Affordable Gardening

Affordable Garden Update: Growth, Thinning, Transplanting

Have the desire to grow a garden, but don’t have the space or a large budget? Follow along with Captain Create this Summer to learn money saving gardening tips. At the end of the harvest, we will learn to cook healthy meals with what grew!


Since starting seeds a little over a month ago, the growth in this garden is amazing! There’s been so much growth that I’ve been thinning my seedlings.

Thinning is the act of selecting and removing seedlings to encourage the growth of the seedlings that remain. Thinning is a good practice when you have multiple seedlings grouped too close to each other.

A group of basil seedlings that can be thinned

Thinning is important because it gives seedlings the space to grow, it increases the availability of nutrients and water in the soil, and it gives the plant enough room to photosynthesize efficiently.

How do you know when to thin your seedlings? It all has to do with your specific plant. Some plants can handle being close to their neighbors, and others can not. Take tomatoes for example: some tomato breeds need several square feet of space to have enough growing room.

The best way to know if you should thin your seedlings is to follow the information on your seedling packet or the information included with your plant start. It’s common that this information will include the amount of space each plant needs to grow. If you don’t have this information on hand, check out Utah State University Extension’s growing guides. These guides include spacing information.

I like to thin my seedlings when they are over an inch tall. I choose to keep the seedlings that have true leaves, aka the leaves that form after the first pair of leaves. True leaves are the leaves that distinguish the mature plant, and they are the leaves that will perform photosynthesis to feed the mature plant.

Money Saving Tip: Accurately space your plants for increased chances of bigger yields!


If you need to thin your seedlings, but also want to save the seedlings you pulled, transplanting is a great option if you have some extra space and containers!

Transplanting is moving a plant from one spot to another. I had enough seedlings in my garden that I wanted to transplant them to different pots. Because I transplanted these seedlings rather than throwing them away, this will increase the amount of produce I get this year!

Money Saving Tip: Transplant thinned seedlings to other containers with more space to increase your yeild.

Oakleaf lettuce transplant from thinning a group of oakleaf seedlings

Growth Update

Thankfully the garden has been growing and it’s time for a growth update!

Strawberries are here! Too bad that a vole nibbled on them…
Wheat grass grown from grocery store produce
A flower starting to form on the bell pepper plant!
Sage true leaves looking beautiful and healthy
Healthy Swiss chard transplant (left) and new, healthy green onions grown from from grocery store produce (right)
Cilantro seedlings grown from seed
Healthy mint plant grown from a mint start, it’s ready to harvest some leaves!

Next Post

In two weeks there will be another update on the garden. In the meantime keep working in your garden and enjoy watching your plants grow!

Remember that gardening is a great way to be active this Summer and it can increase the availability of healthy food for your family. If you missed any of the previous posts in this series they are linked below, enjoy!

-Captain Create

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