Bok Choy · Vegetables

Thinning out vegetable seedlings for the first time: the rescue mission

I’m pleased to share that the Bok Choy seedlings are growing well. I’ve been seeing new ones every morning, and the growth has been steady.

Now, at almost the one week mark, I’ve arrived at a stage which I have been dreading…. Thinning them out to allow ample growth space. I keep reading that it’s inevitable, and you are doing it for the health of the seedlings.

According to the Taiwan Council of Agriculture forum instructions that I’m following,  with phase 1 of thinning, I only have to make sure that there’s no more than 3 plants per hole.

Here’s what they look like today:

Bok Choy - Phase 1 thinning

The ones in the larger containers are mostly okay, under three seedlings per hole. The “problematic” pot is the tiny one in the middle, with…. who-knows-how-many seedlings in it. I thought I planted three seeds each? Hmm….

With this being my first time “thinning”, I decided it was okay that I was feeling emotional, and I was going to try to rescue as many seedlings as possible. Ha.

So here’s the plan. Transplant all seedlings crowded in the one tiny pot into larger containers:

1. Prepare two containers with soil and wet soil thoroughly
(I used a coir-heavy soil mix, adding some organic fertilizer, and using my hands to loosen any lumps)

Mar 16-10

2. Wet soil in the tiny pot (which makes it easier to remove seedlings)

3. With shovel, gently dig out entire pot, seedlings and soil. Very important: Try to be extremely gentle and do not hurt seedlings and their roots. (I wouldn’t say I succeeded 100% in this step, but I definitely tried! I just…. wasn’t able to stop them for falling over to one side… Haha.)

Mar 16-13

4. Gently loosen the soil and separate seedlings
(Note 1: I was amazed by how long the roots of these tiny ones have grown!)
(Note 2: There were a few instances where I wasn’t able to separate the seedling gently, and it seemed that roots of the two seedlings have ended up growing together. In this case, I just planted them together.)

Mar 16-21

5. Use a finger to poke a hole in the transplant destination, and gently place the seedling into the hole, while pressing the soil around to hold the seedling.

6. Repeat step 5, separating the seedlings by a distance of about 2 to 3 fingers apart.

7. Water gently and sparingly (I figured since I wet the soil) with a spray bottle

7. Keep in shaded area for the remainder of the day to help seedlings acclimate to the new environment.

That’s it! Some of the holes have two in them (these were the seedlings I couldn’t gently separate), but all in all, they have much more space here. And I guess the who-knows-how-many seedlings question is answered, it’s…. 20. How did that happen (scratch head)?

Day 11 of balcony farming. I’m learning so much, and still very excited. Gardening makes me feel more alive, and appreciate even more, the nature around me.

Mar 16-24

The journey of Ms. Bok Choy

The Vege Girl Project: Day 12



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