How To Thin Out Your Seedlings

I like to be generous when I’m planting my seeds. After all, I’ve usually saved them from the previous year so all they’ve cost me is a bit of time to harvest and store.

Then what I sometimes find is that ALL the seed I’ve planted germinates. I give myself a little pat on the back, but then comes the part where I have to thin them out. Having them all bunched up like the photo below shows will actually prevent any of them from doing really well.

basil before thinning

(there’s also a small weed at the bottom of this photo)

So what I do is remove the majority of the tiny seedlings. It’s best to do this after you’ve watered (15 minutes) and before the seedlings get too big.

I’ve left 3 little seedlings, nicely spaced. You really only need to leave the strongest, healthiest looking seedling, but I like to have a few spare just in case!

basil after thinning

And just a week or so later they look gorgeous and healthy.

basil seedlings

It’s worth noting that some plants really shouldn’t be bought as seedlings and transplanted. Take for example carrots. Carrots suffer terribly if you transplant them. The roots tend to get all distorted and weird!

The thing to do with carrots is to sow the seed fairly thickly and just thin them out if you need to. If you want to you can thin them as they get big enough to pull a few too close together and eat them as “baby” carrots, then let the rest mature to full size.

Even if you have to buy seeds, it works out way cheaper than buying seedlings. And I think you end up with healthier and stronger plants too. Then you can save your own seeds from your strongest plant/s. Remember to label them with the plant name and the date you harvested.

Happy Organic Gardening, Healthy Living…


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