There have been few gardening pleasures more rewarding to me than to watch a plant emerge from its hard shell. How amazing that a dry packet of DNA and proteins combine with water and light and chemistry to bring a dormant embryonic plant up from the soil. When I studied biology in college, I remember being amazed, and sometimes lost in marvel, as my mind took me into thoughts of such wonderful things as cellular Golgi bodies or phloem and xylem. I wanted the professor to slow down and let such glories sink in. What a Creator! who designs such things with so many contingencies that nothing could come about without the other thing in full maturity. The plant is a living machine of complexity and wonderful forethought. How great to grow one, or several hundred, from a seed!

Considering that, how hard it is for me to thin seedlings when they come up!

It just seems brutal to hack down, pinch out, cut or pull up a living organism when it just gets going. But that’s life. Thinning is necessary, but I don’t have to enjoy it. What I enjoy are the results of not being too sentimental about one’s plants. If you start seeds, you will have to thin. If you direct sow seeds, you will have to thin. Its just part of it.

Here is a short how-to on thinning seedlings. Its simple, but if you need another, here’s one more.

I just sprouted a bunch of mustard green seeds (Southern Giant Curled), tiny little seeds indeed. I sprinkled them over the peat packs rather than trying to put one or two at a time on each. The germination rate was pretty much 100% and they came up in less than two days. I had hundreds of little seedlings stretching upward toward the light. Thinning had to be done, there were maybe six to twelve little sprouts on each peat pack. I hate thinning a forest of seedlings, but out came the shears and I snipped all but the healthiest looking little sprout.

Looking forward to some greens, and I’ll have some to share with friends.