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Transplanting seedlings question

OK, so I got 82% germination on my romas. I planted 2 in each cell thinking maybe if I just put one seed in, it might not germinate. Problem is, almost ALL germinated at least ONE (most have 2). I want to give a few away, possibly sell a few to help offset gardening costs ($1 each...I think thats fair?)

I know I should just pinch the smaller ones off, and keep the larger ones.

My question is, how big do the seedlings have to be before I can transplant them, and how many times can they be transplanted? Once from the tiny starter cell, to a larger 4" pot or so, then finally into the ground? Is that too many times? What soil should I use? I have some organic potting soil on hand. Would that be bad to have around the roots for when they finally go into the ground?


I know a LOT of questions, but for some reason I feel guilty just pinching seedlings. I'd LOVE to give them a fighting chance..OH and I did NOT plant them in the exact center of the cell. I planted them off on separate areas, so separating could be easier, so hopefully, I won't disturb the roots too bad Smiler

Thanks in advance Big Grin
 
[hr]Formerly known as determined 2b healthy. We must replace that which we took, and we must realize that the earth was here before us, and will be here after us. It is up to us to take care of her, for she gives life, and can also take it.
Hi Farmer K,

I'd transplant exactly as you suggested - once from the cell to a 4" pot and once more into the ground. They should be fine in the starter cell with just seed starter mix or you could add a very diluted fish/kelp mix fertilizer if you keep them in there more than a few weeks.

I'd transplant into the larger pot once they're well established. If there are roots crawling all over the place you've waited a bit longer than you should. Also, if you've used peat pots tear open the bottom of the peat pot before transplanting. There's no reason to make it difficult for the roots to go deep.

I usually put a 50/50 mix of seed starter mix and composted manure (this time of year I choose not to try to dig compost out of my compost pile) in the 4" pots.

It's tempting to try to save the additional seedling but I'd advise cutting the weaker one with scissors. Next year plant twice as many so you can have some for your friends or to sell. It's not worth traumatizing those tiny roots.

Have fun!
 
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Kevin, If you have 72 seedlings, you will have plenty to share anyway. I know that you want to get lots of tomatoes but trust me, 72 plants will be enough for any army! I usually grow 16 - 20 plants and have enough to take boxes and boxes of tomatoes over to the nursing home each year. I grow the extra for this purpose because they love them so much.

I would also recommend being ruthless and cutting off the extras. I usually plant one seed in the center of each cell and another one in case that one does not germinate. If the center one comes up, the other one goes!

One final recommendation I would make is to plant a couple of at least one other variety in case the Romas do not do as well as planned. I plant about 3 varieties each year and usually one does not do as well as the others. I like to have a back up

Last year PA also had a big outbreak of Late Blight which killed most of my plants but luckily my Big Beef's laster longer than the others and I was still able to get plenty of tomatoes.

Your garden is looking great. I liked the view showing your whole back yard.
 

 Zone 7b  Southeastern PA

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thanks for the tips guys/gals. And thanks for the compliment on my yard brownrexx. Sometimes I think you guys are tired of me posting pics. I need to start stating what I'm doing more in depth instead of just "Here it is!" but I'm not THAT articulate...But yeah, the yard is SLOWLY coming along..MORE room for veggies Big Grin


looks like I'll just cut the smaller ones. I have 119 romas in the cells and about 15-20 more in misc planters. These are seeds from a tomato that I bought from my friends fruit stand. It was my first attempt at saving seed, and I guess I went a little crazy. I wasn't sure if I fermented them correctly. I guess I did Big Grin

Only 30 or so will be going in the garden garden. I also have other types of tomatoes started. Moneymaker, swiss alpine, matts wild cherry, fox(?) cherry, first pick, and an "early" roma.

They are all in old plastic pots that I got here and there, and what the previous owner left. I do have a couple in terra cotta planters but NEVER again. The terra cotta zaps the moisture right out. Seems like the rest are still moist, and the terra cotta are bone dry. Same with the peat ones. I have a couple of them with seeds in them. Seems like I'm watering/moistening those every day, as opposed to the plastic ones once a week.

OH, some of my tomatoes have their first TRUE leaves visible Big Grin They are tiny, but I can see them. I'm so excited Big Grin
 
[hr]Formerly known as determined 2b healthy. We must replace that which we took, and we must realize that the earth was here before us, and will be here after us. It is up to us to take care of her, for she gives life, and can also take it.
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We NEVER get tired of seeing pix!
 

 Zone 7b  Southeastern PA

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Congrats on saving your own seed, as you say looks like it was successful. As others have said best to be brutal and pluck out the weaker one. Good selection of varieties, cherries always do well here. I'll save you a sungold cherry from my seedlings, they always seem to do well in this climate.
 

Inland Southern California USDA 9b, Sunset 19

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Thanks david, that would be cool if you saved me one. Is there a variety of mine that you see that you would be interested in?

I saved seeds from the druzba you gave me last year, but I'll start those next year. I really appreciated that. Thank you Smiler

Today is the day I cut the weaker ones. Here I go lol. I just gotta do it, and not think about it
 
[hr]Formerly known as determined 2b healthy. We must replace that which we took, and we must realize that the earth was here before us, and will be here after us. It is up to us to take care of her, for she gives life, and can also take it.
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If you already cut the weaker ones, don't read this.

I always feel guilty pulling up the "extra" plant, so often I pull them up and put them in other cells and most of the time they make it. If the two are really close together, I pinch one off. If there is some space between them, I just scoop the one out with the handle of a spoon. As long as I do this during the first few days the plants are up they don't have enough roots to be tangled with each other.
 

North Central Illinios

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Yup Oliver Man, that's what I do as well. In many decades of starting seed, I've never been able to wrap around purposely killing perfectly healthy-looking seedlings. And I always have folks willing to take the extras - hubby even asks around his office & brings boxes of the extras to work with him.
 

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"My body is a temple - unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper."

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"And no, I'm NOT being snarky."

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Zone 7a, Culpeper, Virginia

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I cheated a little. Some that we're too close, I snipped. The ones that were farther apart, I used the scissors (skinny barber type) to loosen the soil, and then gently tugged them out. I had to stop because I ran out of containers.

My friend is going to ask his dad if I can sell the plants through them. If so, then I'll use that money to buy more planters. My friend has them for $0.10 each used, so I'll probably go that route for now.

If I were to say "grown chemical free using organic techniques/methods" that's not implying being certified organic, right? I'm not trying to say certified organic or anything. I don't want me or my friends to get in trouble. Again, I'm NOT looking to get rich, but if I could sell a few things to even just pay for the water for my garden, then that's a HUGE help. I really do hate the idea of making a profit on this stuff. I would rather give it all away first, but bills have to be paid Frowner
 
[hr]Formerly known as determined 2b healthy. We must replace that which we took, and we must realize that the earth was here before us, and will be here after us. It is up to us to take care of her, for she gives life, and can also take it.
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Your Chemical Free statement sounds good to me.

Actually, others will know for sure but I don't think that you need to be certified unless you sell more than $5000 worth of produce.

Around here I see more and more Chemical Free signs popping up at veggie stands.
 

 Zone 7b  Southeastern PA

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Around here you MUST be certified in order to use the word "organic" in your advertising - regardless of how much or how little you sell.

Thus the proliferation of "Grown Without Chemical Fertilizers or Pesticides" signs. You can word it any way you want, but you can't use the word "organic".
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"My body is a temple - unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"And no, I'm NOT being snarky."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zone 7a, Culpeper, Virginia

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This is how I grow tomato, pepper and eggplant seedlings. I plant 4 or more seeds (depending on previous germination rates) to a container (small pot, cottage cheese, deli, mushroom or veggie container). When they come up, within a week or so, I prepare four other labeled small pots and turn the whole "clod" of soil out into my hand and then upright on newspaper. From there it is simple to divide them up into each pot plus add some soil and return the last one back to the original pot. After they grow under lights for 3-6 weeks they begin to outgrow their pots. They are then re-potted into larger containers and set out on the sheltered porch to harden off.

The plants are set out on trays alphabetically so it's easy to find each variety. After picking out the keepers for the garden and placing them out of sight from the others, a notice is posted on the community group website. People will pay $2 to $4 a plant, depending on size. Many of the plants look better than the $5-$10 plants from the local nurseries. After the neighborhood sale, there is Craig's list and the left over plants are given to a community youth garden.

I usually take in a few hundred which covers seed costs or something nice for the yard. I get a lot of pots "dumpster diving" at a local nursery (they don't mind and used to donate seeds when I taught horticulture). If seeds are started in April, they are only re-potted once, not twice. The plants won't sell for as much, but it doesn't take so much of my time. Main problem- making sure the variety is written on the masking tape on the pot and making sure the tape is really stuck on, so there aren't anonymous plants.
 

Abigail, all 9 kids grown and 16 little gardeners: what a harvest!

Zone 7a, Far Rockaway, New York

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thanks GD learned alot from your last reply!
 

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Willemette Valley Oregon, 7A?  Member since 2005

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After reading BG's reply I Googled "selling organic produce" and found a website for small businesses which gives the info that I had heard before:

Low volume producers and handlers of organic agricultural products (those that sell less than $5,000 a year in organic products) are exempt from certification but can still label their foods as organic. Do note that if you do fall into this category, you will still need to comply with national standards and labeling requirements. Learn more about the exemption process (which also applies to certain handlers and retailers) in the USDA fact sheet (or check out the USDA organic certification Web page).

Here is the website if you want to read more:

http://www.sba.gov/community/b...anic-food-products-0
 

 Zone 7b  Southeastern PA

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The problem is that without certification there's no way to prove that small producers at farmers markets are complying with the "national & labeling requirements" like they're supposed to. Thus, the local farmers markets around here (& I imagine in others) insist that their vendors not use the word "organic" unless they have proof of certification.

I guess one has to check with their market management to see how they handle that.
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"My body is a temple - unfortunately, it's a fixer-upper."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"And no, I'm NOT being snarky."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zone 7a, Culpeper, Virginia

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Pardon, but even with certification, there is no way to prove that one meets NOP (National Organic Program) standards of the USDA unless one survives a careful audit by their certifying agent (often the state dept. of agriculture). Producers grossing less than $5,000 aren't required to hire a certifying agent, or the attendant paperwork, because the cost can be well over $1,000 annually; but are subject to the same -- potentially enormous -- penalties if they violate NOP standards.

In effect, if you say you're "organic" and you're not, you stand to lose a bundle, and I don't care who you are.

Those who declare themselves "Chemical-Free" may be just that, but they're not "Organic" necessarily, because a lot more is involved than chemicals. You must use organic seed if it's available, for example; you must compost animal manure in accordance with NOP rules; and any "input" you use in your farm or gardens must have a stamp of approval from OMRI (the Organic Materials Research Institute).

Period.

And the list goes on.
 
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