Middle South

April, 2007
Regional Report

Clever Gardening Technique

Use Scissors to Thin Seedlings
For many of us, thinning seedlings is one of the least enjoyable gardening tasks. It's painful to cut or pull seedlings you've been nurturing, but whether they're in containers or in the garden, plants need space to grow and thrive. Indoors, thin seedlings so there's just one seedling per pot or cell. I choose the most vigorous shoot and (gulp) use scissors to snip off the others at the soil line. Occasionally, I try to separate the seedlings and replant them in individual pots, knowing that I may end up with two stunted or dead plants instead of one healthy one.

It's just as important to thin seedlings you've sown in the garden. Read seed packets to determine spacing. You'll usually find something along the lines of, "Sow seeds 2 to 3 inches apart. When plants are 2 inches tall, thin to 6 inches apart." Gently pull extra seedlings, trying not to disturb the remaining ones, or simply snip them off with scissors. Some thinnings, such as baby beets and tiny greens, are considered delicacies, so think of it as harvesting rather than thinning if that makes you feel better.

Web Finds

Deter Geese with Landscaping
If geese are a nuisance in your landscape or in nearby parks, there are humane steps you can take to deter them. Grassy areas near open water are the most attractive landscapes to geese, and young grass shoots are one of their favorite foods. Techniques to discourage geese include replacing large expanses of grass with other ground covers, allowing grass to grow to 6 inches in height before mowing, and reducing sight lines by adding trees and shrubs so geese can't see open water. Learn more at the Humane Society of America's Landscaping Tips Can Curtail Geese Flocks Web page.

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