Field Notes

How to Thin and Transplant Seedlings

How to thin and transplant seedlings

For those new to the world of growing herbs and vegetables from seed, it is a bit unnerving trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do with the crowded clumps of seedlings that sprout up a few weeks after you’ve planted the seeds. Despite best intentions, it’s hard to plant certain tiny seeds, such as lettuce, spaced according to the instructions listed on the seed packets. And, some seeds that look large are actually clusters of seeds which, by definition, will produce a clump of seedlings. Furthermore, if you start your seeds indoors, as many people living in northern climates do, it’s not practical to plant the seeds properly spaced out, initially, anyway. So, once the seedlings make an appearance, what are you supposed to do to follow the planting instructions that direct you to ‘thin plants to xx inches apart’, and, when, exactly?

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