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Post  erbarnett on 9/27/2012, 7:30 pm

I have always tried to plant like Mel B. has recommended, in multiples of 1, 4, 9, and 16 plants per square foot. After having bad luck with germination of some seeds, I decided to plant an entire square with lettuce seeds. That is, the seeds were sprinkled evenly over the entire square (not covered, of course), and then watered down. As soon as possible, I began picking the larger leaves only, allowing the smaller leaves to develop. I found this decreased the need for watering, since the plants were so closely spaced and formed a type of natural mulch. The tender young leaves were very tasty. The plants seemed to last a long time too, before finally bolting. I have had good luck with spinach planted en masse also. I am thinking of mass plantings next spring for radish greens, beet greens, turnip greens, and Swiss Chard. Mel B. has never mentioned this type of planting, but I do recall it being pictured somewhere in his book. I use a piece of cardboard, weighted down with a rock, over the newly planted seeds, and this really does hasten germination drastically.

Do other SFGardeners plant like this on occasion and, if so, how have your plants faired?
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Post  camprn on 9/27/2012, 7:49 pm

EB, your thinking is sound.
This is pretty much the way I handle all my leafy veggies. The exception is that when the chard and spinach get a bit bigger, I transplant out of the square I sowed in and plant 4-6 inches apart. The lettuces I simply thin by pulling plants and leaving the healthiest ones at proper spacing.

I do it for the same reason you have mentioned. Germination varies and I would rather sow many seeds and have an abundance of seedlings, rather than have the whole crop fail because only 3 out of 10 seeds germinated.

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Post  ksbmom on 9/27/2012, 8:59 pm

I have always planted my lettuce "en masse" - initially it was because I wasn't doing the SFG method, but was doing traditional row gardening. When all those cute little plants sprouted, I couldn't bring myself to thin them out! So I left them and they did so wonderfully I've done it that way ever since, even in the SFG beds. I rarely have weeds, and because I put marigolds in the beds I also rarely have a problem with pests. Germination hasn't been a problem for me because it's so warm here they seeds sprout in about three days.
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Post  landarch on 9/28/2012, 12:24 am

I don't really do mass plantings, but plant some veggies more dense than the book calls for...I do more than 16 per square for lettuce (romaine), radish, and carrots...it's probably arround 36 per square. Beets need room to form so I stick with 16 per square.
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