Radish Sprout
Radish Sprout

What do we love most about planting in beds? The scattershot seed planting method…or “scattersow.” With 52 beds to prep and till each spring, we sometimes lose patience for planting in neat rows. When the sun starts to set on Sunday afternoons, and we know we have to race for the train back to the city, we’ve been known to toss a handful of seeds into the breeze above a bed and hope for the best.

Maybe that’s not the most responsible method, but when you’re dealing with teeny tiny seeds like lettuce, spinach, radishes and carrots…it sure does save a lot of time.

The downside is that in order for this method to work best, we have to oversow to avoid any gaps. Which means that at some point a few weeks later we pay for our shortcut by having to thin our excess seedlings. That can be a waste – something we especially don’t like at The Beekman.

But we’ve learned a trick.

A few different types of companion plantings work great for scattersowing together. Especially radishes and carrots. Both are teensy seeds and are easy to mix together in hand and toss like grass seed on a bed. The great part is that the radishes sprout almost immediately, and are quick to grow. The carrots take much longer. So by the time the bed seems impossibly crowded, the radishes are ready to harvest and leave enough room behind for the carrots.

Not too close for comfort...yet.
Not too close for comfort...yet.

Give it a shot. Let us know what you think. And if you have any of your own “scattersow” stories & tips, please share them below…

by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

Reader Comments

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Jim Stogner

I just thinned a bunch of radish seedlings and they were a great snack and on salads, also four 7 year old boys thought they tasted great and asked for more several times, you can’t argue with that. Now they watch me overseed in anticipation.


Another benefit of that way of planting carrots and radishes is that the carrots sometimes have a hard time sprouting if the soil dries out and crusts over on top. But the radish sprouts are stronger and will loosen that crust, making it easier for the carrots to do their thing.

Veronica V.

Radish are wonderful. They are a little peppery and have a wonderful flavor to add to salads and sandwiches. And they sell well at farmers markets.

Andrew Ritchie

I had never heard of the scattersow method before. I like the concept…and the potential results! The site looks great, by the way – clean and fresh…like your soap!



I let my four year old help me plant the garden this year–and that resulted in scatter sowing whether I meant it to or not. I will probably have to do at least a little thinning, but she'll gladly help with that too, I'm sure!

Also, are radish sprouts tasty like alfalfa sprouts? Eating the thinned sprouts might be a good way not to waste them.