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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