Veggies are a moody bunch. Each plant needs his or her little space to grow, without smothering or crowding from peers and family. Sound familiar? Even though I’m social, every now and then even I find myself needing to take time to rest and have my own little “space” to grow. Then again, there are exceptions, like corn. Corn needs to have it’s own space to grow (i.e., about one plant per square foot), but if one only grows one plant total it will never pollinate. Corn must be a super social vegetable.
Carrots, on the other hand, can handle large families (i.e., 16 per square foot is fine), but be sure to thin them to really only 16 plants. With carrots, they have multiple shoots that come out the top (the green part you normally use in soups) so it can hard to thin to really only one plant. I planted 16 seeds in one square foot, and then when the plant was 2-3 inches tall, I thinned down to ensure only 16 carrot plants per square foot. If you are worried about spacing you can even try 8 per square foot.
Of course, I missed a few plants so some grew really close together. This is a really cool example of why thinning plants is important. Check out the photo. The little baby carrot should be the same size as the big one on top!
In the end, all of the carrots end up tasting nice, but I think we should listen to our little plant friends and “give them space” when they need it. 🙂
ps. OK, I have to brag. We’ve been having salads this week with 100% ingredients we grew. It is so fun! I can already see how important succession gardening is, though. We are tending to have a lot of food available at once vs. spreading it out over a few weeks.