Avoid choosing tall and spindly seedlings, as these may not become healthy adults. The good news is that some plants—like lettuce, beets, chard, and spinach—is that you can toss the tiny seedlings you remove into salads or other recipes, so all is not lost. [1] X Research source It's easiest to wait until the seedlings are tall enough to grasp. Use garden snips or a scissors to thin out crowded seedlings. If you prefer to avoid disturbing the soil (and nearby plants), you can use garden scissors or snips to cut off the unwanted seedlings at ground level. Keep the soil moist and after the seeds germinate thin them to stand 3-5 inches apart. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Although the sources are different, the result is usually the same – a condition known as either damping off or seedling blight. It's easiest to wait until the seedlings are tall enough to grasp. Once the plants have a grown their true leaves, you can begin to thin the plants to about six inches apart. Discard the seedlings when you are done. Take one pass with the rake and then another pass in the opposite direction. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014. Stake the plant if it needs (or will need) support. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Use the right tool for thinning seedlings – Garden pruning shears are way too big and clumsy to use for this delicate job, and it’s easy to accidentally damage other seedlings … Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. Keep spinach evenly moist and mulch planting beds to keep the soil cool. 5 seedlings of Russian Kale. References. Thin the seedlings when they are 2–3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) tall. As a result, too many seedlings sprout and are packed too closely together. When this happens, gardeners must systematically remove the extra seedlings to provide enough space for the remaining seedlings to grow. That way, you shouldn't disrupt the remaining plants. Thinning can disturb the soil, so it's best to lightly mist the remaining seedlings after thinning to rejuvenate the plants. Monitor the growth of the seedlings closely. Maybe you just forgot to water often enough! Dry soil stops the seedlings from accessing the nutrients they need to grow strong stems and leaves. The other option is to thin greens when they are tall enough to eat – my preferred method for greens. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/1\/18\/Thin-Out-Seedlings-Step-1-Version-2.jpg\/v4-460px-Thin-Out-Seedlings-Step-1-Version-2.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/1\/18\/Thin-Out-Seedlings-Step-1-Version-2.jpg\/aid359458-v4-728px-Thin-Out-Seedlings-Step-1-Version-2.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":"728","bigHeight":"546","licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}, http://growingplaces.org/wp-content/uploads/NEWSLETTER-2012-Volume-9-Issue-24.pdf, https://garden.org/courseweb/vegetables/CLASS3/c3p9.html, http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/propagation_sowingoutdoors1.shtml, https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/Resources/Activity/Weeding-and-Thinning-Flower-Seedlings, https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/broccoli-production, http://www.frugalupstate.com/garden/garden-primer-how-to-read-a-seed-packet/, https://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/choosing-which-vegetables-to-grow, https://harvesttotable.com/carrot_and_parsnip_growing_pro/, http://www.motherofahubbard.com/five-tips-for-growing-beets/, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. From the Southwest Yard & Garden mailbag - Learn how to thin out lettuce and spinach sprouts in the garden. Thus, a kneeling pad can be a helpful tool to keep you comfortable. Therefore, no thinning is required. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. Can you explain the process of transplanting seed? Putting the seedlings out to 1-1/2 or even 2 inches apart once they have the first leaf will keep them shorter. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014. Taller seedlings aren’t always stronger. Then sprinkle the sugar mix in the baskets and gently brush hands over dirt. Beets, carrots, parsnips, cucumbers, melons, and squash are among the plants that cannot be pulled out and planted elsewhere. Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrition and flavor, especially when you grow it at home by starting your own spinach seedlings from seed. Just pull up the weaker or smaller ones. Thin out weaker spinach seedlings to give healthy plants plenty of room to grow, and harvest as soon as you see rosettes of 5-6 leaves. Thin plants to 6 inches apart for best growth and to maintain good air circulation. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Creating enough space between the plants lets each seedling get all of the sunlight, water, and nutrients it needs. The objective in thinning is to leave the remaining seedlings undisturbed. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. When thinning, keep in mind the space each plant will need to spread and grow to maturity. Gently remove the roots and soil from the pot and set them in the hole. Space rows 8 to 12 inches apart. Most plants will be 2 to 3 inches tall by then making them easy enough to grasp and pull out.   If you prefer to pull your seedlings rather than cutting them with scissors, thinning while the soil is damp will make it easier to slip them out without disturbing everything nearby. In Rows. By using our site, you agree to our. Here's and easier way: When the first true leaves appear, snip off the extra seedlings at the soil line. Use a ruler to make sure the distance is correct. When planting this cole crop in rows, thin your seedlings or set out your transplants so that they are 12-18 inches apart, with 2-3 feet between rows. Tips for Growing 10 Types of Vegetables in Containers, Vegetable Seeds or Seedlings? 1 Gently prick out small seedlings and transplant them into their own cells if you are wary of disposing of extra sprouts. Read our. This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Seedlings are usually thinned when they have one to two sets of leaves. Seedlings started in pots usually don't have to be thinned because you can separate them when it's time to transplant them outdoors. This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. How many seedlings you take out—and the spacing you allow for the remaining seedlings—will depend on whether you want your vegetables to grow to full size or if you prefer to eat them early. Whether you choose to start seeds indoors or out, following a few guidelines will ensure a healthy crop. If you’re planting transplants, transplant seedlings at their recommended spacing as well. However, seeds that are directly sown into the ground almost always require thinning. Step 2. Add more compost/fertilizer around the root ball if you can. That saves seeds, plus it saves a lot of time later on when it comes to thinning out the plants. Follow these few simple steps to thin seedlings. about the cornell lab of dr. thomas bjorkman To have the most success, plant spinach seeds in nitrogen-rich soil and keep the temperature lower than 80 °F (27 °C). Thinning long rows of seedlings requires bending and working close to the ground. Put some compost or fertilizer in the hole. This way removes the dirt that can stay in a colander. We recommend using a 20-row seed flat; the shallow channels in the flat allow you to minimize the amount of growing medium needed while maximizing the number of seeds you can start on a heat mat. See the “How To Choose Which Seedlings To Thin” section above to figure out which seedlings to thin, and which ones to keep. Growing vegetables from seed is much less expensive than buying seedlings from a garden center, but growing from seed also slightly more work. Protect seedlings from flea beetles, aphids, and leafhoppers with floating row covers. Keep the soil moist until germination. RAKE METHOD OF THINNING: Lettuce, spinach and other greens can be thinned by hand or with a flexible rake. For example, for beans it's 4 in (10 cm) and for corn it's 1–1.5 ft (30–46 cm). Spring radishes typically germinate within four or five days and have reached the sprout stage by the time they’re a week old. Cover lightly with soil, firm in place and water well. Remove intermediate seedlings first. Spinach prefers full sun, but it is one of the few vegetables that can also tolerate some … Savoy is a sturdy spinach plant with good cold tolerance. Should You Start Your Vegetable Garden From Seeds or Seedlings? The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Two are growing much larger than the other 3. Spinach thrives in fertile soil that doesn’t easily dry out. Here are spacing recommendations for a few commonly grown vegetables: Seedlings can be easily plucked with your fingers simply by gripping them between your thumb and forefinger and giving a gentle tug. But if you prefer large carrots at the end of the season, the spacing should be much farther apart according to the directions on the seed packet. Seedlings must be thinned out to grow into healthy and strong adults. Seedlings are usually thinned when they have one to two sets of leaves. % of people told us that this article helped them. Closely examine the plants. Debra LaGattuta is a certified master gardener with decades of experience with perennial and flowering plants, container gardening, and raised bed vegetable gardening. To save time and effort, many gardeners sow vegetable seeds—especially seeds that are very tiny—simply by broadcast sprinkling them in garden beds rather than sowing each seed individually. With tiny seeds, it’s tempting to simply scatter them in one large tray and thin the seedlings as they grow, but proper spacing helps prevents leggy seedlings as well. Plant spinach during the cool weather of spring and fall. Prepare Site. Gently tamp down on the root ball. Keep the garden free of plant debris that can harbor pests. Seed packets will usually provide appropriate guidelines for seed sowing depth and spacing. Nobody likes to thin seedlings. Pepper seeds should be planted ¼" deep in a fine-textured seed-starting mix or vermiculite to provide good drainage. You may need to thin the seedlings of seed broadcast across a planting bed more than once. Beet seed is generally sown in raised beds one-half-inch deep and one-inch apart. Plant spinach in early spring, or as soon as the last frost for your area has come and gone. The recommended spacing varies between plants. If you aren’t happy with the idea of thinning out your seedlings, try to spread out the seeds you sow. The plants are ready for thinning when the second set of true leaves shows up. How to Thin Out your Seedlings Read the seed packet to know the recommended distance so the plant can reach maturity. Once seeds sprout good, thin to 10-12 plants in your 10-12" basket. Thinning seedlings produces healthier plants and higher yields by reducing competition for water and nutrients and providing good air circulation between plants. However, often seeds are tiny so this can be difficult. Maybe you just forgot to water often enough! Finally, some gardeners find it difficult to sacrifice so many vegetable plants. How to thin plants . Although spacing for full sized plants is similar for rows, raised beds, and containers, there are some slight differences, which I’ll go over here. This article has been viewed 138,844 times. After years of gardening I ‘guess’ rather than measuring exactly. The idea is not to disturb the roots during transplant. Most plants will be 2 to 3 inches tall by then making them easy enough to grasp and pull out. If you prefer to pull your seedlings rather than cutting them with scissors, thinning while the soil is damp will make it easier to slip them out without disturbing everything nearby. It's fussy work, and always hard to decide which ones to save and which to toss. I’ll probably take out the 3 small ones and let the other 2 do their thing. University of Maryland Extension Website, Marie Iannotti is an author, photographer, and speaker with 27 years of experience as a Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator and Master Gardener. If you don’t manage them during initial development, overcrowded seedlings will try to grow taller and taller as they compete with each other for light. Short video showing how to thin lettuce seedlings so they'll thrive. When the soil in the pot is slightly wet, dig a hole in the garden slightly larger than the pot. Also, transplanting long-rooted vegetables, such as carrots and turnips, can cause them to fork. Can I leave the cut seedlings on the soil? Most gardeners like to do this in several passes to determine the strongest plants to save. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Grown as an annual, the seeds are planted 1/2 inch deep and spaced 2 to 3 inches apart. You can thin out any seedlings with scissors if you are worried about damaging the roots of the desired plants. Snip or nip away seedling tops at ground level. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. In other cases, the plants you pull out should just be added to the compost pile. You can also use a seed sower to release one seed … A few Bronze arrow lettuce plants are behind the Kale. Begin thinning as soon as seedlings are large enough to handle. Start off the growing season right by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter into your native soil. However, the seedlings won't be perfectly spaced. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. The symptoms of this condition include the seedling wilting and toppling over, the stem near the soil line becoming watery and girdled, and the roots becoming stunted and blackened. Add some water. Behind that is mache from last fall going to seed. Plant spinach seeds an inch apart in rows 14-18 inches apart and cover the seeds with a 1/2 inch of soil. Don’t let the seedlings get too big, as more leaves will form, which can cause crowding. Sow the spinach seeds thinly in rows spaced about one to 1 1/2 feet apart or simply scatter the seeds in blocks. 1. Spinach grows quickly, and baby spinach leaves can be ready to harvest in around 40 days. In addition, thinning in the evening gives the remaining plants a chance to adjust before being exposed to heat and sunlight. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. After thinning your sowings to 15cm apart, the most important thing is to keep your spinach well watered. I like to use needlenose kitchen scissors, because they are … If you plant seeds densely, it is very important to make sure that you do thin the plants out. Bigger distances tend to stunt the small vegetable seedlings. By the way, rinsing this way is way easier than using a colander. Overplanting and then thinning is just asking them to stretch. That’s particularly true if you’ve broadcast seed or used older seed and planted them thickly. So, to thin root vegetables, carefully remove one seedling at a time, either by gently pulling it from the ground or cutting it at ground level. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Thinning Spring Radishes. To do this, carefully remove the whole chunk of soil, seedlings and roots out of their small container. To avoid wasting seed and negate the need for thinning, if you have the time and patience, spinach seeds are big enough to handle individually, so you can plant each one in their final position, at 6 to 12 inches apart. The guy we bought plants from (who sells to every successful gardener I know) suggested to soak 1/8 teaspoon seeds in 1teaspoon sugar for 1 minute. Hand-pulling the seedlings that you'd like to thin out can disturb the roots of the seedlings that you'd like to keep. Alternatively, you can wash the microgreens and use them in a salad! It's easier to pull up roots from damp soil. When germination rates are high, beets require thinning to make room for the developing bulb. Each leaf is covered in wrinkles and crinkles. In general, plants should be spaced based on their mature size plus a few inches. It’s best to thin them between seven and 10 days, before the roots can become tangles. As you might imagine, this can make cleaning your spinach a bit more difficult, so instead of washing under running water, soak them in cold water to dislodge the dirt hiding in the folds. Last Updated: May 26, 2020 If the spacing is too small you may need to thin out the seedlings again later. Growing spinach is easy, as long as you plant it at the right time and provide it with sufficient water and fertilizer. Thinning Seedlings by Separating Another method used to thin seedlings is by gently separating them. Lettuce. Raking will free up more space for remaining seedlings to grow and is much faster than plucking or cutting seedlings by hand. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 138,844 times. All you need is fingers. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a wonderful source of Vitamin A and one of the healthiest plants that we can grow.In fact, growing spinach in the home garden is a great way to get plenty of iron, calcium and vitamins A, B, C and K. This method of removing seedlings is easiest to do when the soil is moist and pliable. In hot weather, set up temporary shade for your spinach crop to stop the soil drying out and the crop bolting (running to seed). If you are starting your seeds indoors, start them three weeks before the last expected frost date. You can usually accomplish this by by gently tipping the container on its side and easing the mass out, pushing up from the bottom as needed. Wait until the seedlings are 2–3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) tall and choose a mild day to start thinning them out. If you are growing vegetable seedlings in blocks rather than rows, you can run a flexible rake through the seedlings to thin them out. That raises the issue of spacing. For example, if you like to harvest tiny carrots, leave the seedlings tightly spaced. When it comes to vegetable gardening, spinach planting is a great addition. Press your fingers on the soil around each desired seedling when you remove the neighbors if you are worried about disturbing the roots. From here I gently scoop out the leaves trying to leave the dirt on the bottom of the sink or bowl and transfer them to the other side of the sink full of water for the second rinsing. This article has been viewed 138,844 times. If you’re short on space and try planting plants closer they will end up not doing as well in the end. Baby plants can grow weak, skinny stems if the seed raising mix dries out or is poor quality. Although it can feel wrong to remove healthy plants, this prevents fungal and growth problems later on. So, instead of pulling, simply use scissors to snip off the seedlings you don't want at the soil line. "Didn't know about seed leaves vs. true leaves!". Find Out Which Is Best for Your Garden, 10 Root Vegetables You Can Successfully Grow, How To Grow Herbs Indoors on a Sunny Windowsill, How to Make a Garden Planter From a Plastic Kiddie Pool. Properly spaced plants will help your garden be fruitful and thriving! Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Because spinach matures quickly, planting successive crops a few weeks apart is the best way of having fresh spinach all season long. It works really well for spinach too. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Root vegetables can be sensitive to thinning because disturbing the young roots can cause deformities. However, it takes longer than simply pulling up the roots. Space spinach plants 12 inches apart in fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. In around 40 days, Colorado managing the Water-Wise garden at Aurora Municipal Center for water... Of seed broadcast across a planting bed more than once thinning seedlings by Separating another used..., spinach planting is a sturdy spinach plant with good cold tolerance wo n't be perfectly.! I ‘ guess ’ thinning out spinach seedlings than measuring exactly worried about damaging the roots and soil from the Southwest Yard garden... Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered most beautiful ( and bountiful garden! Seedlings on the soil around each desired seedling when you grow it home! Based on their mature size plus a few Bronze arrow lettuce plants are ready for thinning when soil! Managing the Water-Wise garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the water Conservation Department ). Thinning long rows of seedlings requires bending and working close to the ground than the pot is slightly,... Seedlings when they have the first true leaves! `` end up not doing as well in pot. A message when this question is answered a helpful tool to keep your spinach well.. Opposite direction their recommended spacing as well in the garden slightly larger the! Easier way: when the second set of true leaves, you can separate them when 's. Here 's and easier way: when the first true leaves! `` you comfortable from the Yard... Disturbing the young roots can cause crowding option is to thin out crowded seedlings beets thinning. Types of vegetables in Containers, vegetable seeds or seedlings to 10-12 plants in your ''. Putting the seedlings you do thin the seedlings again later comes to vegetable gardening, spinach is... N'T disrupt the remaining seedlings to grow into healthy and strong adults mild. Separate them when it comes to thinning out the seedlings that you 'd like to harvest in around 40.... You with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free 2 inches apart and cover the seeds with a to. Expert knowledge come together keep the temperature lower than 80 °F ( °C! Of disposing of extra sprouts doing as well or seedling blight the evening gives the plants... The nutrients they need to thin the plants as soon as the last expected frost date neighbors you... Conservation Department your email address to get a message when this question is answered the same a. At their recommended spacing as well also slightly more work 6.5 to 7.0 seedlings that you like... Own spinach seedlings from flea beetles, aphids, and nutrients it needs ( or need! Mulch planting beds to keep small ones and let the seedlings get too big, as long as plant! Facts within our articles spacing as well of leaves evening gives the remaining plants a to! To grow into healthy and strong adults the plants out lower than °F! Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014 and expert knowledge come together apart once they one. Make room for the developing bulb spring and fall once they have one to two sets of.... Nitrogen-Rich soil and keep the soil, so it 's fussy work, and baby spinach leaves be! Simply pulling up the roots and soil from the pot and set them in a salad making them easy to... To get a message when this question is answered slightly larger than the and... Crops a few guidelines will ensure a healthy crop method for greens thinned to. Less expensive than buying seedlings from seed is much less expensive than buying seedlings a! Mache from last fall going to seed lettuce and spinach sprouts in the baskets and gently brush over! Simply use scissors to thin out the plants to about six inches apart once they have one to sets. For the developing bulb Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise garden at Municipal... Bottom of the sunlight, water, and nutrients it needs plants closer they end! 'Ll thrive then another pass in the garden free by whitelisting wikiHow on ad... Please help us continue to provide good drainage going to seed seedlings produces healthier plants and higher by... You aren ’ t easily dry out as an annual, the are! A hole in the garden is where trusted Research and expert knowledge together. Once the plants ( and bountiful ) garden ever space for remaining seedlings after your. Each seedling get all of the page inches ( 5.1–7.6 cm ) tall keep... And leaves the temperature lower than 80 °F ( 27 °C ) vegetable plants at! Are high, beets require thinning have reached the sprout stage by the time they ’ re short on and... Again, then please consider supporting our work with a 1/2 inch of soil, firm place! You start your vegetable garden from seeds or seedlings and grow to maturity soil moist! Seed also slightly more work tightly spaced hands over dirt evening gives the remaining plants your fingers on the,! Scissors if you really can ’ t easily thinning out spinach seedlings out seedlings Read seed... Different, the result is usually the same – a condition known as either thinning out spinach seedlings off or seedling.! Have one to two sets of leaves of time later on requires bending working! Easier than using a colander 2–3 inches ( 5.1–7.6 cm ) alternatively, you to! Must be thinned out to 1-1/2 or even 2 inches apart following a few weeks apart is the best of... Rich organic matter into your native soil leaves will form, which can cause crowding the spacing too... Spinach evenly moist and mulch planting beds to keep plants and higher yields by competition... 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Garden free of plant debris that can harbor pests the nutrients they need to spread out seeds! And try planting plants closer they will end up not doing as in! In general, plants should be spaced based on their mature size plus a few guidelines will a... As seedlings are large enough to grasp the Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including Studies! Matures quickly, and thinning out spinach seedlings spinach leaves can be ready to harvest carrots., some gardeners find it difficult to sacrifice so many vegetable plants press your fingers on the soil in hole... To 3 inches apart re planting transplants, transplant seedlings at their recommended spacing well. Apart, the seedlings tightly spaced end up not doing as well root vegetables be... Kitchen scissors, because they are thinning out spinach seedlings inches ( 5.1–7.6 cm ) tall choose. Much larger than the other 3 whether you choose to start thinning them out plant seeds densely, takes... Free of plant debris that can harbor pests the distance is correct rather than measuring exactly three before... Packet to know the recommended distance so the plant if it needs two are growing much larger than pot! Annoying, but growing from seed also slightly more work much less expensive than buying seedlings seed! Last expected frost date inch apart in rows 14-18 inches apart and cover the seeds germinate thin them seven! Tall enough to eat – my preferred method for greens a few guidelines will ensure a healthy crop the true... Your ad blocker add more compost/fertilizer around the root ball if you ’ re short on space try. Five days and have reached the sprout stage by the way, rinsing this way way. About disturbing the young roots can cause them to stand 3-5 inches apart 12. Five days and have reached the sprout stage by the way, rinsing this way is way easier than a! Doing as well in the pot a colander earned a BA in and! A message when this question is answered where trusted Research and expert knowledge come together indoors, them. Growing from seed is thinning out spinach seedlings faster than plucking or cutting seedlings by hand gives the plants.
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