Rogue: v. To remove inferior or defective plants or seedlings from a crop.
We spent another blustery, rainy day in the greenhouse today.
At this early point in a plant’s lifecycle, we’re selecting for sprouts that are most vigorous and growing true to type. The easiest sign to identify is size: select the biggest seedling in each cell. But depending on the specific variety of plant, there are other important details you should pay attention to when roguing.
With lettuce, the first true leaves were the key indicator: we were looking at color and shape. We also decided it was important to pay attention to the size of the true leaves when considering the overall size of the sprout; better to keep a smaller sprout with the biggest true leaves in the cell than the biggest sprout that was mostly cotyledons.
Tomatoes were a little different. While overall size was important, the stoutness of the stem was a deciding factor; tall sprouts with stems that were thin, spindly or crooked were removed. When it comes to transplanting more mature tomato starters into the ground, you want them to be short, stout, and hearty.
Spending a whole morning plucking seedlings out of cell trays can feel repetitive and pointless. But it’s actually a critical step in what we do at Fruition Seeds: investing our efforts and energy only in those plants that will produce the best seed possible.
And those rogued lettuce sprouts do make a nice addition to lunch, too.