Ask a Question forum: Tomatoes and pepper sprouts

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Name: Jared Nicholes
Post Falls, Idaho
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jnicholes
Feb 17, 2016 11:56 AM CST
Hello!

I saw on the ATP calendar for my area that I should plant peppers and tomatoes indoors in a greenhouse around this time of year, which I did. one week later, a surprising result! The peppers are barely starting to sprout, and the tomatoes, see for yourself!


Thumb of 2016-02-17/jnicholes/5c0e88


My question is, did I put too many seeds together? They kinda spilled when I planted them.

Second, The ATP calendar for my area said to plant these with peppers in February, did I do it too early?

Thanks!

Jared
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 17, 2016 7:23 PM CST
No, it's fine to plant this early, Jared. But the hardest thing a beginning gardener needs to learn is to thin out seedlings so that they will have room to grow. You can't let all those babies grow in a clump like that. Take soft tweezers or your fingers very gently and see if you can pull out all but the strongest. Then spread them around at least 3 or 4in. apart.

You can try to re-plant the seedlings as long as you get a good root when you pull them out. use a pencil or a fork and make a deep hole then plant the baby at the same level as it was before.

Make sure they get lots of good light in the early stages too, so they don't stretch up and get too leggy. A few hours of extra using grow lights is a good idea.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Feb 17, 2016 7:44 PM CST
>> My question is, did I put too many seeds together? They kinda spilled when I planted them.

Yup, everyone does that at least once, and some of us learn slowly, like me. I think it is easier to sow thinly or in individual cells, unless you are coordinated and tough-minded about yanking seedling around and letting any damaged ones die.

I agree with Elaine. And by the way, good photo. Worth 1,000 words.

>> You can't let all those babies grow in a clump like that.

Yup. They will turn into huge plants and strangle/starve/shade each other. Their roots would compete.

>> Take soft tweezers or your fingers very gently and see if you can pull out all but the strongest.

My method would be to FIRST slide a fork or two AROUND and somewhat UNDER each clump of seedlings, and lift the whole clump out of the flat as gently as possibly, trying to lift all roots whole.

Then spread the clump out on a flat surface and try to "tease" the roots apart while ripping as few roots as possible. But I'm clumsy and timid about seedling roots and stems.

I wouldn't even try to be gentle enough with tweezers to pull on a seedling stem - I would expect to squish it or rip it in half. With clumsy fingers, you might be better off gripping the LEAVES since the plant can ignore and replace a bruised leaf. Dented or bruised stems migh6 not recover or might be prone to damping off (rotted stem near the soil line).

Some people just say "Too bad so sad" and use small scissors to cut off (and kill) all but the best seedling in a clump. I have a neighbor like that and call her Attila the Gardener.

>> Then spread them around at least 3 or 4in. apart.

That's if you put them back into a communal pot or flat. Personally, I would transplant them right into separate cells or pots, like Dixie cups, Solo cups, or quart containers. That way, I would not have "prick them out" a second time. I hate doing that!


Some say that, when planting out into a raised bed, tomato plants should be 18 inches to 24 inches apart. I GUESS so, but my few tomato plants sprawled a LOT wider than 2 feet. Maybe they assumed that you would train the plants up onto a lattice or supporting twine (like Florida Weave).

And maybe have more than 2 feet between rows so you can walk down the row without burrowing through a tunnel of tomato boughs.



Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Feb 17, 2016 8:06 PM CST
OR just snip off the extra plants at the soil surface. I usually allow two tomatoes to grow together but anymore than that is way too many.

Daisy
Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Feb 18, 2016 11:41 AM CST
If you want to try to save most or all of them, tomato seedlings are actually fairly tolerant of being moved around. I generally try to separate them as Rick suggested, but I use toothpicks or bamboo skewers and then gently resettle them in individual pots.
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Feb 18, 2016 3:00 PM CST
I'm a sissy about seedling roots. Like the insides of a person, if you can SEE white roots, something bad must be happening.

But I know that people experienced in "pricking out" seedlings say they can be pretty rough with most species and they tolerate it well.

Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Feb 18, 2016 9:21 PM CST
I never plant more than one hill of any tomato (so no separating and saving at my house). Your success rate for tomato production (The whole point to growing tomatoes), would be to plant as many varieties as you can fit into your garden. Then if a few fail to produce, you have plenty more to fill the gap.

I hope you are looking at the length of season for each variety you are considering and comparing that to the length of your growing season. You are in Zone 6a and I am in Zone 6b. I will be starting my seeds on April 1 to plant out by June 1. Look for short season varieties; they will do best in your climate.

Unless you are canning your whole crop (Can? Crying ), look for indeterminate tomatoes. They grow HUGE but produce all season. Determinate means the whole crop will be ripe at just about the same time (but the bushes are smaller).

Daisy

Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Feb 18, 2016 10:39 PM CST
Jared, what exactly do you mean by planting "indoors in a greenhouse" ? Some sort of small greenhouse inside your house? Inside a (possibly heated) greenhouse outdoors?
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Name: Jared Nicholes
Post Falls, Idaho
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jnicholes
Feb 18, 2016 11:20 PM CST
Hello!

I will take a picture of the indoor greenhouse and post it in the morning, late where I'm at.

Jared
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Feb 18, 2016 11:30 PM CST
Only 10:30 pm more or less. I agree

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