Cherry tomatoes: too many?

(Question)

Hello:

I live on a westfacing 11th floor balcony. I have several cherry tomato plants that I started from seed in March this year, which I started in peat pellets indoors.

Several of the peat pellets (which I have now transplanted into 12″ and 14″ pots on the balcony outside) now have several individual cherry tomato plants in them (because I planted 3-5 seeds per pellet).

My question is: Should I allow multiple plants to grow from the same spot, or should I cut the excess plants and only let the strongest one grow from one spot?

See attached picture.

Thank you! Derek

(Answer)

Yes – cut out all but your strongest plant as you are after a large, strong root system that will both support and nourish the tomato plant.  Next year, try snipping out the smaller plants after their true leaves form and before transplanting.  If the main plant becomes spindly before transplanting, plant it sideways, burying the lower stem and it will develop roots along the stem.  A good reference for starting tomatoes from seed can be found at www.garden.org/foodguide/browse/veggie/tomatoes_getting_started/354.