Planted heirloom tomato seeds in one hole, in raised bed. Now have 7-9 plants foot high in a bouquet. Hoping to leave them together securely. Will all plants feed me fruit? Also, what is the alternative to separating all of them or cutting out more then 2?


Here is an innovative alternative for you. Since the seedlings are a foot high we have room to manoeuvre - we will use the characteristic of the tomato plant to grow roots along the stem above the existing root. So if we had a two foot single seedling, we could bury it 18" deep leaving 6" above ground and it would sprout out roots in the now buried part making a strong plant with roots very deep in the soil. It should recover quickly.

So here is the plan - dig a hole wide enough to take the existing clump with the best seedlings splayed out as widely as possible without breaking. Slowly refill the hole so that each seedling you decide to retain is at an angle of 45 degrees for the first 6 inches and then the top 6 inches allowed to grow vertically. The result will be like a circle of plants in an octagon or nonagon arrangement, with the plants about a foot apart across the circle and somewhat less than that in the circumference. Maybe leave one to grow up at the centre of the circle.

Alternatively, leave the clump as is and mound up good soil around the splatted plants. This arrangement will be harder to water but avoids digging up the clump.

The plants will end up a bit closer together than normal for good size fruit but will retain many plants that might otherwise suffer when roots separated.


I really like Colin's suggestions! What he doesn't say is why: many plants will be stunted and not grow normally if they are too close to other plants. That is why we are instructed to thin seedlings to a certain distance. Give those roots some space!

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