What Shall We Do Now? 267
12 inches apart; cover lightly with the earth you took out and press it down firmly with your trowel. Then mark the place with little pieces of white wood, on which the names of the seeds have been written with an indelible pencil. It is much easier to sow the tiny seeds thinly if you first mix them with a little sand. These must be only just covered by a very fine sprinkling of earth ; but sweet-pea, nasturtium, and lupin seeds must be sown deeper.
Begin to thin out the seedlings very soon after they appear, and be very careful not to pull up too many. It is easiest to thin out when the soil is damp. When the seedlings are 2 inches high only those which you wish to keep should be left in. It is not very easy to say exactly how much room to leave the different plants, but plants which will be 6 inches high should be about 3 inches apart ; those which will be I foot high about 6 inches, and so on. Godetia, nasturtium, love-in-a-mist, nemo-phila, sweet-pea, cornflower, and larkspur seedlings can be transplanted when about 2 inches high, if you find you want them where they have not been sown. To do this water the ground well first, and then pull the seedlings out so gently that none of their tiny fibrous roots are snapped ; and, if possible, bring away a little earth with each. Re-plant them as quickly as you can, making for each a little hole big enough for the roots to spread out in. Hold the seedling in position, and fill in with very moist earth ; or else, after you have made the hole, fill it up with water, then put back some of the earth and stir it up into a sort of paste, and put the seedling in this, filling up the hole with the rest of the earth. Seedlings that have been transplanted must be kept moist until they have taken a good start, and if possible they should be shaded with a branch of evergreen, for they droop very quickly in the heat.
All seedlings must be watered gently and often. If you notice how quickly the sun dries the surface of the ground, you will see how necessary it is to keep the ground moist until the roots get bigger and go down deep into the earth.
Thinning out and transplanting.