Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How to thin seedlings

how to thin seedlings
Every time I see little green sprouts start to pop up in my seed trays, I get excited.  Which is why I am always sad when the day comes that I have to thin my seedlings.  I know I have to do it, but each time, it is hard–like I am being forced to choose a favorite child.  Do you feel this way?
If I don’t thin them though, they will compete for water, nutrients, etc.  So, I have to suck it up and face the cold hard facts of gardening.  Ha.  If it is time to thin some of your seedlings {check yourseed packet for when to thin}, there are two basic ways to do it:
radish seedlings
You can pull out the excess seedlings, much like you are pulling a weed,  {if you choose this method, be very careful not to disturb the root system of the plant you are trying to keep}.  Occasionally, with plants like peppers and tomatoes, you can replant the pulled seedlings in a new location, but in all honestly, with varying results.
tomato seedlings under grow lights
The easiest way to thin seedlings is to use scissors.  Just trim the excess seedlings off at the base of the plant, as close to the soil as you can get.  The roots will die back and leave your remaining seedling undisturbed.  If you are growing your seedlings in trays, make sure to remove the trimmings and toss them {if your seedlings are already in the garden bed, you can just leave the trimmings in the bed}.
So how do YOU thin your seedlings? Do you pull, or cut?

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