need thinning. Varieties such as greens or herbs do better growing closer together because they don't require as much space.
- Get the tools for the job. For thinning beets all you need is your hands and a bowl!
- Select one plant in the pod that looks to be the strongest. NOTE: strongest does not always mean biggest. Simply pull all of the plants except for the one you chose. Clean these plants for a nutrient-dense, "microgreen" salad!
- Not all baby plants are as edible as beets, so make sure you are munching on the correct varieties, and composting (or re-planting) the rest.
- Make sure that the remaining plants stay intact in the soil and receive plenty of water. Don’t worry if your beets look a little wimpy, they will spring back up within a couple of days.
Here we go, green thumbs!