Monday, January 26, 2009

Wet Seedlings

I am in the process of learning a hard lesson about having the soil too wet around seedlings. Before my last trip to Europe, I soaked some topsoil, and planted 20 broccoli and 20 snow pea seeds in flats. When I returned, the soil was still very wet. I had left the flats in the cold garage, and to be sure they got plenty of water I left them standing in a small amount of water. The problem is that the small amount of water really drenched the soil.

After being in the ground for about 12 days, 11 broccoli and 3 snow peas sprouted. Now, 5 days later the broccoli are all turning yellow and dieing. As far as I can guess, the soil was simply too wet. Not sure if that's what happened to the 17 pea seeds that didn't sprout. I had heard that you need to nick pea seeds because they don't take up water very well otherwise.

If I think I have time, I may try to replant seeds in the flats again, but keep them much drier. I only have until about the first of May to get the broccoli crop in, so I can't afford to lose another two weeks.

1 comment:

  1. Good call on keeping the seeds drier, you are much more likely to rot seeds than sprout them in a cool/cold damp environment. Depending on how long you were gone I would have not left them in standing water, or maybe asked family/housitter to water lightly once. Depending on how cold your garage is it might be good to leave an incandescent light pointed at your seeds to provide a little warmth. Other options include heating mats, which are particularly useful when starting tomatoes and other summer veggies. You may want to cut back on the zucchini and summer squash, and add a couple of tomato varieties to your plan. We had to zucchini plants and still gave plenty away. I have gardened for a couple of years and am five weeks from my last day at my current job in planning, which I am leaving to take an internship on an urban organic farm. I have enjoyed your writing on energy issues, so if you have any gardening questions that I can help with I would be glad to help. If you are at all interested in permaculture (which in my opinion is an excellent option for the home garden) check out Gaia's Garden. Hippy name, but good information on planning and planting a mixed garden.