I need to thin my tomato seedlings - HELP

mahuchi(z6, wash, dc)May 6, 2013

So my seedling have been doing great - I really didn't think the tomatoes would all take so well, once they started germinating and the seedlings were tiny - I couldn't bare to "thin" them. Now I am days away from planting them out on my deck in their final pots - and I've got some cells with 3-4 seedlings.

Should I just plant as is, there are 4 seedlings in this cell? Or try to separate?

What about his one - there are only 2 seedings in this cel...and maybe I could separate them safely?

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mahuchi(z6, wash, dc)

oops here is the photo with the cell with 4 seedlings.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 7:03PM
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charlieboring

I have the same problem. I carefully separate the plant roots and plant them individually. I can usually save all plants, but I do occassionally destroy one of the siamese twins or quads in your case. If it is still too early to plant in their drowing location, transplant them into a little larger pot until the night temps or above 60 degrees or be prepared to cover them at night. What type of tomatoes are you growing?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 7:09AM
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calistoga_al

Most of us start more tomatoes than we need. Why save the extras that are competing for root space? I would have clipped them off way before they grew to this size. Al

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 9:15AM
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mahuchi(z6, wash, dc)

Thanks for the advice so far. So do I cut th at the dirt line, or try to separate the roots.? I'm confused, and want to do whatever will give them the best shot.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 10:32AM
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charlieboring

IF YOU DON'T CARE TO TRY TO SAVE THE EXTRA PLANTS, JUST CUT THE EXTRAS AT THE DIRT LINE.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 10:48AM
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lelia(Northern Cal)

Yes, cut all but one seedling per cell! A single tomato plant, even a determinate one, will become a massive, heavy vine. (Which it would be wise to keep in mind, by the way, when choosing your pot size).

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 11:52AM
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noinwi

If you can't stand the thought of culling them or if you want to give away the extras, you could gently work the roots apart in a bucket of water and plant them in their own pots.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 2:14PM
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susanzone5(z5NY)

Pull them apart with dry soil. Don't be afraid. Save the healthiest plant, then sink the whole stem into the soil up to the first set of true leaves. Tomatoes are not delicate.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 6:08PM
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susanzone5(z5NY)

Pull them apart with dry soil. Don't be afraid. Save the healthiest plant, then sink the whole stem into the soil up to the first set of true leaves. Tomatoes are not delicate.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:44PM
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tdscpa(z5 NWKS)

I often put 4 seedlings into a tray cell that size, one in each corner. As soon as they grow two pairs of true leaves (much smaller than those in the photo), I use an ice tea spoon to scoop out each corner's tomato plant and transplant into a 9 oz. plastic cup. I just use the spoon to cut through the roots.

I never lose one, and the plants I grow are just as healthy as they would be if each was started in a separate cell.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 7:51PM
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