HOME > Chowhound > Gardening >
What have you made lately? Get great advice
TELL US

The Cut Throat Wins!

s
Sal Vanilla Feb 7, 2013 09:42 PM

I try every year to sway my hubs to thin the veggie herd, but bless his loving soul he cannot thin the sproutlings. But you faint of veggie guillotine heart, they need to be thinned to thrive. Otherwise you are wasting seen, fertilizer, water and time.

Print this off and give it to your ever so loving other OR give yourself heart to ruthlessly thin your vegetable garden seedling while le wimp is elsewhere (eyes averted).

Now that I have made way - - what have you to offer me to get the Spring juices flowing??

  1. j
    Jerseygirl111 Feb 8, 2013 08:53 PM

    It's so true. You prepare the mix, plant the tiny seeds and keep evenly moist...then bam! you have all these tender seedlings. It seems so heartless to cut them down when they are just beginning their life. I always think, well, maybe I can tuck another tomato in over...here!

    Since we are currently in the middle of a blizzard, I have been perusing the garden catalogs. Rose porn, daylily porn, bulb porn and veggie porn and daydreaming of May. Ahh. There is no garden like your dream garden.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Jerseygirl111
      s
      Sal Vanilla Feb 8, 2013 09:24 PM

      Rose porn. Snicker. I do peony and rose porn as well. Every year I plan a spot to clear for my dream rose (it is different every year) from here: http://www.heirloomroses.com/

      get the drool cup out before going there.

      Stay safe during the bliz.

      1. re: Sal Vanilla
        j
        Jerseygirl111 Feb 10, 2013 04:37 PM

        Not many looking at the garden stuff yet, only us zealots.

        BTW, you were correct about those roses. Yowza!

        A few years ago, nine actually, I was crazy into roses. Then, I got a job and they got neglected. Now I only have a few still hanging in there. I have 2 Scentimentals, a Queen Elizabeth, a Jadis, an Iceberg and a Comte de Chambord. When I say hanging in there, I mean I am lucky if I get a couple roses all year from each. I really need to get outside this year and work on the yard besides the veggie garden.

        1. re: Jerseygirl111
          j
          jumpingmonk Feb 11, 2013 05:07 AM

          How I handle this issue depends on the crop. With many of my plants I go full Herbert Spencer (i.e. "survial of the fittest") in my acts, tossing in excess seed and basically letting the plants fight it out amoungst themselves. Usually I only intervene when a clear winner has emerged (i.e. THEN I'll yank out the losers) or grant a reprieve in cases of a total failure elsewhere (i.e. if one tomato pot has actualy had NO plants survive, I may take some "also rans" from another pot and transplant them into the space.
          Probably the place where I am most agressive is the small beans. Each year as a part of a breeding experiment I am doing, I plant a qunatity of a small type of Asian bean, called a rice bean. Since the mixture I use is made up of whatever seeds from the previos year or years looked interesting to me, it is very genetically diverse and has both pole (climbing) plants and bush (upright) plants in it. I know from experiance that 1. the bush plants will flower and set pods, the pole will not) and 2. the pole outnumber the bush sometihng like 10-1 and 3. the pole outgrow the bush by a lot, and if left on thier own will strangle them. So what happens is that for the first four to eight weeks or so I am very careful to leave all the little plants in place (only removing those that have obviosly died) then I go literally pull crazy. Each day I go out and scrutinize the plants. If any show signs of becoming a pole type (elogating into a vine or beginning to climb) out it comes! ocassionally I will do a second thinning come flowering time, once about 10-20% of the plants flower, the rest are assumed not to be suitable for the climate and are also removed though this is onkly usually done if the amounts left after pull #1 are still large, which they rarely are (out of something like 2-300 seeds that went in last year I think two plants made it all the wat to pods and those didn't actually give me any seeds in the end (animals chewed the stems apart before the pods were mature.)

          1. re: jumpingmonk
            s
            Sal Vanilla Feb 11, 2013 01:39 PM

            I like your referring to your methods as granting reprieves. Lexicon of the vegexecutioner.

            1. re: jumpingmonk
              j
              Jerseygirl111 Feb 16, 2013 11:39 PM

              Why are you planting the pole beans if you just rip them out? And if you rip them out, how do they go to seed? I'm confused. Are you attempting to breed a bush-type rice bean?

              Jerseygirl111

            2. re: Jerseygirl111
              s
              Sal Vanilla Feb 11, 2013 01:49 PM

              I have a compte de Chambord on the side of my house. It is withering under the shade of a crazy azalea and an ugly ash tree my husband won't remove. The flower is so gorgeous, but I only get 3 or 4 big, full blooms and a few small ones. Also have an iceberg. I should take a pic of it for you to make you feel better. I have moved it twice trying to please it and it still refuses to thrive. I bought a bare root Sally Holmes climber when I bought the Iceberg - and I cannot cut it enough. People drive by our house and take pictures of it. Fabulous.

              I can't wait until Spring.

              Planting seeds for broc. romanesco, lettuce, cauliflower and cabbage today. I was told yesterday that if you tie the outer leaves around the cauli, the head will be tight. I am going to try it.

              1. re: Sal Vanilla
                j
                Jerseygirl111 Feb 16, 2013 11:44 PM

                Hmm. I always heard Icebergs were easy to grow and vigorous. Thought the failure to thrive was my fault, well the neglect part definitely is. Would love to see your Sally H. What zone are you?

                I just read that people are recycling their K-Cups as seed starter cups. There is already a small hole in the bottom for drainage. And you can throw the grinds in the garden. Great idea.

                Jerseygirl111

        2. zitronenmadchen Feb 11, 2013 12:47 PM

          I always feel terrible after thinning the seedlings, and I have to work my way up to it every time. Poor little plants.

          Since my yard (yay! I finally have a yard to plant things! No more porch container garden for me!) is currently under about three feet of snow, I'm planning out what's going to go in my herb garden, attempting to narrow down the vegetables I want to grow, and picking out flower seeds for my window boxes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: zitronenmadchen
            s
            Sal Vanilla Feb 11, 2013 01:38 PM

            My husband is incapable of thinning. He gets depressed if he even detects I have done it. I usually try to wake before him, slip out and thin, toss the greens into the salad bin and munch down all other evidence.

            This past year (that is when I started sneaking) hubs declared " See? You don't need to thin when you plant judiciously." I wanted to bonk him, but I just smiled.

          2. k
            kengk Feb 11, 2013 01:40 PM

            It can be hard to do.

            What I hate is that if I plant thinly to avoid much thinning I either get poor germination or some varmint eats some.

            Plant thick and every seed comes up and nothing bothers them.

            1 Reply
            1. re: kengk
              s
              Sal Vanilla Feb 11, 2013 11:19 PM

              So true. We just did our indoor sowing today. WAY over did it. The whole time he kept talking about the varmints. I told him we should transplant with a ring of mustards and radish. Trickem!

            2. Cherylptw Feb 11, 2013 04:45 PM

              I am with your husband for the most part; I don't usually thin out my plants unless I intentionally throw a bunch of seeds in a patch of dirt and when they get large enough to dig up and transplant, that's what I do. Otherwise, I plant so that everything has it's permanent home.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Cherylptw
                s
                Sal Vanilla Feb 11, 2013 11:17 PM

                My husband thinks he does your last sentence with the carrots (he sows them). I snip their little cute frilly tops right off at the dirt and he never knws the diff! : ))

                1. re: Sal Vanilla
                  Cherylptw Feb 12, 2013 05:31 PM

                  Lol! My bf is only in charge of tilling and making rows; I do the planting and sometimes even he doesnt know what's out there because he's on the "thin" side of the room...

              2. Shrinkrap Feb 12, 2013 10:14 PM

                I am not good about thinning but I plant in raised beds and try to space right for that. And sometimes I can eat the thinnings. I mixed some garlic in with my favas and vice versa. I already pulled the favas, but I"m going to wait to pull the garlic until they are big enough to eat.

                1. g
                  gimlis1mum Feb 13, 2013 06:56 PM

                  Over the years I have learned to resist the urge to start too many seeds. I do this mainly through using smaller and smaller "starting" trays - usually those plastic strawberry containers from the grocery store - so I only have 8-10 seedling to repot in the first place. A few get squished during transplant and then I'm down to a couple plants for my garden, and a couple for friends who forgot to start seeds.

                  Thinning directly-seeded plants has been even easier because my three-year-old's favorite game turns out to be "is this ripe?" and he eats a lot of the young leafy plants.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gimlis1mum
                    j
                    Jerseygirl111 Feb 16, 2013 11:34 PM

                    Love kids in the garden, they are SO curious. My 3 yo nephew was over today. He is obsessed with cherry tomatoes. Since I refuse to purchase them in winter, he ate his salad without (romaine and cuke only). I said to him, "In the summer we will plant many tomatoes and we will pick them and pop them in our mouths, right out in the garden." He clapped his hands, then lifted his shirt and said, "They will go right in my belly!" Lol. Mine too kid!

                  2. ursy_ten Feb 19, 2013 01:53 AM

                    What do you think of the idea of not thinning *too* much in order to achieve smaller vegetables? For example, I'd rather keep our pumpkins on the smaller side, so that one could feed the three of us rather than having a leftover portion languishing in the fridge, often going moldy?

                    I've heard it discussed once before, it sounded like a good idea to me.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ursy_ten
                      e
                      Eldon Kreider Feb 19, 2013 10:25 AM

                      You would be a lot better off planting a pumpkin variety with smaller fruit. Sugar aka pie pumpkins run small and have sweeter, less stringy flesh than most field pumpkins. In any case cooked pumpkin freezes well.

                      People trying to grow extra large pumpkins typically thin the small fruits to one per plant so that all energy goes into that single fruit.

                      Multistage thinning is commonly practiced in home gardens for crops like lettuce, turnips and beets that are good at a wide range of sizes. The first thinning is just sufficient to get spacing to support the smallest edible size. Then alternating plants are harvested for baby greens. Later plants are harvested to allow more space for the remaining plants to grow. You always want to allow enough space so that plants can keep growing and not become stunted because stunted vegetables are likely to have inferior quality compared to ones that have been allowed to grow at normal pace and harvested at smaller sizes.

                      1. re: Eldon Kreider
                        ursy_ten Feb 19, 2013 01:57 PM

                        Ok, makes sense - thank you :)

                    Show Hidden Posts