Faith in a Seed

Waterlogged Cauliflower

I was feeling a little blue yesterday because, as predicted, I have managed to overwater my seedlings yet again. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the bottom leaf on this plant is discolored, a leaf below that actually shriveled, and the growth is quite stunted. Other seedlings have also become stunted in their growth and are lighter in color than they should be. The tricksy bit about overwatering is that the signs of it look an awful lot like… wait for it… underwatering!!!! Super. So unless you are really paying attention or you’ve learned this lesson an adequate number of times for it to stick, you may actually water your seedlings to death in an attempt to make them look like they’ve not dried up and begun to die.

Unlike years past, I recognized the situation a bit earlier and have put my seedlings on the DWTSMYM (don’t water them so much, you moron) plan and they seem to be bouncing back.  I will be buying larger healthier seedlings to supplement my stock.  Still, this is a quantum leap over last year, and if I’d made notes on the whole process, I probably wouldn’t have to be buying any seedlings from anyone…. So back to feeling a little blue. And then I went outside…

Supplementary Cauliflower Settling In

and saw these…

Still More Asparagus


And these…

Precious Peas


And this…

Volunteer Onion


And this…

Volunteer Fennel


And… sweet swimminy… these…

Blurry Potato Seedlings


Though I do not believe
that a plant will spring up
where no seed has been,
I have great faith in a seed.
Convince me that you have a seed there,
and I am prepared to expect wonders.

Henry David Thoreau

Feeling adequately bouyed, I was able to grab my hacksaw, rip into the gutter and do this…

Yay Spring!

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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