The Case Of Too Many Tomatoes

We pulled into my in-laws house for a visit recently and noticed there were tomatoes greeting us by the front door.

I thought, “Well, that’s creative to plant them in a pot with nasturtiums and sunflowers.”

Then I turned to the left and saw that there were tomatoes planted in the front mound that had traditionally been reserved for flowers.

“Hmm…this is interesting.”

Walking around the back, I found some tomatoes planted traditionally with marigolds and other vegetables.

Surely, this is it, right?

I noticed walking further that they had a new little green house filled with….

You guessed it. Tomatoes.

Then more outside of the greenhouse.

I’m starting to laugh out loud now, thinking “why would two people need more than 50 tomato plants?”

During dinner I noticed still more tomatoes on the deck.

So finally I had to ask, “What’s with all the tomatoes?”

Well, this was my father-in-law’s second year starting tomatoes from seed instead of buying transplants. He had a little bit of trouble last year and this year the first packet he planted resulted in NO tomato plants. None.

So he bought two more packets and planted all the seeds. This time almost all of them came up (of course). But now he didn’t have the heart to thin them out. He transplanted every single one.

He’s hoping that:

  1. Since they got a late start, even if each plant only produces a couple of tomatoes, they’ll have a lot just through quantity of plants. AND
  2. He’ll find some people who are just waiting for some nice tomato plants.

I think he’s covered on the first count, and he said that they’ve given a bunch away even though I counted more than 60 plants. Hmmm.

What do you think? Do you find it hard to thin (i.e., throw out) seeds that you’ve started, even when you know that they grow better when thinned?






  1. says

    Like your in-laws, I don’t have the heart to thin out seedlings. I’ll always transplant them. I’ve done that with my tomatoes this year… hopefully I’ll get a lot of actual tomatoes instead of just a lot of nice looking plants (which is what I currently seem to have)…

  2. says

    This sounds so much like my husband! He has the hardest time thinning plants when he’s worked so hard to get them started. Also pruning roses or pinching back for bushier growth. I tell him it’s all for the good, but he can’t be as “heartless” as me, lol!

  3. says

    Case in point – my salad box and the zucchini. I didn’t have the heart to thin out the salad and what resulted was a crazy wacked out lettuce bed. (but boy, we never wanted for salad greens). And I planted like 5-6 seeds per zucchini hill because in years past, the ONE seed we planted would never produce enough zucchini for our family. So I overcompensated. It killed me to pull out the plants and thin to 2 plants per hill, but I’m glad I did because those plants are HUGE now.

  4. Valerie says

    I have the hardest time thinning seedlings! I’ve had the same problem your in-laws have…it is hard to “let” a plant die that you know could produce something, at least for me! :) Our tomatoes are not doing well at all, not enough heat and sun, I’m afraid. I’d need 100 tomato plants to produce enough for my family at the rate these are going to produce. :)

  5. ChRiS says

    i planted 2 LOL 1 cherry 1 reg the cherry has least 100 tomotos already took around 25 or more off and i see now the ref size has oh maybe 20 or more tomotoes and 2 are finally getting close to pick….seriously at the price of them here ( i think 3.99 lb) i wish i had planted a row of em just for my neighbors…mostly elderly)

  6. Jan LaFollette says

    That’s why I buy the plants, I’ve done the same thing….why, I ask myself? I don’t know but when those seeds sprout you feel so responsible for the lives of those baby plants. I have a son who over plants tomatoes every year, I just get the ones for canning from him. Enjoy your blog and thanks for the comment. From a fellow(?) Oregonian who loves to garden.

  7. Lexa says

    Too funny. A man after my own heart. If it comes up I sure don’t have it it in me to kill it. The only thing I force myself to do is to thin carrots – and even that hurts :)

  8. Kristin says

    I am not much of a life taker, seed thinner kind of girl either! Therefor I have 21 tomato plants that are all producing, choking out the peppers and Zinnias and falling over from the weight of all of that fruit! We have tomatoes coming out our ears right now! I think I will have to make salsa and sauce this week or next.
    And next year I am going to have to get a little garden tough and thin those seedlings!

  9. says

    Yes, I totally have trouble with thinning out the plants–I mean, come one, I worked so hard to grow them in the first place! Gotta say, right now I have only 1 extra tomato plant but several pepper and eggplant starts hanging out, waiting for someone to come and take them and love them.

  10. says

    I”ve never tried growing tomatoes and don’t have clue one about thinning anything out, except the junk in my room :) :) …but the story did make me laugh. It’s really cute. Maybe he could make some yummy pasta sauce and give it away as gifts? Thanks for sharing this. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  11. Brian & Rachel Davis says

    Oooooooh, I BUY tomatoes. Does he happen to live in Hillsboro? 😀 I have a terrible time thinning things. I just can things if there is too much. (not that there is!)

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