The Q&A Archives: transplanting vegetables

Question: I started my garden from seeds and now have seeds that have sprouted too close to each other. I've read many articles that say thin out by cutting weaker plant. My problem is if I cut out weaker plants I'll only be left with one or two plants of each vegetable. I'd like to try and dig them up and spread them out. My fear is I lose them all. Do you suggest I do this? What is the best way to do this

Answer: If you are careful with the seedlings you can separate and replant them. You'll need to work quickly so the roots don't dry out. I use toothpicks, one in each hand to separate intertwined roots. When you handle the seedlings, do so by the leaves, not by the stems. A plant can replace a damaged leaf but if you crush the stem, the plant will die. Just take the clump out of the tray or pot and lay it on its side. Use the toothpicks to separate the plants and then pot them up in moistened potting soil. Be sure to set them at the same soil level as they were growing before. Good luck with your project!

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