Gardening is murder sometimes

Tuesday, May 09, 2006
(Thinned-out carrots.)

With only a few exceptions (e.g., rosemary, tarragon, and a couple of perennial flowers), my husband and I grow almost everything in our garden from seed. It takes extra time and care, but it's worth it. We enjoy that moment of discovery when we see the first hint of green pushing through the soil. We check with anticipation to see the first leaves unfurl. We watch eagerly as we witness the development of the second pair of leaves -- the distinctive leaves that foreshadow the adult plant to come. It's a fascinating and fun process to watch.

But there's a part in the whole cultivation process to which I haven't quite adjusted yet. It's the time when seedlings reach a certain height and require thinning.

Last week I had to thin out the carrots and I really didn't look forward to it. I mean, I realize it's for the greater good of the carrot crop, but who am I to decide which carrots live and which ones get yanked out to die an untimely death withering away on the compost heap? The ones I pull will never grow up to live out their full potential as carrots.

After we've watched every step of the young plants' growth and they've finally gotten on their way, I come along with my bare hands -- pondering this one or that one -- and then pinch... wince... yank! Ugh! I really don't like doing it. No matter how small and un-carrot looking they are at that stage, it's murder.

My husband thinks I'm nuts to feel this way, but I have to wonder: Do other gardeners get this emotional when it comes to thinning? I can't be the only one.


Blogger Niblets said...

I HATE thinning. I sow too widely or sow one seed in each container (ending up with a million containers, half empty) rather than thin.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Jes said...

I planted two seeds per hole with my tomatoes and had to thin when I transplanted them, it was so hard! I hate it too!
I think it's the kind hearted nature of a gardner plus the motherly instinct of a woman that makes it so difficult.

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I thin plants that self-sow with abandon -- hollyhocks, rudbeckia, coneflowers -- my wife refers to it as "the massacre of the innocents."

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to feel this way until I built compost bins. Now thinning is a part of the cycle of life and death in a garden for me and I know the thinned plants will be recycled into life giving compost. Evan

1:08 PM  

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