The vegetables I have found worth sowing and growing in clumps
For certain vegetables, there are considerable 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.
To learn much more, and about sowing generally, see the multisowing lesson of this bargain module in my new Skills online course.
Because you can grow more plants in the same space, it’s feasible to grow more early crops of say turnips and radish, 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 crop residues before plantings of 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 to make large roots.
- 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 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.
- 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.
My suggested numbers for great harvests
You can vary the 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 number is my suggestion for number of seeds to sow, per module.
- The second number is how many plants can grow to a harvestable size in clumps, allowing for non germination of some seeds, and for multiple germination in the case of beetroot + chard.
|Charles’ multisow veg||Seeds per clump||Desired plants per clump|
|Basil||3 or 4||2 or 3|
|Chard for salad/ to cook||4/2||3-5/1-2|
|Chervil, coriander, dill, parsley||3||2|
|Fennel, Florence||3||1 or 2|
|Kale for salad||4||3|
|Leek||5 or 6||2 to 4|
|Onion for bulbs||6 or 7||4 or 5|
|Onion for salad||8 or 10||6 or 8|
|Oriental leaves to cook||2||1|
|Oriental leaves for salad||4||3|
|Peas for pods||2 or 3||1 or 2|
|Peas for shoots||4 or 5||3 or 4|
|Radish||5 or 6||4 or 5|
|Rocket, salad and wild||3 or 4||2 or 3|
|Spinach for salad||4||3 or 4|
|Turnip||5||3 or 4|
For further advice and information, have a look at my YouTube playlist, ‘Seeds, Sowing/Multisowing and Propagation‘, and this module from my ‘Skills for Growing’ online course, ‘Seeds, sowing and planting’ – now available to purchase at half price for £13.
On my You Tube onion video, comment by Dylan Fogarty-MacDonald 11/08/18
Today I harvested my onions which I grew following this method. 36 modules, multi-sown with 8 seeds and we transplanted 20 modules. We harvested around 30 spring onions in May and today I harvested 98 mostly good sized onions (a few small ones amongst the plump ones). Happy about this as it was grown in such a small space and gave us multiple harvests through the season. Thanks Charles!