Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thinning the seedlings

This beautiful pea has nothing to do with today's post. I am just in awe of how pretty it is and wanted to share.

The real purpose of this post is to encourage brand new gardeners to thin their seedlings appropriately. This is a subject I personally struggled with for awhile. Some people tend to become attached to every little seedling in their garden but that is a mistake if you want to eat a lot of food. A mistake I have lived and learned from.

"You can't be serious. Seedlings? What about rabbits or chickens? I have been very good this year... Mostly."

I am talking about seedlings and here is a row of broccoli that needs to be thinned.
When planting seeds you should start with more than you'll need because some seeds won't sprout and others will get wiped out by bugs and/or disease early. The ones that survive must be thinned to ensure a healthy crop of good eats. In this case, I ultimately only want 3 broccoli plants but I am not going to thin them to 3 this early. I am going to choose the contenders that will eventually lead to the final 3. At one point I was so sentimental that this would have weighed heavily on my heart but now I understand that thinning them is essential if I want to go on to see healthy and productive plants.

I didn't thin them to the 3 that will eventually remain but I thinned them enough and I do have an idea which 3 I will keep when I thin them again in a week or so.

This Swiss chard has already been thinned once. We need 3 on each side. Any more would not grow optimally.
Here are the 6 finalist. I hope they do well.
It is important to refrain from being sentimental like I was at first. If you don't thin your seedlings appropriately they will be overcrowded and compete for space and nutrients which is not good for your overall harvest, or for the plants that are trying to reproduce by creating food for you.

San Diego was gorgeous today. Good night.

Gidget is concerned. She says, "I don't think you understand. I must have animal protein  in order to survive. I NEED eggs at minimum. What is this Christmas you're all speaking of? Do dreams really come true? How do I write to this guy, Santa?

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