bring out yer dead

Thinning seedlings is my least favorite part of gardening. Ideally, I would have enough space, both to sprout seeds and to grow adult plants, that I wouldn't need to do this. Unfortunately, I currently have neither. So, today I executed near one hundred tomato seedlings, and stacked up their corpses.

I planted about two seeds per cell for all of my indoor-start varieties.  The packaging on Halliday's Mortgage Lifter (one of my 4 varieties of tomato) said that its test germination rate was 96%, so I was expecting to thin quite a few of them, but it doesn't make me any less sad.  Last year I put the thinned plants in spare pots and glasses, but I can't do that with my current setup under the table; there's no place to put anything.

The peppers and eggplant managed to sprout an average of one plant per cell, but there were still instances of two plants or no plants in some cells.  I tried to even out some of these instances a few days ago by transferring plants, but I damaged some of them and they died.  I replanted some tomatoes into those empty cells, but I have no idea if those will survive either.  It's not like I'll have room for all two hundred tomato plants in the garden plot, but I'm hoping there will be folks willing to take them off my hands for twenty-five cents a plant. (That's half the going rate at the farmer's market and about my per-plant operating cost, including lights, trays, etc..)

Why didn't I save some of my seeds for later?  I could have, and probably should have, but when I planted, I thought that I'd be able to do what I did last year with the extra pots, but the lighting situation is rough enough that I can't.  Also, other than the Halliday's seeds, which I bought in bulk, none of the packaging gave me an approximate germination rate.  I also couldn't assume that and that other seeds were close to Halliday's, because that variety has a reputation for being insanely vigorous.

On some level not printing the germination rate makes sense--there's a cost to germination tests.  But on the other hand, seed sellers are probably doing germination tests anyway.  How much extra work would it be to print the germination rate on the package?  How many people would bother to look at it?  Are most serious gardeners already familiar with the approximate germination rates?  Or are they buying seeds in bulk, where they rate is printed?  Are the sellers worried about consumers complaining when their small sample size germinates at a lower rate?  My bet is that this last one is probably the read reason.

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