Monday, May 16, 2011

I Cannot Tell A Lie

I wasn't going to tell you this.  I was going to pretend like it didn't happen.  You wouldn't notice if only half my seedlings made it outdoors.  But I can't lie to you.  And if it helps someone else then my work here is done.

It happened like this.

Hubby yells at me from piano room 'what happened to your plants?'

I come to look and find this

(very sorry for the truly awful photos folks, it was late and all I could find was the camera phone)

Help!  We have a tomato down!

I immediately ran for the watering can and came racing back and frantically started pouring water into the tray.   'I FORGOT!!!!'

Now, for any spouses who might be reading this, this is NOT the way to respond

hubby says 'now why did you do that?'

I have spent the last 8 weeks nurturing these seedlings.  They are my babies and I was seriously distraught.  And I might add, armed with a full watering can.  He quickly ran from the room.  But the question is actually a good one.  Why the heck didn't I water my plants?

It's true, I'm not very good with house plants in general.  I do tend to forget about watering.  But I love my seeds and at the end of winter, when I haven't seen green in months, starting seeds is extremely exciting.  When I first plant my seeds I don't miss a second to peek in, add some water and check on their growth.  But after two months of monitoring plants the weather has warmed up, the garden is beckoning and frankly, the shine has worn off.  I start to forget. 

These basil plants shriveled in on themselves from lack of water
Don't let weeks of hard work waste away!!  Now when we're in the home stretch remember to begin hardening off your plants.  Take them out of doors each day and give them a little fresh air and sun.  Start slow at a half hour or an hour in a cool shady spot so the plants can get used to feeling the breeze and don't get sun burned.  Lengthen the time every few days adding a half hour here and there.  Increase the amount of sun and keep watering!  Those little pots dry out quickly, especially when large plants are inside them.

Most of my plants have now recovered but I would not recommend duplicating my actions.  Coming back from the brink of death is hard on a plant and their health has now been compromised.  They might make it through the season but I wouldn't be surprised to see these plants suffer later on, either attacked by bugs or catching disease.  Better to maintain healthy plants from seed to maturity and give them the best chance for survival.


  1. No chance of sun here M....but..I just blogged about my tomatoes and you are right..if it were sunnier weather I would have been more cautious in my post and followed your instructions as sun can scorch, dry and kill... Thank you for reminding me...very much!

    Sorry to see Tomato down but (. I do get lazy at the end of it..."OH for heavens sake" please, I want them outside.

    This year, spring is a hard wet one. We do what we can..yours are going to be fine, I just know it.

  2. Don't be too hard on yourself Marguerite, you've got hubby to do that! Hopefully they'll be fine, they'll get hardened up and into the ground soon.

  3. oh dear, oh dear, what a catastrophe!

    I better go water my seedlings, now!

  4. Hopeful that once this rain passes, the weather will be more cooperative and your plants will thrive.

    Our first summer here was the best (followed by a cold June). Our basil plants thrived and the puny apple trees which were planted (crowded) along large evergreens (not by us!) produced the best apples. Haven't had a year like that since.

    That said, with little time to fuss over a garden this year, what little we manage to plant will probably do well. Murphy's law?

  5. Marguerite, I almost gain some sort of evil satisfaction ignoring my house plants and watching them die. I would probably do the same with my seedlings given enough time--this year I am sticking to the outdoorsy plants who mama nature helps take care of.

  6. lucky you saved them. I'm dreadful, if hubby doesn't remeind me of things like that it would be carnage at my house.

  7. Been there, done that. Maybe we need a t-shirt with a reminder to water.

  8. Ditto! (been there done that) Sometimes we get so busy and after nurturing the seedlings for so long it is easy to forget to check on them as frequently. Live and learn and thanks for sharing!

  9. Well, its not like you didn't have anything else to do. I have tortured a few seedlings - sometimes they come out stronger. Fingers crossed for you.

  10. My indoor plants are always suffering under my distractions and other hobbies. I think your babies will do fine. Just think of this as a hardening session. It doesn't rain everyday, you know.

  11. Bren - 'for heaven sake please i want them outside'! I couldn't agree more. I actually stopped the hardening off process as the temperatures dropped so much and the rain has been so heavy. what a mess this spring is and more rain on the way.

    Jane - I know! the nerve of that man.

    Kim - can't believe I didn't water. how could I?

    Michelle - I actually heard a rumour that this summer, once it finally dries out, will be quite nice. Wouldn't that be wonderful after all this muck? I do hope at some point I will actually get to collect a tomato from my very own seed grown plants but thus far I can't even get into the garden without sinking in the mud.

  12. Jenn - LOL, there is some weird glee in it isn't there? like, how long can they last without a drop? I often let my african violets get to the point of exhaustion but I know I can buy another one for a couple dollars at the grocery store. I felt pretty bad when I saw these tomatoes. The seeds came all the way from the Sunshine Coast and I almost let them die!

    I Wasn't Blogged - thank goodness hubby looked at them! funny, he wasn't at all interested in my seeds a month ago and I was fawning over them. Now that they're big he's interested and checks on them all the time and I couldn't care less any more.

    Nelljean - I can see the shirts now "I killed my tomatoes in '92, don't let it happen to you!"

    Karin - exactly, it feels like they've been hanging around forever and I'm tired of them. Time to kick them out and let them fend for themselves.

  13. Tufagirl - it's so true, I have a zillion excuses for why I didn't water them!

    Cheri - if you can handle this you can handle anything theory. works for me!

  14. hahahaa Glad to see someone else is haphazard about watering seedlings. It is one of the biggest reasons I don't start many plants from seed. Hope they survive.

  15. This must just be the week of hard luck. Seen so many posts with gardening woes. I had to rescue my little cucumbers from the cold this week. They were out in their pots for two weeks basking in the sun then... little curled edges and they are back inside.

  16. Awww...sorry this happened to you! I think starting seeds and raising seedlings is a lot of work, and I just don't trust myself to be reliable with all the proper conditions and TLC they's exactly why I buy tranpslants. I'm glad some of yours made it! Don't feel too badly, it happens!

  17. I'm a horrible house-plant gardener, too. And I often kill plants - inside or out! Usually I can just dig them up, compost them, and never tell. But when they're being checked on by the hubby, it's hard to get away with it! Sorry you forgot the 'guests' (I put mine in the guest room, so that's what I call them). I agree - we do need a t-shirt or some other reminder!

  18. A very funny post! I loved it, although it seems terrible to find near tragedy humorous. The cell phone photography was the perfect visual.

  19. That gave me a wry smile - I've done the same myself, many a time. Now its the small perennials that are in danger, as I have lots of big edibles to plant out and others to nurse to planting out stage. Hope they all survive and don't subsequently succumb, but it is good to know that I am not alone in this tendency to get a little lackadaisical once the outdoor growing season starts in earnest... Glad you confessed!

  20. This is a very funny post.
    I do water my plants faithfully every day but I guess I planted them too early again this year. The cucumber plants are over 9" tall and were just planted April 22. When will I learn.
    I guess I may replanted some more, hopefully I can keep the tomatoes from getting too tall before we start planting the garden.
    They say the first full moon in June is safe but I'll have to get them in the ground before that.
    When do you start your planting?

  21. Hey, at least you have seedlings. This is why I don't have any! I would forget them for sure.

  22. Oh boy, looks like we lost another one Martha.

    This happened to me once and although it didn't look as bad as your little tomato it actually jumped back up, good luck with that.

    I think it is time to move them outside, being from Ottawa living here now I still find I plant the long weekend in May, yuks that is this weekend, got to run, got lots to do

  23. Janet - I thought when I posted this there may be others who would understand immediately. Seems I was right!

    Donna - this spring just doesn't want to warm up does it? I started hardening my plants outdoors about a week ago but had to stop because it got so cold even an hour out there was too much.

    Redgardenclogs - that's one great comfort, even if I screw it up entirely I can always buy starts at the nursery!

    Holley - I was so tempted to not say a word but I thought others would probably understand exactly what I had done.

  24. Jennifer - it feels good to be able to laugh about it. Gardening is my hobby after all, I can't take it too seriously. It's supposed to be the relief from my serious job!

    Janet - seems there's a number of us who struggle with getting it right. But then that's gardening.

    Witch - If you planted too early then I planted WAY too early. I think some of these seeds were planted the last week of March. I had hoped to have them out this week or next (I planted my veggie seeds in the garden the last week of May last year) but unless this weather really turns around I'll just have to wait it seems.

  25. On My Soapbox - thank goodness for overplanting seeds. Even if I kill half of them I'll have enough. The nursery is always a good back up plan though!

    Cindy - I would LOVE to get plants out this weekend. It seems the temperature is going up but will it stay that way? We've had so many dips lately. We actually ran out of firewood and have resorted to the oil furnace to keep us warm. I'm stunned that we have to have the furnace going all day in mid-May.

  26. You know, i think this is a common ailment.... I'm a great outdoor gardener, but when it comes to houseplants you've got a 50/50 shot a life, at best. I don't know why either.

    But obviously if others have the disease too, then it must be something about the way you think about the garden vs houseplants. Which reminds me, I've got a christmas cactus, in the living room, which probably hasn't been watered in months.

  27. I once killed a pot of impatiens, the worlds easiest annual, because I kept forgetting to water them. Ok, last summer I killed a pot of impatiens... I think seedlings are a lot of work, which is why I fight the temptation to raise them inside. They'd probably end up as worm food!

  28. Jess - I figure it has to do with watering. I rarely water plants outside, they either get it from the sky or nothing. So my mind figures indoor plants are the same, aren't they getting it out of the sky?

    TS - my watering mat usually solves this problem for seedlings but the plants have gotten so big only a few are living on the watering mat and most have moved into windows and other spots. That's when trouble sets in.