This is an update from the first time I tried to separate tomato seedlings, the post for which you can read by clicking on this link: Tomato Seedling Surgery . While I was on the right track when I did the original transplanting, I did it at the wrong time, which I have since learned. When only one of those tomato plants survived the original repotting, but then miraculously had four more plants randomly pop up in that same transplanted pot, I felt that God was giving my naive gardening skills a second chance. When I saw the little sprouts pop up and start growing, and then thriving, my hope was renewed and I knew I could do the transplanting this time, and it would work! Yesterday was the day. I did everything basically the same as I did the first time, only the lesson here is this:
DO NOT SEPARATE TOMATO SEEDLINGS UNTIL THE STEM IS IS STRONG AND HAS THE LITTLE HAIRS ON IT, AND DO NOT SEPARATE THE TOMATO PLANTS UNTIL IT HAS AT LEAST FOUR LEAVES ON EACH PLANT.
When I transplanted the seedlings before, they were just too young and fragile to be split up, and the trauma of the whole situation was more than they could handle. This time, all five of the plants growing in the pot had a thicker stem, many leaves, and stronger roots.
With a spoon, I gently scooped out the largest plant. When I did, the other plants were loosened and came up with the main plant. Veeeery gently, I separated all of the plants, and scooped a fairly deep hole in the empty transplant pots. I buried the plants deeper in their new pots, to give the plant more stability. With tomatoes, the little hairs on the stems are actually roots, so you can plant them deeper and not worry. I added potting mix and watered them thoroughly, and it worked! So I am happy to report that as of this moment, I think I'll have five tomato plants for the garden this year. This will make the hubby happy, and when the hubby's happy, I'm happy. So now you know that it's possible to transplant and separate seedlings when more than one seed grows in the pod, and you also know how long to wait before trying to separate them. Learn from my mistakes! It's why I share them with others.
|Five tomato plants. I had a sixth pot ready, but didn't use it. Now it's just there for visual balance, because I'm weird.|