Wednesday, May 1, 2013

GOOPS - Don't Kill Your Seedlings

This is the time of year when my windowsills are covered with little pots of green shoots.  Shoots I have nurtured and coddled from tiny seeds.  They have sprouted leaves and soon will leave the nest for the big outdoors. 

Well if they survive my haphazard gardening regime that is.


A couple years ago I forgot to water the tomatoes and they collapsed.  That's a really bad thing to do.  Rule #1 - water your seedlings.  Not just once either - check them every day.

This year after weeks of fussing over my onion seedlings I began to put them outdoors to harden off.  A couple hours at a time, then a wee bit longer, until they were out all day long.

and then I forgot them....  outside .... all night long.  

Rule #2 - Don't do this either. 

Luckily I've been suffering a bit of insomnia lately (never thought I would say that) and I was laying in bed at 3:30am with nothing to do but think about gardening and I realized - ohmygod the onions!

So while they were a little scorched by frost they didn't perish entirely.

The upside of all this is that the moon was putting on quite a show when I went out to retrieve said onions.  So here's a little Skywatch thrown in for good measure.


GOOPS (aka Gardening Oops) are brought to you on the first of each month courtesy of Joene at Joene's Garden.  

29 comments:

  1. I'll bet most gardeners who have started plants from seed have, at least once, forgotten to water or shelter young upstarts and, as a result, seedlings have died. I know I have. At least you got a cool look at the moon during your early morning rescue.
    Thanks for joining in with the May GOOPs.

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    1. Thanks Joene for posting your GOOPS each month. I loved your line - if you aren't making mistakes you're not gardening hard enough! Mistakes are my best way of learning. :)

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  2. Fun post! We've all had our boo boo's!

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  3. I love this, Marguerite ! Very therapeutic to share all our mistakes :-) I bought 3 new perennials last week, meant to water them as they were bone dry, then promptly forgot about them ! I remembered just in time, a couple of days later when they were gasping their last . They did recover, but will they ever forgive me ?

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    1. Therapy's a good word for it :) It reminds me a bit of 'confessing my sins'

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  4. I thought I was the only one out on the deck at 2 in the morning rescuing seedlings from my overnight neglect! My bedside clock has a temperature reading on it, so when I wake up in the middle of the night (I always do) and see that it's gotten down to freezing, panic ensues.

    Seedlings are a lot of work at the hardening off stage, and mine either fry in too much sun, freeze if I forget them or get drowned in a sudden rain. Glad your onions survived despite your GOOPs.

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    1. Glad to see I'm not the only one with this issue. I've lost more than a few plants over the years to too much sun as well.

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  5. I could fill a book with all the GOOPS I've made with starting seedlings:) Still, I keep trying every year. Glad your onions survived--your insomnia turned out to be a good thing, after all.

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    1. I think that's the key Rose, just keep trying. Eventually something's gotta stick right?

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  6. A few of the tomatoes seeds you sent me have sprouted. Your post is a timely reminder to check on them. I was busy yesterday and forgot to water and prop open the cold frame before I left the house. Hopefully everything didn't fry! Dashing out now to check...

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    1. Great to hear Jennifer! I've got lots of tomatoes yet again this year but was a little disappointed with the germination rates. I have stayed away from cold frames so far, one of my fears is the whole propping it open part. Pretty sure I would fail miserably at temperature regulation.

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  7. Yes! I too have found myself outdoors in the wee hours rescuing various plants and veggies. But isn't it nice to be able to sneak out in your jammies and not completely freeze to death.

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    1. Absolutely! I've even managed to crack open a few windows around here this past week. Very ready for proper warmth to begin.

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  8. Sigh...came home and the tomatoes had gone leggy and collapsed. sigh... but think I can rescue some of them.

    Now waking up in the middle of the night and going outside to rescue plants is a whole other thing, makes you a garden hero in my eyes and I am sure your plants feel the same way.

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    1. Wish I could say I was thinking solely of the plants when I was awake at that hour but my internal clock seems to have gone awry lately.

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  9. Love that you are thinking about gardening at 3:30 a.m. Aren't we all a little obsessed this time of year. :)

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    1. This time of year my garden obsession really rears its head. If it doesn't involve gardening then I'm just not interested.

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  10. Oh, that is so very familiar - I got up the other day and realised I had left the greenhouse open all night. Happily I hadn't put the tomatoes out in it or they would have curled up and died on me. And as for keeping track of hardening off, I am a disaster, it all starts well enough, but then I forget to either open the cold frame or close it, or water it. It is a miracle that anything survives to grow in the garden!!

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    1. Makes you wonder why we put such effort into starting our own seeds doesn't it? At this point every year I start questioning my sanity.

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  11. Wow, I'm so envious of your onion seedlings..planted seeds and got nothing..we have terrific luck with starting pepper plants from seeds but so many seeds this year are hit and miss..I'm leaving my seedlings out all night now, 10 or 11 all night and they are in a mini plastic house hubby made..but wondering if I'll fry them during our 23 degree days!..Can't wait to see your gardens one day..Happy Gardening Lannie

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    1. Lannie, I have had so much trouble with onions in the past. I'm beyond excited to have proper seedlings this year. I have yet to try peppers but I'm intrigued.

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  12. Oh no, if I starting listing mine, it would be a long post.

    Glad to know that I am not the only one who forgets.

    Jen

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    1. Jen, I only confess to a minimal amount of damage. People would think I didn't know a darn thing about gardening if I told the whole truth :)

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  13. I have the hardest time with little seedlings, too. I usually only direct sow now. It helps me to sleep at night! ;)

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    1. Direct sow is the best really. Seedlings tend to be much stronger. Wish I could do it more but our short climates some things simply have to be done indoors.

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  14. Good tips as always for my future garden and plants :)

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    1. Water and don't freeze them and you can't go wrong. :)

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  15. That's exactly why I don't grow anything from seed that needs to be started indoors. I have the best of intentions but soon forget about them. I only plant seeds that can be sown directly in the ground and even then I have mixed results. I find I do much better with plugs - pricier but the foliage 'reminds' me they need some TLC in the first year.

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