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Fig3825
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Thinning groupings

When I replanted somewhat recently (4-6 weeks ago), I placed 2-3 seeds in each location for the more dispersed plants like tomatoes, squash, eggplant, etc. I let most of them get around 6" - 8" tall before thinning, waiting to see which ones do best and which ones get attached by bugs the most with the intent to remove those in the bunch. Based on where I am not (it's thinning time), what is the best way to thin? Do you simply cut them off with a pair of pruners? Should I pull them up (or will the roots potentially be tangled with a neighboring plant - and pull it up also)?

With regard to tomatoes, I have some pairs and some that have three plants growing. I have them spaced about 2' to 3' apart. Should I just let both plants grow, or thin and focus on a single plant?

I have 4 squash plant locations. 2 of the 4 locations have 2 plants growing side by side. Do I need to even thin them to a single plant, or should I just let them both go nuts (or will this ultimately reduce the ability for both to grow)? Based on my past experience, these suckers get HUGE. One my my squash plants grew about 4' tall and was about 4-6' across last year at the ground. The locations are such that the plants have about 2.5-3 feet between them and they can grow out of the bed.

I also have two rows of corn. When I replanted, I placed 1 or 2 seeds in each spot. Almost all of the seeds are now coming up. I have two rows of 8 plants. Plants on a row are about 6" apart. Rows are 18" apart. Do I need thin or can I let the pairs grow together? In a row of 8 plant, I think maybe half of them are sprouting doubles (both seeds planted are sprouting side by side). I had thinned the first row, planted about 2 weeks prior to the 2nd row to a single plant every 6" or so. They are all doing well to date.

I also planted a row of cucumbers next to my trellis. I put two seeds about every 3". Again, nearly every seed has now sprouted. Do these need thinning to a single plant every 3" or so or can I just let both grow? I can still probably pluck the second out at each location without messing up the primary, but all of these are looking really fantastic at this point. I do have room to let some grow along the ground and train the rest up the trellis...

Basically, I just would like to know in each of these conditions if I even need to thin them, and if so, what is the best way to do it? Cutting or plucking...

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jal_ut
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Hmmmm, sounds like you had good germination. I would thin the tomatoes to one plant per location. I think cutting them just below the crown is the best way so you don't mess up the roots of the one you are leaving.

I would just leave the squash and let them go wild.

The corn, I would thin to one plant every 6-8 inches in the row. Just pull the ones you decide to take out.

Cukes, I would thin to one every 3 inches. That still seems crowded. They may do fine though if you train half of them up the trellis.

Have a great harvest!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Bobberman
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If the tomatoes are nice I would wait till after a rain and pull the one out and replant somewhere else. I would put extra good top soil around the remaining one several inches above the ground level! I usually grow close together like you but i move the squash or zucchinies to another location with a small shovel getting under the roots and placing it into a ready hole after the rain! I have even moved 3 foot sunflowers this way with no harm to the plant! I hate to waste healthy plants! Corn is hard to transplant. I have seen two corn plants grow good together but removing one is usually best unless they are 6 inches appart then I would leave them!
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Fig3825
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Thanks Jal and Bobber. I think I know what I'm going to do. I figured the tomatoes needed thinning for sure as well as the corn. Glad to hear the squash may still do well if two are on top of each other. I'd rather leave them both and see what happens. As I said, I have 4 planting locations in one bed that are squash. 2 of the 4 locations have only one plant and 2 of the locations have two plants. Fortunately, both locations that have two are at the end of the bed and are in corners, so they can overflow the edges of the bed with no problems. I'm hoping for decent weather tomorrow, so I'll take some snaps.

I grow my cucumbers vertically on my 7' trellis, but there are about 18 seeds that came up - I planted 2 seeds per hole and planted 3 each of 3 different varieties - so 18 total plants in a 4' row. I didn't expect them all to come up, but every single one of them did. I think I'm going to take out the smaller of the two in each pair, leaving only 9 plants (3 of each variety) to grow up the trellis.

Unfortunately, while I have a massive yard anything left outside the fence gets munched to nubs by the rabbits or squirrels and I really don't have room to move anything. So I'm just going to try to maintain content with what I have and see how things go.

Thanks again for the advice!

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jal_ut
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Bobberman sez, " Corn is hard to transplant. "

I don't agree. Corn is quite easy to transplant as long as it is under 3 or 4 inches tall. Dig a hole to put the plant, then with your garden trowel just go lift the one you are moving out of the ground and go put it in the hole and fill in around it. Try to keep soil on the roots as you move it. Water. Of course if you have two real close together it is hard to get one without damaging the roots of the other. I moved about 30 like that this season, and they didn't act like anything had even happened. Just kept on growing.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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jal_ut
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About corn. It seems that one plant every 8 to 12 inches in a row and rows 30 to 36 inches apart works well. Many other different schemes have been tried. It is my experience however that if you get it too close, some of the stalks will only have one ear and some none. Corn given enough space will have two ears per stalk and they will be nice full ears. When you see this with your variety, remember the formula.

Corn grown too sparse will sometimes not get pollen on all the silks and you will have ears with patchy kernels.

Just how much crowding corn can stand varies with the variety too.

My recommendation is plant rows 30 inches apart and two or three rows if possible. Plants 8 to 12 inches apart in the rows. This has worked well for me with a number of varieties of sweet corn.

Another plan that is working for one gardener is: In a raised bed 4 feet by 12 feet, put one plant per square foot in the whole bed. IOW 48 plants. This should get you 96 ears of corn max. Perhaps a little less. I am afraid that if you followed that density in a bed any wider than 4 feet, you may get lots of stalks that didn't get any ears on them.

Corn is a large plant. It may get 6 feet or more tall. Its roots go out over 4 feet in all directions and about as deep as the plant is tall. It takes sunshine, warm temps, water, fertile soil and a breeze to bring the CO2 for corn to grow well. Give it what it needs and watch it grow. It is amazing.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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