starting seeds: abject failure and plan b

Welp. Remember the seedlings we so lovingly started and then transplanted? Yeah, those ones that lived under Mark’s elaborate grow light complex that probably made our neighbors think we were growing pot for months? They’re gone. Dead. All of them.

It’s really hard to admit when a project that you think you have a handle on ends up as an abject failure. But we brought them outside too soon, and did not bring them in as often as we should have, so the cold got them first. And then the series of hail storms and torrential rains finished them off. Really I can’t even share a photo of them because it’s just too sad after all the hard work and love we put into them.

Right now I feel adamantly against trying to grow from seed next year, after the time and money we spent this season which was wasted. But the desire to try, try again is strong in me, so I’m sure come late winter next year you’ll see me posting about which seeds we’re starting. For now, we have to turn to Plan B. 

Thankfully we still had time to order healthy seedlings from Penn’s Corner, who supplied them from several of their member farms as well as Grow Pittsburgh. After prepping the beds last weekend, Mark planted the tomatoes and peppers yesterday and I potted the herbs.

This bed has pepper plants, as well as extra room where we’re going to try a couple of our direct-seed items. Perhaps we’ll grow something from seed after all this year.

We rotated tomatoes out of the bed where we had them last year (which has yet to be filled). This year they have plenty of room in this “pen” garden. 

We also collect eggshells during the garden season, dry them out and “give” them to the tomatoes. It’s worked well for us in the past. 

We also have a berry bush growing, which was rather unexpected, since we thought it wasn’t going to make it, after a shipping problem. Seems like it’s holding on so far.

So that’s the story of how we lost all of our seedlings, but still ended up with a planted (or mostly planted) garden. Now we just need to finish the last bed, fill up the existing ones and get the flowers planted, and the backyard will be complete. One step (and one failure!) at a time!

  • Ber

    So much of gardening being trial and error makes for some less than ideal results. But your garden and food you get is always delightful and you never know how next year will go!

  • Jonelle Cosgrove

    I, too, lost my seeds….I think I just don’t have the right place to grow them. Ron wants to build a light setup for next year…we’ll see. I also, as I was walking through the local greenhouse, said “I’m just buying plants next year…that’s it!”

    Thankfully, and prayfully, the plants are going strong with no fences (I swear we have a hundred bunnies living in/around our yard). Thankfully no deer or anything else that we have seen – at least that doesn’t leave the farmer’s field across the street.

    C helped plant the pumpkins and those and the zucchini and squash are the only things up so far……here’s hoping the others just take awhile! 😉

    Our biggest thing this year is “is our soil good?” it LOOKS good but we shall see!

    • Joanna Taylor Stone

      The light setup that Mark built was quite simple and worked really really well for growing them inside. So if you and Ron want plans for that, let me know. Our problem was bringing them outside at the wrong time.

      It’s cool that C is old enough to help!

  • Susan Vandervort

    All of our indoor-started seedlings died, too! Maybe it was the year? All of the seeds I planted directly in the ground are growing leaps and bounds. So strange.

    • Joanna Taylor Stone

      Same with our direct-seed plants! The chickens managed to get into one of the beds and tear stuff up while the seeds were germinating, and they still managed to hang on. We just have tricky springs in this part of the country, I think. No good warming up to summer slowly.