How Food Grows: Routine Jobs

Part 6: Routine Jobs

Time is one of the biggest obstacles people face when setting out to grow food. It may seem like a lot of work, but getting into a regular weekly routine makes these small jobs quicker, easier and ultimately part of the joy of growing.

Actions

Thinning:

  • Thin your salad leaves (rocket and oriental greens) down so that there is a 3cm gap between seedlings, if you want to aim for two or more harvests from them.
  • Leave the salad leaves alone for one large harvest.
  • Thin radishes to 3cm between each seedling.
  • Thin spinach to 10cm between seedlings for now.
  • Harvest all the leaves you’re thinning as you go for a microgreens salad.

Weeding:

  • Remove weeds between rows of carrot seedlings, ideally with a hoe.
  • Remove weeds within carrot rows with a more precise tool, like a hand-hoe, trowel or your own hand.
  • Thin carrot seedlings as you remove weeds within the row, leaving 5cm between each one.

Supporting:

  • Make sure to get supports in for your peas before they grow taller than 20cm.
  • Use branches, bamboo canes or something upcycled as supports for your peas.

Top Tips

Thinning:

  • Think of thinning as the reverse of transplanting. Rather than plant out to the exact spacing, we are cutting our seedling back to leave them in the right final spacing.
  • Typically, thinning should be done after 3-4 weeks.
  • Don’t thin too early when your seedlings are still fragile. This runs the risk of a pest coming and destroying your whole crop when it’s most vulnerable.
  • Don’t thin too late as plants will bolt if they are competing too much for space. This means they go straight to seed rather than producing food.

Weeding:

  • Weeds compete with seedlings for water and nutrients from the soil.
  • Remove weeds when they’re small. Once they become established, they are a much bigger problem.
  • Make sure your carrot seedlings are clearly identifiable as carrots by their leaves before you start weeding.

Supporting:

  • Pea supports should be at least 4 foot tall and bear in mind that you can’t change them later.
  • Supports are not needed for each individual plant, but should be no more than 1 foot apart.

Helpful Resources

 

GIY.ie is grateful for the support of our Growth Fund partners Social Innovation Fund Ireland and The Department of Rural & Community Development, whose funding has enabled us to promote and disseminate this online course, engaging thousands of people in How Food Grows.​