It's time to vote on our 2017 photo contest! Vote for your favorite photos of the year here!

Thinning Seedlings...

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

Do all veggie seeds have to be thinned? If not, which ones do not have to be?
How about herbs and flowers...same question.

Missouri City, TX

Depends on how far apart you plant the seeds. Most directions suggest planting too close (but I think that is just so the seed companies can sell more seeds). Some of the seeds are so tiny, that it is hard not to overplant. If you plan to harvest some "young" plants, then thinning will give you that produce. If not, add them to the compost. I try to me more conservative and space the seeds further apart, but it is not always successful.

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

Thanks Bubba!

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

agree, Usually just the small seeds or multiple seeds. Carrots, beets, leaf lettuce etc almost always need thinning. Beans, peas, corn almost never. Wide spaced plants like watermelons and cantaloupes are usually planted with extra seeds in the hill to insure a good stand, then the surplus is thinned.

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

Great information for outdoor seedlings! But I was mostly interested in the indoor seedlings for veggies and herbs.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

The only indoor veggies that I know are grown for transplants, ie cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers etc. These are removed from the seedling trays, transplanted into larger containers, and then placed in their final outdoor destination when they attain suffient size. The concept of thinning does not compute for me here, Thinning for me is for direct seeded plants.

Rome, GA(Zone 7b)

Hi Pinger,

Do you have some plasic containers with a lot of seedlings competing with each other for space? If so it's time to 'pot-up' into styrofoam cups or something where they can each have their own space to get larger. The rule I used was to move them when they got their first or second set of true-leaves or when they were shading each other out. Tomatoes and Peppers specifically need more room since theyre such big plants. If you don't have enough room for all the seedlings, you can just pot up the ones you have room for. For herbs like mint, catnip and oregano I generally put 2 plants into a cup, pot or whatever and they seem to do fine.

You can just use a scissors and cut off the stems on some of them too and leave just a few plants to grow bigger, but this won't work as well because transplanting them encourages more root growth.

Also, if you're thinning things with edible leaves like lettuce cut or snip some of the plants and eat them. I had a nice snack while thinning a flat of lettuce plants. ( I was stupid to grow lettuce for transplant, grew like weeds and was a pain to transplant out into the garden.)


Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b) apologies. I am trying so hard to do everything right...I think my gourd is screwed on a little too tight.
You're right, you're absolutely right. And I have no earthly idea where I got that you had to thin out seedlings. But I'm glad you put my mind to rest because I've been searching high and low for more info on that, not to mention staring at my seedlings, trying to decide which ones to give the ole heave ho to... What a relief. Whew.

Mooresville, NC(Zone 7b)

Thanks Jeff...
I think Pinger is catching on now...hee hee.
But why was it hard to transplant the lettuce? What made it difficult?

Rome, GA(Zone 7b)

Well, I am very bad at sowing small seeds. I just don't have the dexterity or patience for it so there was a ton of small plants and they aren't like my cabbage or tomatoes, they're just very delicate and hard to grab on to.

I've done some outside and I messed them up too, but outside I can let them get to a decent size and just eat them:)

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Leaf lettuce is best direct sown and thinned, but head lettuce like iceberg or Bibb is best transplanted. It takes up some space.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

when I started lettuce indoors, I would get large tender floppy leaves that were just hard to handle and easy to tear or get in the way of other things.

Independence, MO(Zone 6a)

Have you tried mixing the tiny seed with sand? I've read that it makes the seed easier to sow evenly.

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.