Seeds of Discontent

What’s wrong with the above picture? I’ll tell you what’s wrong: the trays are supposed to be overflowing with seedlings by now! Anxious to give spring a nudge, I planted one seed in each of the little cubes two-and-a-half weeks ago. The seeds are for a “summer cuttting garden mix” of a variety of sunflowers. I wanted to get them going indoors and then transplant them outside to a sunny spot near a fence.

The seedlings were supposed to have emerged in 7-14 days. But instead of the equivalent of a Chia Pet, I’ve got something that looks like a bad piece of conceptual garden art.

Here’s what my wife says I did wrong. Number one, too much water. She said the trays were water-logged and that some of the seeds rotted. Number two, I placed the seeds too deep in the soil; the instructions said one inch and I planted them about two inches deep. Number three, I was supposed to have put more than one seed in each little cube to account for weaker seeds that might not make it. Instead, I just put in one seed in each cube expecting each one would make it. As a result, my expectations of success were inflated and unrealistic.

Bottom line: if you’re trying to work with something as unpredictable as nature, follow directions. And a message to other eager overachievers: when starting your seedlings, first weed out your hubris, a gardener’s fatal flaw.

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  • MrBrownThumb

    Did they come with a clear plastic dome? If they did then your wife is right that you probably watered them too much. The domes trap in humidity, they create condensation that keep the medium moist. Also, I'd suspect that many of the seeds didn't emerge because it isn't warm enough where you placed them. Also, sunflower seeds do really good when direct-sown after the danger of last frost has passed. I usually don't even bother starting them indoors because they don't transplant as well.

  • William von Rentzell

    I just caught a nifty option for easy veggie or whatever gardening.http://strawbalegardens.com/

  • William von Rentzell

    I almost beat you this time. Very interesting thing today, I FINALLY got around to starting the tomato and pepper seeds today and discovered evidence of a "senior moment" weeks ago when I ordered my seeds on line. There were no tomato seeds in the order! The 3-4 varieties I intended to order never made it into the final list. True to my usual luck, the local ACE still had a full compliment of tomato varieties on their seeds racks. I found 4 varieties worth growing. All 4 are planted in 6 packs and sitting in the starting trays being warmed.