Long Distance Relationship with Seedlings

What to do when you have been coddling little seedlings and suddenly you have to be out of town?  Last year I was faced with this scenario, and although it meant I got to visit Little Sis, I was quite sure that after being unable to find any help from neighbors I would come home to frozen seedlings on the deck or dessicated seedlings in the house.  How to choose between prematurely freezing or drying my future produce?….

Here is a re-enactment of what my husband and I came up with I did last year… Remember this is just a re-enactment ; )

I left my seedlings in the bathtub with wet towels, a slow drip of water, a floor lamp with plant lights in all 3 sockets leaning over the edge of the tub, a timer and a few prayers and shakes of incense.  (You must have your seedlings in peat pots or some other medium that will absorb water from the bottom for this to work.)

First I layered beach towels in the bottom of the tub…

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Yes, I put the sunshiney towel on top on purpose…. hoping it would distract you from the dirty bathtub!

Then I wet the towels so they were sopping wet but not floating.

Next I took a plastic gallon jug of water and made 2 small holes in the bottom.  Make sure and take the top off to enable the water to leak out.  I then placed it in a corner of the bathtub against the wall.  If a gallon jug is too fat for your rim, use a couple of tall thin water bottles.  I confess I made the holes too big the first time and the water was coming out very fast, so I tried again until there was a bit of a trickle.

Here’s the re-enactment part.  I don’t have any gallon jugs of water… less afraid of an apocalypse this year I suppose… so I just set a water jug on the corner to give you the idea.

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Then I removed the seedlings from their tray, still in their little peat pots and set them directly on the wet towels.

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Last year I started 3 times as many seedlings and they all fit nicely – if a little more crammed together.

Then I leaned the floor lamp with plant bulbs over the tub, keeping it from rolling by placing books next to the base, and aimed the lights at the seedlings.

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Although it looks like a larger space, the lights are actually 18″ – 24″ from the tops of the seedlings.

Place a timer on your lamp so the little babies get some sleep time and voila!  I came home to healthy, larger seedlings after a 6 day trip.  The towels were still wet.

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30 responses

  1. SO funny because I was going to ask you to remind me what you did last year. I have a feeling I’m going to be needing this a couple of times next spring. While we’re hatching plans and sharing recipes my little veggie children will be thriving in the tub!

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  5. I am starting my seedlings 2 weeks late because I didn’t want to take a chance with them while I was gone, and I love watching them germinate. This gives me lots of ideas for next year. Thank you.

    • I understand completely. I came up with this idea because I had to go out of town unexpectedly to help a family member with a health issue. Necessity can indeed be the mother of invention! Good luck with your seedlings and thanks for stopping by.

  6. I love it! Though I admit to visions of you electrocuting the seeds which is really silly, I know. I love how you used the wicking properties of the pots to keep them moist.

    Thanks for linking up at Motivation Monday! Pinning this on my vegetable garden board for future reference, too.

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