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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
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Post  HOUSTONMOM 4/2/2013, 6:47 pm

Hi,Bought some tomato and bell pepper plants from a store today they are about a foot tall with blooms but they are two plants together in a small pot (bonus plants I guess).My question is ,is it safe to separate them before planting or will that damage both and just plant them together?Also since they are so big do they need hardening for a week or just plant them?
p.s .Sorry this may be a dumb question but I never did this before. Since Mel's mix is a soil less mix do I need to shake off the soil the plants came in before planting or just plant whole thing? Thanks in advance.
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Post  quiltbea 4/2/2013, 7:05 pm

I would still harden off the plants. If they have been indoors mostly at the stores, then they need toughening up. Harden them off for 5-7 days.
At time of planting, I would gently separate the double plants and try to get two for the price of one. If one dies, you won't have really lost anything but may have a bonus if it lives. Just be sure to transplant the toms and peppers about 3"-5" deeper than they were in the purchased pot by removing the bottom branches in that area. You don't want any branches the first couple of inches from the ground. Roots will grow all along the stem's buried length and make a stronger plant.
Don't shake off the soil. You want to keep as much as you can around the root ball or you may lose the plant.
When you've planted them, place a toothpick alongside two sides of the stem, right against the stem itself, to prevent cutworm damage. They can't wrap around the stem so they can't kill it. As the plant grows bigger, it'll pop the toothpick out of the way itself.
You might also want to give them a little shade the first few days they are in the ground.

edited to add: If you are going to stake them, do it when you transplant them. You don't want to plunge a stake thru their roots when they get bigger.


Last edited by quiltbea on 4/2/2013, 7:06 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : to add last para)
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Post  floyd1440 4/2/2013, 8:38 pm

Hey Bea

very nice post but in all the years I have transplanted tomatoes, I never put tooth picks around the stems for cutworms. Perhaps I should try it this year..........
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Post  camprn 4/2/2013, 8:44 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:Hey Bea

very nice post but in all the years I have transplanted tomatoes, I never put tooth picks around the stems for cutworms. Perhaps I should try it this year..........
I don't use tooth picks either, I use toilet paper tubes cut in half then sliced up one side.

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Post  quiltbea 4/2/2013, 8:48 pm

Floyd.....I've used newspaper collars, tissue tube collars around stems and still lost to cutworms. Besides which, I found that wrapping the stems in newspaper was awkward and the young plant got jiggled around quite a bit. Tried the toothpicks one year and its been a winner for me every since. And its so simple. Never lost one to a cutworm yet.
I even protect melons, squash, corn and cukes with toothpicks when they first come up from being sown outdoors.
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Post  HOUSTONMOM 4/3/2013, 8:32 pm

Thank you so much !Your instructions are very helpful .Started hardening them off today put them outside for about two hours and brought them in .After a couple weeks of hot weather it got cold again I'll continue to harden them off for a week hopefully by then the weather will stay warmer.
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Post  llama momma 4/3/2013, 8:55 pm

I've used QB's toothpick advice with 100% success.
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