The chore of thinning plants is always laced with a hint of melancholy. As the weather warms and plants emerge from the ground, it’s a visual affirmation that winter has released its grip and that the fruits of my labor have succeeded. But just like most human endeavors gardening is a game of percentages and risk. Over planting ensures that if some seeds fail to germinate, there will be enough others that do to efficiently use the allotted space. However if most of the seeds do germinate, selective thinning is required to prevent overcrowding. Therefore successful plants must be sacrificed for the greater good.
Early thinning is usually a complete loss because the plants are so small, but later thinning (like the Fire and Ice Radishes pictured above) provides the first fruits of the season. These tender delicacy offer a hint of what’s to come and their removal ensures that the remaining plants have ample room to fully develop.
Maybe there is more to this than meets the eye?
In a country where most of us have an over abundance, I think there is ample room for thinning in many aspects of our lives. Perhaps we need to get on our knees more often and cultivate what’s important by yanking out some of that overabundance that limits the full development of our most important crops.
Originally published at Growing Interest by Michael J. Dowling
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