ramonamarie
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Should I separate (and how) 2 & 3 tomato seedlings

I planted my seedlings March 27th. I have a variety. I thought I was being careful to put only one seed in each pot, but both pots that have Cherokee Purple came up with 2 and 3 plants in the same pot respectively. They look very healthy. I plan to put everyone out in the garden in the next week here in Columbus, OH. I'm wondering, first, if this is the nature of Cherokee Purple. Secondly, if it is not the nature, do I plant them in the garden as is, or do I need to separate them, and how? Thanks so much.

After 3 years of trying, this is the first year I have not managed to kill the poor things. I'm very excited that they've made it this far, and don't want to make a mistake now.

gardenvt
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If you really want to, you could separate them VERY carefully and pot up each one but will like set them back a bit. Tomatoes are pretty resilient though and catch up quickly. Studies do show that transplanting several times tears the roots and tomatoes seem to grow better roots for that reason.

It won't hurt to try.

TZ -OH6
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Stuck together tomato seeds are very common. You pretty much have to fingernail any seed that looks suspiciously thick.

I'm assuming that all two or three plants are coming out of the soil at the same point so pulling them apart would be difficult. If you just want the two plants you started out seeding for then snip off the extra plants, but if you want more plants... on the day you are going to put them in the garden I would soak the pot in fertilizer (or not) remove the plants/rootball from the pot and take a sharp knife and cut the root ball between the stems to separate the plants, keeping the soil section as intact as possible. It won't set them back that much and it will be better than trying to grow 2-3 plants in competition with each other.


This is reason #xx as to why potting up is better than seeding in the final pot.

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Duh_Vinci
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Good advise indeed, one plant per spot is indeed better for their "well being" on the long run!

Regards,
D

Tony02905
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I plant multiple tomato seeds per peat cell or peat pot, for example one of my peat pots has 8 tomato plants in it and most of my peat cells has up to 4 seeds. I'd be more than happy to post pics on how I separate and repot them if you'd like. I've already separated and repotted about 56 tomato plants and all of them are doing great. I have about 80 more to do!
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rainbowgardener
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Agree, that I plant my tomatoes pretty thickly in little cells and then separate them after they are well sprouted. They are not particularly bothered by being separated if you are gentle with them. And yes you do want to separate them. Tomato plants get very big, very fast and they will just crowd each other out if you don't get them in their own pots or their own area of the garden (in the ground they need plenty of room). Just take the whole root ball out of the pot, then gently pull the soil apart, without handling the plants.
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Tony02905
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Hopefully this is useful..


[url=https://s271.photobucket.com/albums/jj148/Tjlance1/?action=view&current=uppotting1.mp4][img]https://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj148/Tjlance1/th_uppotting1.jpg[/img][/url][/url]
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Tony02905
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Part 2
[url=https://s271.photobucket.com/albums/jj148/Tjlance1/?action=view&current=seedlings1.mp4][img]https://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj148/Tjlance1/th_seedlings1.jpg[/img][/url]
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greenstubbs
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Interesting? If it were me, I'd just leave them all together and have like a big Mother plant. I would think the shock of trying to seperate 3 plants would either kill them or give them a major setback. I have never started tomatos from seed so by no means am I a expert, but I have taken 3 seperate plants and planted them together.
I have however just left my cucks, melons, squash, and pepper plants together like mentioned for a big Mother plant or bush and never had a problem with them bearing fruit, as a matter of fact, I get tons of fruit from them. I don't know if thats because I make them Mother plants or not. As I say, "It's the grand experiment" every year. Good Luck

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rainbowgardener
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Well I can say from lots of experience, that done carefully, it does not harm the tomato seedlings to separate them. I do grow tomatoes from seed every year.

Growing spreading vine plants like cukes, melons, squash is different from growing tomatoes. Even though their roots may still be crowded together, the vines can spread themselves out all over the place. And sometimes they can root farther out on the vine too.

At least for people who grow their tomatoes supported, which is most of us, the tomatoes can't do that. And they do NOT do too well over crowded. Especially if you are in a humid climate as I am and ronamarie is, crowding cuts down on air circulation and promotes diseases and the spread of diseases.
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gardenvt
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As noted previously, you could try to separate them. You could also cut off (at soil level) all but one plant and then start the others in new pots. They will develope roots.

Tomatoes are remarkably good at growing roots from whatever part of the plant gets buried.

Whatever you do, good luck.

ramonamarie
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Thanks so much for all the advice. This is a great forum I've found. Now, if only the ground would dry here in Ohio.

tedln
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I don't have to worry about humidity so I prefer planting densely. You probably don't need to worry about damaging while separating them. It used to concern me until I purposely damaged some seedling roots while up potting them. They did as well as the plants up potted with tender loving care.

I am growing some Carbon, Tarasenko 6, Jaune Flamme, Sungold F!, and Arbuznyi plants this year where I have purposely grown two plants in the same root ball or with the root balls planted against each other. I then planted each variety again as single plants. I had two purposes. I wanted to see if two plants in competition for the same space would be stunted or damaged. I also wanted to see if two main stems growing from the same space would increase production compared to the single plants. So far, the double plants are out performing the single plants in growth and total blooms. Some small fruit has been set on all of the plants including the single plants. I won't really know the results until near the end of the season, but to date; the double plants are beating the single plants.

I am also growing four of the dwarf varieties in containers with two plants of each variety in each container. They are doing great and blooming great. They were direct seeded in the containers with three seeds of each variety. I removed the third plant after they were all growing well. The containers range in size from three gallon up to five gallon. I have drip irrigation to each container and haven't been able to detect any difference between the plants in the smaller containers and the larger containers. So far, the variety, Emerald Giant; in the three gallon container is taller than the others at about thirty inches.

Ted
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rainbowgardener
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Wow! I love it when people actually do the experiment! :) Keep us updated with results as the season goes on. I would expect the competition/ crowding factors to get worse as the plants get bigger and need more nutrients...
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Abel79
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Re: tomato plants

Tony02905 wrote:Part 2
Image
Very helpful, I'm just a beginner with gardening and enjoyed the video. I used to buy all my starts at nurseries and this is the first year doing it all by seed and so far it's not going too bad. Thank you Tony02905.....you're my kind of Gardner man! Keep the good vids :)!!

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PunkRotten
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Re: Should I separate (and how) 2 & 3 tomato seedlings

I had a few cells with multiple plants in them. Originally I was going to cut out the ones I didn't want. But I decided to try and use them all. So carefully, I separated them trying to make sure that each plant had as little root loss as possible. I did have to rip away at it to finally free them. After transplanting all it turns out they all made it and are nice healthy plants right now. If these were chile plants all of them might have died. It has been my experience that chile plants do not like to have their roots disturbed and they don't recover from root damage as tomatoes do. Tomatoes are pretty tough plants.

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gixxerific
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Re: Should I separate (and how) 2 & 3 tomato seedlings

Another way which for some reason I never see people put in these kinds of threads is using water. Preferably from a sink sprayer (low pressure) just take your root ball (of course handling very carefully, trying not to squeeze the stems) and spray the soil off the root ball. They are fairly easy to separate and you don't loose hardly any roots.

Than gently dangle the roots in your new pot as they would be naturally and slowly fill with a light potting mix. It's like they were born there, and they will love you for it. :D

Franenuss
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Re: Should I separate (and how) 2 & 3 tomato seedlings

I recently planted somecherry tomato seeds and I'm planning to transplant the plants in a couple of weeks, this was very helpfull cause I made the mistake of putting all of the seeds together (I'm new to gardening), and they sprouted very close to one another.

Lovely pictures!

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