Mary's Veggie Garden

April 8, 2010

Q: When is a 4-pack not a 4-pack?

Filed under: Gardening,Onions,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 6:38 am

A: When it contains 6, 8 or a dozen plants.

The workers in plant nurseries often do not thin plants to one plant per cell. Sometimes this is accidental. Although you get more plants, the plants sharing a cell will probably be smaller. My 4-pack of parsley had 6 plants. Three of them were together in one cell but one was tiny.

Occasionally nursery people deliberately leave several plants per cell. Who would pay $1.29 for 4 onion plants? Not me!  After all, each onion seed produces a plant that produces only one onion. I’ve seen onion 4-packs with anywhere from 2-6 plants per cell.

When there are several plants per cell,  gently separate them before planting. This allows each plant to grow to its full potential size. To separate the plants, gently grasp the plants at the soil line between thumb and index finger then slowly pull them apart. Be patient, and try not to rip off the roots. Sometimes it helps to loosen the planting medium before pulling the plants apart. The young plants won’t mind and it will be easier to untangle the roots. Just get them into the soil quickly, so the roots don’t dry out.

This onion 4-pack contains 10-12 plants.

This onion 4-pack contains at least 10 plants, possibly 12.  The front right cell contains 3 medium-sized plants and several tiny plants which are stunted by sharing such a small space. After separating the plants, I would discard the tiniest. The individual plants  should be planted 4-6″ apart.


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