Becoming a gardener has surely been a work in progress. The goal is to learn as we go, or to borrow an industry acronym; OJT “On the job training.”
Our latest learning opportunity? Thinning out the seedlings.
Planting 2 or 3 seeds per planter is recommended when starting seeds. As uncertain newbies, we put 3 seeds in each planter…and with few exceptions, there were exactly three seedlings that sprouted in each planter. We had one planter with 4 seedlings and a handful of planters with 2 seedlings. It was a good start.
What is meant by thinning out the seedlings? Plucking or snipping unwanted seedlings from a planter to give the better seedlings less competition for light, food, water and space to grow healthy roots.
Like most gardening subjects there are multiple approaches to the process. Each claiming that their process is the best one for assuring success. In this case we found two processes that conflict..sort of. Some will recommend carefully and gently pulling the unwanted seedlings out, roots and all. Others say don’t risk harming the remaining seedlings; snip unwanted seedlings off at the soil surface.
In the planters pictured above we have reduced each planter to one or two seedlings. Eventually, there will be only one seedling per planter before their final location in the raised garden beds.
Ideally, thinning should take place before the seedlings have a chance to develop root systems that intertwine. If two seedlings are too close to each other, snipping off the weaker one is preferred by every source that we utilized.
It has been fun plowing ahead into the unknown. Next adventure? Transferring the plants we put in cardboard planters to red solo cups! The paper planters are disintegrating… Exciting! Or no?