Spacing out your seeds - 29. April 2021

Even plants need a private sphere, or in other words, enough room to grow. This will give them enough light, water and nutrients for a healthy development. Spacing out your seeds also reduces the risk of fungal diseases, as good ventilation of the leaves reduces moisture.

You may ask: Why not just plant seeds much further apart?

Even with excellent germination rates in laboratories, in practice, some seeds will develop less regularly than others. This will cause large spaces in our crops, reducing the crop and giving more room for weeds. It is, therefore, easier to plant seeds closely together and then thin the rows if necessary.

When?

Thinning the rows too late can damage our crops: The larger the plants, the more likely their roots will intermingle, and pulling them will also damage adjacent plants. Generally, seeds are spaced out when plants are 5-7 cm, and when they already have several leaves. It’s best to do this in the evening, so that intact plants are not exposed to any additional stress from the sun.

How?

Seeds that are too close together are thinned by gently pulling out some plants in-between to form desired spaces. This can be made easier by slightly watering the soil. Be careful not to damage other plants, especially root vegetables.

Distances

Each variety has different needs. The rule of thumb is that you should have approximately 5 cm between each plant. Here are a few tips for the most common varieties:

Salad beetroot (8 to 15 cm distance)
Carrots (spacing of 5 to 8 cm)
Lettuce (spacing of 45 to 60 cm)
Onions (spacing of 8 to 12 cm)
Parsnips (spacing of 8 to 15 cm)
Radish (spacing of 5 to 8 cm)
Rutabagas (spacing of 20 cm)
Spinach (spacing of 5 to 15 cm)
Turnips (spacing of 5 to 10 cm)