Thursday, May 26, 2011

Crop Failure

This year I have a lot of experiments going on around the house, both inside and out. Some have been a success, others...not so much.
I started all my plants from seed this year. Everything from nasturtiums to tomatoes. Everyday, I would pull them down and fuss over them. I thought I was taking really good care of them, until 3 weeks passed, and I had nothing but dirt. I dug down into the pots to look at the seeds. They had never sprouted. Apparently, I hadn't watered them deeply enough.

 So, I started over. I ditched the potting soil, and got some seed starting mix. I pre-sprouted the seeds by wetting paper napkins and setting the seeds inside. Then I slipped them into plastic baggies for a few days. After they sprouted I transplanted them into their little seed pots. I also found out I should water them from the bottom. They came up beautifully. Everyday, I would take them down from the top of my oven, and move them from one sunny window to the next. One morning, the sun was coming in my dining room window, and it looked so bright and cheery. The only place I had to set them was on a low bench. It was breakfast time and the baby and I were going into the kitchen. We ate, and I was trying to finish up some project I had going at the kitchen table. Bink sat quietly and watched me for awhile. I was nearly finished when the baby started to fuss. So, I put her down on the floor and went back to my project. I finished what I was doing and sat there a moment enjoying that good satisfying feeling you get when you accomplish something. Then I noticed it. The silence. The awful, horrible silence. I looked around and the baby wasn't in the kitchen. I scrambled up out of my chair and looked into the dining room. "NOOOooooo!" I yelled. Bink came crawling toward me scared, screaming, and covered in dirt. It was everywhere. Little paper pots sat crumpled in heaps. Tiny uprooted plants lay like bodies on the floor. My crop had failed a second time.

I salvaged what I could and replanted the rest. The newly planted seedlings pushed their way up out of the soil and with them a new problem appeared. I had watered them too much and without proper lighting and air...shrooms decided to nestle themselves between my little seedlings. And some fuzzy furry white mold was creeping along the edges of some of the pots. I discovered that seedlings started indoors are prone to dampening off. It's a fungal disease that causes plants to wither and die. While there is a lot you can do to prevent it there really is no suggested cure.
 I know that tea tree oil is used as an anti fungal treatment in beauty products. So, I thought I would try adding a splash to the watering can. For the most part, it worked.  I lost all of my tomatoes though.
So I watered too little, I watered too much, and I left them in harms way. But, it seems I will get a few veggies to put  out in the garden this year. I hope...

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