Will I need to thin out seedlings before planting?

Some seeds that we sow are teeny tiny and impossible to grow individually. This means that when you receive them as plug plants you may see more than one seedling growing from a single root ball. You can deal with this one of three ways.

  1. Thin them out – by pinching off the foliage you can remove all but one seedling per root ball. (this is the best option for carrots, beetroot and parsnip, unless you decide to go for option 3)
  2. Tease them apart – You may be able to double or even triple the number of some seedlings (e.g. leeks, onions, tomatoes, leafy plants) you plant by carefully teasing the individual seedlings apart at the roots. This won’t work for root crops though.
  3. Plant them as is – there are a number of experienced and well known gardeners out there who do this. Rather than thinning out the seedlings, just pop them all in the ground together and let nature take its course. You’ll find you have some interesting shapes and you probably won’t win any prizes for uniformity at the local show, but you’ll still get a good crop.