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8 messages
15/04/2013 at 23:33

Hi there. I'm a complete novice and am trying to grow a lot of different plants from the same start - a windowsill propogator. I have three propogators and they're the type with numerous small cells. I'm a week into growing tomatoes, cucumbers, chillis, pak choi, peppers, broccoli, lettuce, salad mix, coriander, basil.....

My question is whether everything needs to be thinned down to a single seedling? For some, such as the cucumber which grows thick stems this is obvious. For other things such as basil, pak choi and salad mix, the seedlings grow much thinner and I don't know. With these, should I thin them all to one now, just separate them once I prick them out into larger pots (and risk tangled roots breaking?) or prick them out all together in a clump once they've grown more and pot them on exactly like this?

Many Thanks

16/04/2013 at 07:33

This is one of many areas in gardening for which there is no right answer. Many of us have our own tried and trusted methods which work well for us, but may not be the choice of others who have equally successful methods of their own.

What I do is: once seedlings have developed true leaves I transplant them singly into individual cells or pots. Onse they fill a cell or a pot they are either potted on again into larger pots or direct to the ground.

I do not tend to transplant clumps of seedlings, although for some plants like lobelia I know this method is used.

Good luck.

16/04/2013 at 07:50
For the basil - if you look closely at a supermarket pot of the same, you'll see that it has quite a few separate plants in there. So you could transplant a clump of them into a larger pot.

As for the mixed salad leaves, if you grow them on a 'cut and come again' basis, they too can be grown thickly.

Or you can transplant singly, as Punkdoc suggests. Or you could try both approaches, and see which works best for you.

Have no experience of pak choi though.
16/04/2013 at 08:12

I don't grow a lot of veg but as fig says lettuce can be picked as a cut and come again or you can thin a few to leave as individual plants. I grow basil and I let it get to a reasonable sized plant and the split into smaller pots. I try to thinly sow where possible. Sow ing at intervals with lettuce is the key as well. As mentioned, both ways work so perhaps do a bit of each and see what suits you best.

16/04/2013 at 08:27
cxgcxg wrote (see)

My question is whether everything needs to be thinned down to a single seedling? For some, such as the cucumber which grows thick stems this is obvious. For other things such as basil, pak choi and salad mix, the seedlings grow much thinner and I don't know. With these, should I thin them all to one now, just separate them once I prick them out into larger pots (and risk tangled roots breaking?) or prick them out all together in a clump once they've grown more and pot them on exactly like this?

Many Thanks

The toms, chillies, cukes, peppers, broccoli, etc, need to be potted on as individual plants. As should the salad mix. Left as clumps they will only throttle each other.

The likes of basil and coriander can be separated into individual plants but will cope as two or three plants together. Do the separating when they're large enough to handle. You just need to take care separating the tangled roots but you don't need surgical precision. Root structures are pretty forgiving unless you tear them off completely.

16/04/2013 at 08:50

It's tricky but it is good if you can try to get 1 or 2 plants per cell which makes planting seed a bit laborious initially but why choke the plants up initially and lose loads due to having planted far to densely. It's different with trays as you intend to separate them at a later point but even then you want to sow thinly so they are are not competing. Thats my view but others may well disagree entirely.

Biggest mistake i think you can make is too sow far too dense.

17/04/2013 at 09:11

I agree, blackest. Oversowing only makes for more work later.

17/04/2013 at 18:12

Wow - thanks very much for all of the helpful replies. It's definitely a bit of trial and error and I have to accept this year that trying so much, things will go wrong.

Right - next challenge, work out what to do with vermiculite that I bought yesterday!

Thanks again - cxgcxg

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