Our Salina students are now busy thinning plants. Because we wanted to ensure germination we didn’t start seeds out with the desired final spacing. Instead, we sowed more than we hoped for in order to improve our chances. We now have more than our space can handle and it’s time to start thinning. Once seedlings have at least 1 set of true leaves (seedlings always start out with sprout leaves which eventually turn yellow and wilt–it does not mean your seedlings are unhealthy) it is time to start thinning.
We thin our seedlings in order to give them the right amount of space they need. If we don’t give our plants the growing room they need, they will start competing for water and minerals which will eventually inhibit growth.
This is our first time thinning and we wanted to leave about an inch between each seedling. Larger seedlings need about 2-3 inches of space on each side. We are not thinning to the desired amount of space because we want to get more out of our crop–in about 1-2 weeks we will thin again and use them to make salad.
Thinnings have a tremendous amount of nutrients so feel free to harvested and toss into your salad. Rather than tossing them, you can also re-plant in pots or other areas in your garden. Below is an example of a pot in Mrs. Alheyasi’s classroom that is being used to grow some of our seedlings.