NE Seed New England Seed Co
Menu
Menu

Snip them off, Don’t pull them out!

If more than one tomato seed germinates in a single soil cell, you have 2 choices.

Seedlings in 2″ trays can become pot bound.

You can try to ‘prick out’ the seedlings, transplanting them into separate soil cells when they are still small or you can thin out the smallest seedlings leaving the healthiest one. It is very hard for any gardener to ‘kill’ one of their pampered baby tomato plants*, but for most, it’s the best course of action. Trying to separate tiny seedlings often leads to all of them getting damaged or their growth to be stunted. So, go ahead …. take out the scissors and snip off those extra seedlings at the soil. Don’t try to pull them out, you might damage the roots of the seedling that you leave behind. Your remaining plants will thank you for not disturbing them twice, since in most cases, tomato plants need to be transplanted into larger pots weeks before they can be planted into the garden.

Little hairs will turn into new roots.

Seedlings grown in 2” cells or flats will become pot bound and stunted, or take longer to recover when they are planted outside if they are not transplanted into larger pots at least once. 4” Cow Pots are the perfect size and are usually large enough to hold young plants until it’s time to move them out into the garden. With Cow Pots there’s no transplant shock since you plant them pot and all into the garden!

Pop out the seedlings to be transplanted from the bottom of the cells and handle them by the root ball or the leaves. Do not pull the seedlings from the cell which can rip off tiny roots nor handle them by the stem, which can easily crush and kill the plant.

See those little hairs on the stem? They will turn into new roots and give you much stronger plants. Remove any leaves that will be below the rim of the pot. Place the seedling in the bottom of the empty 4” Cow Pot (I like to wet the Cow Pots first).

Fill the pot with soil (you can use any remaining seed starting soil), water and add more soil as needed. Return the newly transplanted plants to the grow lights (which may need to be adjusted in height) and continue the routine of 14-16 hours of light.

Newly transplanted seedlings may not need as much water for a few days until the roots start to fill into the new soil. Fertilize weekly, and don’t forget to continue to pet your plants!

*Planting only one seed per soil cell avoids thinning all together. If the first seed planted doesn’t germinate within a week, plant a new seed in the same cell. A few days delay compared to the other seedlings won’t make much difference.

Explore More "How to Grow" Articles

Varieties for Container Planting

Varieties for Container Planting

More and more homeowners are enjoying growing their own vegetables. For many people, if they don’t have the room for a large garden, growing in containers is the answer! A container can be as small as a 6” pot (for a single basil plant), or as large as a 4’x8’ raise...

read more

A “PATH” to a Great Garden

Remember four words: Patience —Activity—Tolerance—Harvest These four steps will help prepare YOU and your garden for a spectacular show and harvest this year. The timeline for PATH (patience-activity-tolerance-harvest) is primarily March through July 4th (the harvest...

read more
Hot Pepper Growing Know How

Hot Pepper Growing Know How

As with many vegetable types, there are 100’s of hot peppers to choose from. From lava hot ‘Carolina Reaper’ to just a touch of heat ‘Paprika’. And their colors and shapes vary as much as their heat. All ‘hot’ peppers have two things in common: 1.The amount of...

read more
0 items - $0.00
NESEED Commercial Seeds for Growers of All Sizes