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Gardeners Against Genocide

Gardeners Against Genocide
Posted on 18/03/11 | Posted by The Fat Gardener

I am a murderer. I'm not proud of it, but am finally able to talk about my awful guilty secret. It wasn't a crime of passion and my victims (that run into thousands) were taken when still babies. Although I feel remorse for those I have mercilessly slaughtered I am pretty sure I will kill again - and soon.

For those readers whose itchy fingers are rushing toward the telephone with a view to dialling '999' and sending me sent straight to jail, please grant me a moment's mitigation. The innocent subjects of my vicious premeditated genocide are in fact seedlings.

Every seed packet I buy seems to contain many more seeds than I ever need. I don't for one moment think I am the living embodiment of Demeter (Greek goddess of the harvest), but properly sown and well looked after most of my seeds seem to germinate into healthy seedlings. This is where the problem begins - before each Spring I can have anything from 500 to 1,000 seedlings on window sills and in my conservatory and greenhouse. Not only do I not have enough friends to take these seedlings, but because I tend not to sow directly on the ground I do not have enough pots to 'grow on' all the little seedlings.

This set of circumstances then leads to the inevitable 'thinning out' process.

I can't tell you how long I deliberate over which seedling I condemn to death before pulling them, silently screaming from the soil. My heart sinks as I feel the healthy roots clinging to the earth before I finally wrestle them free and lay them prone on the potting bench. In my mad bloodlust I have even chosen weaker, smaller seedlings over their healthier siblings in an attempt to champion the underdog and prove any plant can make it under my tender care.

In 2011 my tactics are changing. Starting this year I am only selecting the number of seeds I require for healthy plants and storing the remainder of the seeds for use next year. This strategy is fraught with risk if I can't get the majority of the seeds to germinate,  but it's the only way I fear I can get the amount of flowers and vegetables I want each year without killing off 90% of the healthy seedlings I produce from each seed packet.

I fully realise that the above 'confession' may leave me open to charges of over-dramatizing the situation and perhaps a blog about choosing garden tools is a less suitable forum for this cry for help than the psychiatrist's couch.

But if like me you feel a small pang of guilt when 'thinning out' your seedlings - join the campaign for Gardeners Against Genocide!

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