I root for the underdog. I’m loyal to my team even when they lose. I still make excuses when my twenty year old throws a fit about taking out the trash. “He’s tired, he hasn’t been sleeping well lately.” When it comes down to it, I generally try to avoid the big d word. Discipline. There, I’ve said it. Now if only that were enough.
Plant discipline. It must be done. What does this entail and, more importantly, how do I get around it? When it comes down to it, there is no getting around it. Specifically this discipline, thinning seedlings, pruning, training climbers and weeding.
We put all our gardening hopes and dreams in to planting our microscopic seeds. We water them, but don’t over water them. We carefully weigh the pros and cons of the heated seed mats. We turn the peat pots exactly 1/4 of an inch every day so the light can evenly bathe our little beauties. So, what do the books say to do next?
“Rip up the weaker of the three, leaving only the strongest.” Are you kidding me? They’re all my babies. How can I choose. Flashbacks of Sophie…the room is going dark…. Would I have kept Ryan because he could read when he was four but gotten rid of Patrick because he’s dyslexic? Okay, hold on, reign in the drama.
The simple fact is, if you weed your seedlings, the plant that remains will be stronger and you’ll get better yields from it. I completely understand that in my head. I completely know it is an absolute must to thin seedlings. So, here’s what I do instead.
For some plants, I just suck it up and clip them off at dirt level when the strongest seedling has reached four true leaves. I do this for plants that are easily disturbed. I clip instead of pulling because if you pull, you can disrupt the roots of the strong plant you are intending to keep.
With germination rates of seeds, it is important to plant more seeds than plants you actually want. However, seeds do have a much higher chance for germination than in bygone years.