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Pinch ‘Em Off!

>7 February 2012
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I can’t believe I almost forgot to do this!!

My broccoli seedlings are looking great, but I noticed that they were beginning to fall over. And then I remembered I’d almost forgotten a crucial step in growing seedlings…

Once the true leaves have begun to grow, pinch off the first set of leaves so the plant’s energy is focused on true growth!

See the heart shaped leaves at either side of the larger, center leaf? Those are the first leaves. And they gotta go.

It’s easy. All you do is use your fingernail to cut the first leaves from the stem. Or you can use scissors, if you want. Just don’t yank or tear them off, as this might uproot your tender seedlings.

And here they are all pinched off! Yes, they look bare now, but don’t worry, your plants will thank you for helping to lighten the load.

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  • Victoria said:

    Thanks for the reminder Kendra! Just getting our seedlings in for a head start. Can’t wait for planting season – with the warmer than average winter we have been getting a jump start on some garden prep. Happy Planting Season! :)

  • Carol J. Alexander said:

    I’d never heard that. Maybe that’s why I have so much trouble starting plants from seeds. Thank you!

  • Gone Country said:

    Thanks for the tip. I never knew that this needed to be done and have wondered why my seedlings started getting lanky and falling over.

  • Lauren-Mae Cook said:

    Boy, I could have used this last year! Thanks for posting! :)

  • Tami Lewis said:

    advice that i always need reminded of lol
    i have a little something for you at my blog

  • Miss Corrigan said:

    Thank you so much, I am starting my first seeds today and I love the advice! Does the same go for herbs?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Umm… I’m trying to think of the different herbs I’ve grown… I don’t remember any of them having a first set of leaves, and then true leaves coming in. I’d say, as a rule of thumb, anything that has a first set of leaves, and then different looking “true” leaves which grow in soon after, should have the first leaves pinched off. If you don’t see two distinctly different looking sets of leaves, don’t worry about pinching anything off.

    Another tip, though, is to trim things like onions and garlic seedlings when their tops get long and scraggly, leaving about 2 in. to grow.

  • Dafne said:

    Thanks so much for the tip! Last fall was my first season to attempt gardening, so I still have much to learn! I’m also guessing I’m getting a late start, as I haven’t ordered OR planted any seeds yet. Gotta get busy!

  • Clint Baker said:

    Good information, thanks!

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