Multisow for many benefits
Photo above is multisown onions early August, a week before pulling to dry, and 10 days earlier we had interplanted savoy cabbages
Vegetables worth sowing and growing in clumps
Enjoy the many benefits of sowing two or more seeds together, as opposed to a single seed per module or station:
- Grow more plants in the same area of propagating space
- Use less compost to propagate the same number of plants
- Save time because you are planting two or more at once.
- There is a companion effect: I observe how plants like being with their friends in clumps.
Because you can grow more plants in the same space, it’s feasible to grow more early crops of say turnips and radish. This is at a time when warmth for propagating is scarce and precious, in February and early March. Harvests of radish and turnips in April and May are welcome as ‘hungry gap’ vegetables, when fresh food is scarce. You then have time to clear the space before planting summer beans, courgettes, brassicas etc.
In my experience, other vegetables not mentioned here make better harvests as singles. For example cabbage and lettuce to make hearts, swede and celeriac to make large roots. They do grow well in clumps, it’s more question of the harvests you desire.
- It’s easier to pick the outer leaves off single lettuce plants, then off those in groups of two or three.
- On the other hand, it works well to pick larger leaves off two or three salad rocket and mustard plants in a clump.
- Broad/fave beans are an exception because they ‘tiller’, making many stems from one seed, so they are best sown as single seeds. Single sown broad beans look like they were multisown.
- Parsnips and carrots grow best from direct sowing, in terms of making a long, non-forked tap root. Nonetheless you can transplant them, and carrots are feasible in clumps pf two to four.
My suggested numbers for great harvests
You can enjoy multisow benefits with variable seed numbers according to the size of vegetable you want. Only do not sow too many root vegetables in a clump, or you will have more leaf in proportion to root, meaning the roots will stay small.
- For medium size plants and high yield, the first column lists my suggestion for number of seeds to sow, per module. This is a different number than in the third column. It allows for non germination of some seeds, and for multiple germination in the case of beetroot + chard.
- The second column lists how many plants can grow to a harvestable size in clumps.