Good Question: Can I Eat My Garden Thinnings?

Good Question: Can I Eat My Garden Thinnings?

Faith Durand
Jun 2, 2009

Here's a garden question from Zominal:

It looks like I over-planted my victory garden, so today I thinned out the arugula and beet roots. I don't want the poor little things to go to waste (especially if they are yummy!), but I cannot figure out how "young" is too young when it comes to these greens. The shoots were between 3-5 inches tall when I pulled them. Any ideas? Can eating them early be bad?

Zominal, the short answer is yes! Eat those greens. In fact, at 3-5 inches high, those greens are probably at an absolutely delicious point of delicacy and fresh taste. The only drawback to eating greens early is that you aren't letting them grow to their full size (and thus getting more yield overall). But if you have to thin them anyway, then yes, eat them. Eat them in a salad, lightly dressed, or over eggs, like pictured above.

If you thin and eat them even younger, when they are just an inch or two high, then they are called microgreens and considered very trendy.

We love how even baby basil and radishes taste like their adult counterparts. It's fun to pull up a really tiny leaf of basil seedling and see how it already has all the flavor of what it will be when grown up.

Related: What's the Deal with Microgreens? (And How to Grow Your Own!)

(Image: Flickr member Linda N. licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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