Hi fellow gardeners,
Say I have an unlimited supply of seeds for x vegetable, what are the downsides to spreading them all over a garden bed (for example every 2 inches), cover them with a thin layer of soil, and thin them as they grow by choping and droping them in their place, or if the thinings are edible then consume them as microgreens? How would different crops react to this method? Will it maximize yield, control weeds, and preserve moisture in the soil?
That is pretty much the way microgreens growers seed their flats, I can't think of any reason that it won't work in outdoor gardens.
As far as maximizing yield, that will depend on what you want to consider yield, for instance if it were beets, carrots, parsnip, horseradish or radishes just cropping the growing top might not kill the root vegetable right away so you would decrease yield because of crowding.
If it were an above ground crop other than the brassicas it might not have any loss of yield due to crowding.
It would indeed control weed growth because of lack of sunlight and that shade would help with moisture in the soil until the plants developed enough to suck the extra moisture from the soil.
The down side would be mold and fungal growth on the plant surface due to that same moisture.
I over plant then thin by pulling the excess plants, leaving around 6 inches between growing plants. We use the pulled plants as microgreens or baby greens. The only plants I don't do this way are tomatoes, garlic and onions.
The down side could be that you just created a mono culture and that pests and fungi that love that plant will have a field day.
But mono cultures are not always bad, some areas have low enough pest pressure that they thrive.
Poly culture is what I am moving towards, I grow everything that requires the least amount of work and gives me the greatest results, if one fails in the polyculture the others can often fill in the gaps.
Life on a farm is a school of patience; you can't hurry the crops or make an ox in two days.
Is this what you were thinking of doing? It seems to be working very well for this urban farmer. I haven't tried it myself.
"But if it's true that the only person over whom I have control of actions is myself, then it does matter what I do. It may not matter a jot to the world at large, but it matters to me." - John Seymour
Ruth Stout was famous for gardening naked. Just like this tiny ad: