As a new edible gardener, it's a bit heart-wrenching having to thin my seedlings. I know it's good for the plants and has to be done, yadda yadda, but I still dread it. Seen as though it's that time of year to sow cool season seeds such as lettuce, carrots, etc., I thought I'd share a tip: the best way to thin out seedlings is to use scissors! I had been pulling them out by hand and was worried about the disturbance to the delicate neighboring seedlings. The book titled, You Grow Girl, gave me the simple and "duh" idea of snipping them instead. And it works great!
I also want to talk about what I did to prepare my novice soil. It had never been enriched with ANYTHING. I decided to forego a raised garden after I tried and succeeded well with amending my existing soil. I haven’t ruled it out for the future, but for now I’m content with it as is. Plus I’m not in to the idea of spending my weekend spending money and working on a raised bed. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
My Soil Saver! Kellogg AMEND was recommended to me by a garden employee and I couldn't be happier! Granted, it's not organic, but man does it grow awesome veggies! I use one bag on 12-15 square feet. I combine it with the existing soil down about 9 inches...more if I'm planting root veggies. It also helps to dig up the soil so that it's lighter and has more air in it for little seedlings to grow. My southern California suburban soil is very sandy with pretty much no nutritional value.
I’d love to eventually get to the point where I’m making my own compost, but for the meantime I’ll use this route.
The only thing more abundant than the sandy soil is snails. Since I’m trying to make my way to true organic gardening, I do not use pesticides or chemicals for pests. I found Ortho Elementals Slug and Snail Killer for Organic Gardening. It seems to be doing the trick since I haven’t seen the tell-tale slime or bites around the garden.