Transplanting Your Tomato Seedlings: I usually like to start my seeds in a big pot and start a lot of seeds in the pot and divide later, it makes for competition between the starts and it is easy to see the strongest ones that will later produce better. This makes it easier to transplant them outside later. Consider why the seedlings are stretched up and what to do … This is a perfect time for me to thin out the seedlings. I devoted 20 squares to tomato plants. I've seen some very convincing data in the past which showed that tomato seedlings develop into strong plants when grown near 74-84 degrees. Yes, that means thinning the seedlings to one strong plant per cell or small pot. Community Answer. 2. I sowed my tomato seeds—two seeds per soil block—on March 25, put them on a heat mat and within five days almost every seed had germinated. Do I have to thin out my seedlings? Third, seedlings that are falling over can be more prone to disease and pests. Thin seedlings means to cut or pull up some of your seedlings from the soil. Given proper heat and light, tomato seedlings grow faster than most other kinds of seeds, so they need almost constant tending from the moment they are planted. Depending on the variety, they can be 2-4 inches tall at this stage. I have had decent results after starting tomato and pepper seeds indoors on a window sill without purpose-specific lights. I do not want to disturb the seedlings that I want to keep, so the best practice for eliminating the undesired seedlings is to just clip them off at the soil level using a pair of scissors or garden shears . As gardeners watch their tomato plants load up with green fruits, the question of whether or not to thin them can keep you up at night. This can definitely be one of the harder parts about starting plants from seeds. And, of course, lots of tomatoes! I always have thinned my seedlings by "pricking out," much like you do, although I never heard the term before. You should have 2-3 stems per pod. While it’s a painful process for most, know that tomatoes will always do better when they don’t have to compete with another plant for nutrients. There are a couple of ways to thin out your seedlings once they get too crowded. You should only have to thin your seedlings once, but if I have a lot of extra plants I will usually split it into two occasions. The main reason for tall, spindly tomato seedlings is a lack of light. A lack of light is most often the cause of thin, weak plants. Why thin seedlings? Most of the holes have two or three of the butter bean seedlings that have sprouted. Because they are thin and floppy, they can’t stand up as well to natural occurrences like wind and hard rain. After 2-3 weeks following germination I pot the seedlings up (which are spindly) almost to the seed leaves in deep pots (I use full size Party Cups* and make holes in the bottom). When growing tomatoes from seed you are going to have to repot them. I have two 8 foot by 4 foot SFG planters built from stacked 2x8's, so there is about 14 or 15 inches of planting mix (similar to Mel's, but I didn't find any vermiculite). Planting too early in the season. I have read and heard many times, though, that the seedlings' roots are damaged in the process, but I can't bring myself to kill the healthy little seedlings that I've nurtured. Tomato seedlings are one of the first you need to get started in the season. The easiest way is to trim the extra seedlings away with a sharp pair of scissors. To help with this, you can: Increase Light: Lower your light fixtures, increase the wattage, or raise your trays to get them closer to the light source. Tomato seedlings are ready to be transplanted when they have their first set of true leaves or at least 2 sets of leaves. They have already gotten so tall that they are pressing against the top of the dome. This leaves more space between the remaining seedlings so that they have room to grow without competing for water or nutrients. ‘Leggy’ seedlings typically have stretched skinny stems and look fragile. Well I can say from lots of experience, that done carefully, it does not harm the tomato seedlings to separate them. But the hard truth is, you have to thin your seedlings. Transplant tomato seedlings into their own 4-inch pots shortly after they get their first set of true leaves. I know I'm supposed to "murder" one out of each container when they reach a certain size, but I haven't been able to bring myself to do it yet. Letting your tomato seedlings become leggy can be frustrating but Janette shows you how to solve the problem. For example, if my plants need to be 12 inches apart, the first time I’ll thin every 6 inches. I have seeded everything from broccoli, peppers, and watermelon, to beans and much more. Starting tomato seeds indoors allows you to control the earliest moments of your tomato plant’s life. The cold-treatment will benefit them after they are strong enough to handle the changes, but I wouldn't germinate seed or attempt to grow young seedlings … All those little sprouts compete for nutrients, water, and light. Why It’s Important to Thin Seedlings. is it okay to open the dome and thin the tomatoes then close it back up? Without the proper amount of spacing between plants, your seedlings will never reach full maturity. Since long seedlings of tomatoes do not produce fruitful bushes, the problem cannot be ignored. I do grow tomatoes from seed every year. This will do two things: 1. the two inches of bare stem will allow air to circulate. Choose the seedling that looks to be … So, for example, sometimes tomato seedlings are pulled up. I transplanted my tomato seedlings to my SFG a month ago. If the seedlings are all the same size, you can just randomly thin them out, or you can give it a bit more time to see if one of them starts to grow larger (but really, in this case, you can’t make the wrong choice, so thin away). Then a week later I will thin … But don’t start too early either. Tip: when your seedlings are tall and the ground is warm plant them as deep into the ground as possible. Snip the weaker, smaller seedlings in favor of the best grower. How Often You’ll Need to Thin. The basic idea is you never want to stress the plant out by restricting the roots from getting wider. In order to thin out seedlings for the year, it depends how the seeds were planted and germinated. They may be bending forward rather than growing up straight with a strong stem. In order to make them sturdier, you should take them outside (if temperatures allow) to harden them. I start mine mid to end February. This is the usual reason why leggy, tall thin seedlings develop. Thinning also prevents the spread of disease and keeps seedling roots from getting tangled together as they grow. It’s important to thin your seedlings to allow for the best plant to have room to grow without competing with roots of another seedling. I have tomato seedlings that are thin and weak, what can I do to make them sturdier? The reasons why your tomato seedlings got so thin and leggy. Too little light. If many seeds have germinated in a single pot, you’ll need to thin them out. For seedlings in individual soil cups or pots, thin each pot to one or two strong seedlings … One thing I had to do this weekend was thin my seedlings. Once your tomato seedlings are 3 times the height of their cups, or have at least 3 pairs of leaves, it’s time to transplant them into something larger. In this case, the stem becomes thin, and the plant becomes weak. Those are not things you want to deprive your seedlings of! The tomatoes took off very quickly and there are several good seedlings going in each stump. In this post I will use pictures to show you what to do to plant tomato seeds, how to care for the tiny seedlings, and also how to transplant them when the time is right. Second, floppy seedlings have a hard time growing up to be strong plants. Store bought plants may have been mislabeled, treated with chemicals, or stressed and this can really affect the results you get at … however the catnip and pepers are not getting this large as quick. When left un-thinned, seedlings that are in tight quarters will compete with one another for nutrients, water, air, and root space. If you are growing plants from seeds, thinning them out is absolutely necessary. Instead, pinch off the worst or leggiest looking seedlings with your fingernails at the base of the stems. First, seedlings that are too tall will have problems when they are moved outdoors. This is a sign of a strong plant that can withstand the weight of a heavier fruit and that you have successfully saved your leggy, spindly, tomato plant seedlings. Healthy, happy seedlings do better at transplanting and yield a better crop. As for the container, cell packs (the tiny plastic pots grouped together in packs often used for flower and veggie seedlings) are OK for starting tomato seeds, but a better idea is to use a small pot at least 3 or 4 inches tall and wide so the seedlings can grow to … 9.4 years ago indoor seed starting, repot, seedling, tomato. In addition to concerns about competition, crowding seedlings also increases the risk for disease.This is primarily due to the reduced airflow between the plants. Sander1. The greatest disadvantage home growers have in starting tomato seeds is the lack of the strong, overhead lighting that greenhouse growers can provide their annual seedlings. Trim off any side branches allowing only a few leaves to stick above the ground on about 2 inches of stem. 32 squares per planter, 64 in all. Even if you have a 100% germin… How to repot tomato seedlings. As the plants strain toward the light, they grow taller, thinner, and more fragile. If your newly germinated seedlings look like this, it may be due to one of three common causes: Insufficient Light. Tomato seedlings are ready to be transplanted when they are at least 3 inches tall, and have their first true leaves, which are the second and subsequent sets of leaves that appear. I feel reassured reading that you do the same thing. I've planted tomato and pepper seeds, two in each container, and they are growing now under lights out in the garage. So thin out any seedlings that have started to grow tall and leggy. Crowded conditions inhibit their growth, which stresses them and leads to disease later on. Once you start seeing thick, stocky stems, you’re good to go. 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