I hate thinning seedlings. I feel sorry for each seedling I pull out. They did exactly what they were supposed to do and sprouted. Their destiny is determined by whether they looked good in those early days after sprouting and whether they came up too close to stronger specimen. Who am I to say that the seeds that get off to the fastest start will be the best in the long run. It’s like making a prediction about the long term with only the barest of early information.
Today I thinned the lettuce seeds I started about two weeks ago. Why do they tell you to put the seeds 1 inch apart and then thin them to only one every 8-10 inches? I’ve doomed >80% of the seeds to the trash heap for no reason at all.
Has anyone actually done any research on whether the seedlings that look the strongest above the dirt in the early days produce the best produce?