Saturday, June 01, 2013


Last week I wrote about planting Lupins that I had grown from seed near our Manitoba cottage in the hopes that they will naturalize and spread over years to come.

I also asked the question of thinning the seedlings - is it really necessary to plant three and then thin down or is it just a great way to sell seeds? It it was hard to thin out my seedlings after having nurtured them for weeks, starting way back when there was still three feet of snow on the ground.
Too hard in fact.           I could not do it.

In a situation like the one above I ripped open the peat container and split it in two and even sometimes three so I could plant all of the seedlings.  Perhaps it seems to have worked with lupins because their long tap root grows straight down and does not tangle with the others. 
It just felt wasteful after so much work to cut back anything that appeared to have a healthy chance.  
I certainly had the space. 

Only time will tell if my strategy has been successful.  In the interim, I have planted two more trays of lupins - one seed per cup - that I will continue to transplant around the cottage later this summer.

Wish me luck!

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  1. It is not a way to sell more seeds. Sometimes you just need to get more started because fewer make it. You are perfectly fine to plant the extras if you have space and want them, or make friends with other gardeners and give them away. I've learned that in some cases, you must actually snip the extra seedlings (murderer!) off at the soil line with a scissors, because trying to extricate your chosen one leads to damage. But I'm with you and try to salvage all growing plants that might be happy somewhere.

    1. I am going to have to take your advice for weeding my garden too and clip weeds that really should have their roots removed for fear of damaging the plants they are close to. Maybe if I keep snipping away at them they will eventually die - the roots can only hold so much energy, right??

  2. Yes, it's true that you need to plant extra to account for those that don't germinate. After a fair amount of experience with seedlings, I've learned that, hard as it is, it's usually best to just clip off the weaker ones at the soil line and leave just one to grow in its little cup or pod or peat pot. The one you leave has the chance to grow much stronger that way. I assuage my guilt a little by chucking the rejected seedlings into the compost! Sometimes separating the individual pod into two plants damages root systems, and it can cause the baby plants more transplant shock. That being said, this year I started jalapeno peppers, and had one little pot in which the two seedlings looked like identical twins. It was truly impossible to decide which one to clip! I ended up waiting about two extra weeks before I could bring myself to do it!

    1. I had great luck with my Lupins but horrible luck with my Dianthus, and mediocre with my Daisies. But now that I have started playing with seeds as well as plants you can bet that I will attempt it again next year!


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