A Tip For Thinning Your Garden: Don’t Waste Those Babies!

June 3rd, 2010 - filed under: The Farm » Flora


It’s late spring and hopefully your gardens are beginning to take shape. If you sowed your seeds directly to soil, now is about the time to thin out your rows. It’s important to overplant in case some seeds are sterile, but then it’s just as important to remove the excess, preventing competition. Sad for the little ones that don’t get to stay, but that’s the way it’s got to go.

IMG_2583The pac choi, very well groomed

I was in the middle of this process last weekend – pulling up seedlings and flinging them onto the compost heap – when it hit me. Hey! These are totally edible! Of course I felt like an idiot as soon as I made the realization (think of all the greens I’ve wasted!) Just because they’re not fully matured, doesn’t mean they’re not ripe for your kitchen. In fact, sprouts and seedlings are nutrient powerhouses!

IMG_2602The pac choi carnage. I had to pull up a lot of starts.

You can save and eat all sorts of seedlings, from lettuces (of course) to hardy greens (like collards or kale) to brassicas (like broccoli or cabbage) to beets. Sprouts are touted by raw foodists and other health aficionados as awesome, enzyme-rich and nutrient-dense little wonderfoods. So don’t make the same mistake as me and discard these garden treasures! Bring them inside, clean them up, and put them to work nourishing your body.


You can pretty much use them as you would use their older counterparts, aside from steaming or sautéing by themselves (they’re too tender for that). Make a fresh salad, or throw them into a stir fry, pack them into a hummus wrap or top off a sandwich, cook them into a scramble or just munch them by the handful. Or, you can do like I do and blend them into a delicious, delectable green smoothie!



So, how are your gardens growing? Will you be thinning the beds any time soon? What will you do with your sprouts?


Green smoothie for life!!!!


  • http://alternativehousewife.com Janine

    NOM. I need to get some patio (container) gardening going! Love seeing what you grow that thrives in Portland. I’m late for a lot of things but luckily my mama has some extras started for me on her property. :)

  • http://www.chewonthisvegan.wordpress.com windycityvegan

    Great tip – thanks for the reminder that seedlings and sprouts have their own nutritive value and that we shouldn’t let them go to waste. I recently let about 20 kale plants go to seed – that’s a lot of seeds! I guess now I know what to do with them. :-)

    Have you ever done a post about sprouting your own beans?

  • http://oliviajeankeepinitgreen.blogspot.com Olivia Jean

    My 3.5 year old says…..”ooh THATS a good idea!!”

    I agree :D

  • http://twitter.com/erosan erosan

    I remember reading that certain seed sprouts are poisonous, so although by the time you get to thin your crop you should be alright (since they don’t count as sprouts anymore, do they), a quick search at google would still be recommended before you eat…

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Janine – Yay for patio gardening! Luck with everything!

    @ windycityvegan – I was just learning today about how you can actually eat the kale seed pods. Saute ‘em up, like mini string beans! =D

    @ Olivia Jean – oh! ADORABLE! love it

    @ erosan – Very true! Good advice my friend.

  • http://yahoo Mark M

    I used a small scissors to thin the beets, chard and kale so I did not have to deal with dirt and washing etc and just put the entire handful in my mouth and had a great munch.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com Sayward

    @ Mark M – Ha, that’s awesome! And those are all your seeds I’m growing, even the ones that got wet and re-dried. THANK YOU!!!

  • http://www.pickypinchers.com Mrs. Picky Pincher

    So much yes! I’m Picky about my greens, but jeez sprouts are delish! I like to put them on sandwiches for an extra crunch.