However, seeds that are directly sown into the ground almost always require thinning. Remove intermediate seedlings first. 1. Here's and easier way: When the first true leaves appear, snip off the extra seedlings at the soil line. This method of removing seedlings is easiest to do when the soil is moist and pliable. 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. 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. Spinach thrives in fertile soil that doesn’t easily dry out. Most plants will be 2 to 3 inches tall by then making them easy enough to grasp and pull out. References. After years of gardening I ‘guess’ rather than measuring exactly. So, instead of pulling, simply use scissors to snip off the seedlings you don't want at the soil line. The idea is not to disturb the roots during transplant. Plant spinach seeds an inch apart in rows 14-18 inches apart and cover the seeds with a 1/2 inch of soil. 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. Debra LaGattuta is a certified master gardener with decades of experience with perennial and flowering plants, container gardening, and raised bed vegetable gardening. In addition, thinning in the evening gives the remaining plants a chance to adjust before being exposed to heat and sunlight. If you plant seeds densely, it is very important to make sure that you do thin the plants out. Keep the soil moist until germination. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. Beet seed is generally sown in raised beds one-half-inch deep and one-inch apart. Once the plants have a grown their true leaves, you can begin to thin the plants to about six inches apart. Space spinach plants 12 inches apart in fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. Follow these few simple steps to thin seedlings. Wait until the seedlings are 2–3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) tall and choose a mild day to start thinning them out. Just pull up the weaker or smaller ones. If you aren’t happy with the idea of thinning out your seedlings, try to spread out the seeds you sow. From the Southwest Yard & Garden mailbag - Learn how to thin out lettuce and spinach sprouts in the garden. All you need is fingers. 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. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. 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. Each leaf is covered in wrinkles and crinkles. In hot weather, set up temporary shade for your spinach crop to stop the soil drying out and the crop bolting (running to seed). Thinning seedlings produces healthier plants and higher yields by reducing competition for water and nutrients and providing good air circulation between plants. You may need to thin the seedlings of seed broadcast across a planting bed more than once. Can I leave the cut seedlings on the soil? Seedlings are usually thinned when they have one to two sets of leaves. % of people told us that this article helped them. I’ll probably take out the 3 small ones and let the other 2 do their thing. Properly spaced plants will help your garden be fruitful and thriving! 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. Then sprinkle the sugar mix in the baskets and gently brush hands over dirt. Thinning can disturb the soil, so it's best to lightly mist the remaining seedlings after thinning to rejuvenate the plants. Lettuce. about the cornell lab of dr. thomas bjorkman Keep the soil moist and after the seeds germinate thin them to stand 3-5 inches apart. Root vegetables can be sensitive to thinning because disturbing the young roots can cause deformities. Learn tips for creating your most beautiful (and bountiful) garden ever. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. How to Thin Out your Seedlings Read the seed packet to know the recommended distance so the plant can reach maturity. Closely examine the plants. Put some compost or fertilizer in the hole. Keep spinach evenly moist and mulch planting beds to keep the soil cool. Read our. If you’re short on space and try planting plants closer they will end up not doing as well in the end. Therefore, no thinning is required. Stake the plant if it needs (or will need) support. When thinning, keep in mind the space each plant will need to spread and grow to maturity. Beets, carrots, parsnips, cucumbers, melons, and squash are among the plants that cannot be pulled out and planted elsewhere. Spring radishes typically germinate within four or five days and have reached the sprout stage by the time they’re a week old. Maybe you just forgot to water often enough! She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014. Begin thinning as soon as seedlings are large enough to handle. Short video showing how to thin lettuce seedlings so they'll thrive. After thinning your sowings to 15cm apart, the most important thing is to keep your spinach well watered. Gently prick out small seedlings and transplant them into their own cells if you are wary of disposing of extra sprouts. Start off the growing season right by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter into your native soil. Avoid choosing tall and spindly seedlings, as these may not become healthy adults. Also, transplanting long-rooted vegetables, such as carrots and turnips, can cause them to fork. Finally, some gardeners find it difficult to sacrifice so many vegetable plants. Seed packets will usually provide appropriate guidelines for seed sowing depth and spacing. 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. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. It's fussy work, and always hard to decide which ones to save and which to toss. Putting the seedlings out to 1-1/2 or even 2 inches apart once they have the first leaf will keep them shorter. Baby plants can grow weak, skinny stems if the seed raising mix dries out or is poor quality. Seedlings started in pots usually don't have to be thinned because you can separate them when it's time to transplant them outdoors. Seedlings are usually thinned when they have one to two sets of leaves. You can also use a seed sower to release one seed … Take one pass with the rake and then another pass in the opposite direction. The recommended spacing varies between plants. This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. This way removes the dirt that can stay in a colander. Thin the seedlings when they are 2–3 inches (5.1–7.6 cm) tall. Overplanting and then thinning is just asking them to stretch. Whether you choose to start seeds indoors or out, following a few guidelines will ensure a healthy crop. RAKE METHOD OF THINNING: Lettuce, spinach and other greens can be thinned by hand or with a flexible rake. Spinach prefers full sun, but it is one of the few vegetables that can also tolerate some … Press your fingers on the soil around each desired seedling when you remove the neighbors if you are worried about disturbing the roots. Use garden snips or a scissors to thin out crowded seedlings. That saves seeds, plus it saves a lot of time later on when it comes to thinning out the plants. 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. Step 2. Tips for Growing 10 Types of Vegetables in Containers, Vegetable Seeds or Seedlings? Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. 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. That raises the issue of spacing. 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. Because spinach matures quickly, planting successive crops a few weeks apart is the best way of having fresh spinach all season long. By the way, rinsing this way is way easier than using a colander. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. That way, you shouldn't disrupt the remaining plants. Use a ruler to make sure the distance is correct. Alternatively, you can wash the microgreens and use them in a salad! Taller seedlings aren’t always stronger. Dry soil stops the seedlings from accessing the nutrients they need to grow strong stems and leaves. However, it takes longer than simply pulling up the roots. Sow the spinach seeds thinly in rows spaced about one to 1 1/2 feet apart or simply scatter the seeds in blocks. It works really well for spinach too. 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. If you’re planting transplants, transplant seedlings at their recommended spacing as well. 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. 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 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. Prepare Site. Raking will free up more space for remaining seedlings to grow and is much faster than plucking or cutting seedlings by hand. However, the seedlings won't be perfectly spaced. Spinach grows quickly, and baby spinach leaves can be ready to harvest in around 40 days. Last Updated: May 26, 2020 Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. When germination rates are high, beets require thinning to make room for the developing bulb. Growing vegetables from seed is much less expensive than buying seedlings from a garden center, but growing from seed also slightly more work. Plant spinach in early spring, or as soon as the last frost for your area has come and gone. Seedlings must be thinned out to grow into healthy and strong adults. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 138,844 times. 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. [1] X Research source It's easiest to wait until the seedlings are tall enough to grasp. This article has been viewed 138,844 times. 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. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. 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. 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. Cover lightly with soil, firm in place and water well. It's easier to pull up roots from damp soil. Plant spinach during the cool weather of spring and fall. Snip or nip away seedling tops at ground level. 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. That’s particularly true if you’ve broadcast seed or used older seed and planted them thickly. Nobody likes to thin seedlings. Thus, a kneeling pad can be a helpful tool to keep you comfortable. If you are starting your seeds indoors, start them three weeks before the last expected frost date. 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. A few Bronze arrow lettuce plants are behind the Kale. Hand-pulling the seedlings that you'd like to thin out can disturb the roots of the seedlings that you'd like to keep. Although the sources are different, the result is usually the same – a condition known as either damping off or seedling blight. However, often seeds are tiny so this can be difficult. The plants are ready for thinning when the second set of true leaves shows up. I like to use needlenose kitchen scissors, because they are … Although it can feel wrong to remove healthy plants, this prevents fungal and growth problems later on. 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