Teaching Kids The Value Of Thinning Seedlings - Knowledgebase Question

Glens Falls, NY
Question by kathyb02
March 13, 2001
How do I teach my kids the importance of thinning their precious seedlings?


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Answer from NGA
March 13, 2001

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We know adults who don't like to thin! However, this simple experiment may help your children understand the benefits. Sow two patches of the same seeds somewhat thickly in the same manner. (Radishes work well for this experiment, because they grow quickly, and it's easy to see the difference in the size of the vegetables.) In one patch, leave whatever seeds germinate to grow as they will. In the other patch, have children thin to the proper spacing. The easiest method is to snip the seedlings at ground level with a pair of scissors rather than pull them out. This prevents disturbing nearby roots.

Over time, children can watch the difference in the health and vigor of the plants, the size, and ultimately the amount of harvest between the plants that were thinned and those that were left crowded. Serve up the thinnings of some plants, such as baby lettuces, for lunch.

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