I hate thinning out my seedlings but it’s a necessary action to keep your garden healthy and thriving. A few days ago it was finally time to thin out my radish seeds that I planted back in the beginning of April. I walked out to the garden in the morning before otto and joe were awake and before the sun had burned off the dew on the grass. I started row by row gently pulling out the thin radish seedlings until I was able to have two finger lengths on each side of the remaining plant.
With plants like radish, beets and carrots it’s sometimes best to just cut the greens at the soil but my dirt was loose enough that the seedlings were easily released from the ground leaving the remaining vegetables undisturbed. It’s amazing how a few days later the radish’s that are able to breath have grown large and are peeking out from the soil line.
I also was able to thin out my butter crunch lettuce and when I removed the seedlings their roots remained undisturbed so I transplanted them in other parts of the garden rather than tossing them out. With the three solid days of rain they held in there and are continuing to grow.
By removing seedlings when plants have their two first sets of true leaves it allows for your plants to have improved air circulation helping to curb fungal issues in young plants. It’s important for plants to have enough light, moisture and nutrients and keeping the crowded plants to a minimum will help them grow strong, healthy and with sturdy root systems.
It’s best to work with damp soil on a cooler time of day. This will ease the stress on the remaining plant and help the seedlings pull up a little easier. Gently pinch the seedling and try to pull straight up and out slowly to make sure you are not tearing the roots of the existing healthy plant. When deciding which seeds to keep, look for strong stems that are not too leggy.
A few times my seedlings came up so easy I was able to save them and plant in different pots instead of tossing them out. It’s hard to decide which plants get to stay and grow and I think it’s because of the excitement of germination. This necessary step will help your garden continue to strengthen and flourish for the season.
my pulled radish seedlings were so pretty I had to snap a quick picture.3