They're All Gone

EssieGMay 24, 2013

In the last few months, I lost 75% of my WS seedings to poor drainage (my fault), dog rampage, wind, the cold spring, and an April blizzard. Last week, I spent hours planting out the survivors only to get hit this week by a major hail storm and flooding. Everything is gone. $200 in seed and soil, 6 months of anticipation, hundreds of little seedlings. I cried and cussed, then carefully put the containers away and inventoried the leftover seeds, ready to start again next winter.
Lessons learned:
1. Frozen bags of damp planting mix take days to thaw inside. Store them in the garage.
2.Punch lots of drainage holes in the bottom of the holding trays. Easier to add water than take it away.
3. Don't set the trays at dog level. He'll plow right through them when the snow drifts.
4. Take the lids off gradually, not all at once on the first day the robins sing.
5. Prepare for those 3:00 am 60 mph winds.
6. 400? Really? What was I going to do with 400 bunches of seedlings?
7. Keep reading the WS forum!

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terrene(5b MA)

Wow! Sorry to hear about your seedlings Essie! There is always a loss rate with gardening, but it sounds like you have been hit particularly hard. I hope that you can salvage something this year, and that next year is much better!

It's still not too late to do some sowing - both in containers and directly in the ground. I ordered seeds just last week (yeah like I really need more seedlings but it's an obsession) some new Echinacea varieties, and sowed them upon receipt. I am still waiting for it warm up a bit more to direct sow some of the heat lovers, such as Zinnias and cucumbers.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 2:13AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

So sorry about your losses, Essie. After years of ws I learned a few things this year, too, most particularly not to take the lids off after the first hot day. I've had more stunted growth this year because I did than I've ever had losses from frying the seedlings.

Also, I sympathize with the dog issue. One of mine will grab any container on the ground and fling it around the yard. It happened to my Feb. 2 cosmos. After some hunting I found a clump of 3 seedlings in the yard and managed to put them in the ground. They are now about five inches high. But anything on the ground he thinks is fair game. (He is a big boy -- a great dane -- but for some reason he respects the ones on the patio table even though he could easily grab them too. Maybe for the same reason he doesn't graze the kitchen table and counters. He doesn't want to hear the "Baaad dog". lol.)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 6:55AM
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ellenr22

so sorry Essie! But you sound like you've got a good attitude. Good luck with the rest of the season. Like Terrene said, it's never too late to sow. :)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 8:00AM
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silverkelt(Z5b/Southern Maine)

We have all had terrible years.. I once lost almost 500 dollars in seed purchases for daylilies, due to very unfortunate series of personal events.

We plant, we sow, we provide , we harvest, we continue to plow on, in the face of storms of rain, of ice and drought. Gardening is for the eternal hope in all of us, the verdant springs, the humid summers, the crisp falls, the hand on the shovel and the rough skin. All for the reward of our labor, measly some times, heavy at others, in the fruit and sweat of our time, we learn joy.

Do not get discouraged, also.. don't purchase so much, we will share =) it makes the losses less burdensome, we all have felt the brunt of our non gardening spouses, wrath at our addictions.

Silverkelt

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 9:31AM
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tiffy_z5_6_can(5/6)

Essie,
I encourage you to take some of the seeds you have left and sow them in the next week. Place them away from the dog :O) in dappled shade or shade and watch them germinate. Sounds like you know what mistakes were made and how to fix them so go ahead!! Definitely doable in zone 5. Can you tell I've been there and done that? LOL!

Tiffy

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 7:48PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Essie,
I have a ton of zinnia seeds that I could send you. Cosmos and some annual asters, too. I would so love to be able to help you salvage something from this season. Send me an email with your address and I'll put a care package in the mail ASAP.

Martha

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 8:18AM
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midmented(6B)

Sorry for your loss Essie.
I was lucky enough to have monitored my WS containers carefully. I did the exact same thing that Caryltoo did. I removed the tops from my containers way too soon and have stunted growth. Fortunately, I bought a couple of those cheap plastic outdoor greenhouse shelves on clearance last year and was able put half of the plants in them during cold spells (the rest I put in my shed).
The best WS starters I've planted have been onions, cabbage, and broccoli.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 9:12PM
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ladyrose65

Sorry, about the misfortune of events, but like the rest of the advisers'. You can start now?

I always sow 1/2 pack of seeds, as a rule of thumb, because of unfortunate events.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 11:32PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

So sorry for your misfortune, Essie. We have all had bad years, but at least you have learnt some lessons, and you have a remarkable attitude. It's not too late: I still have some spring sowing to do. Lots of annuals and veggies can be done right now. Don't give up!!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 4:22AM
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mori1(5b/6a)

Essie, I feel your pain. Gardening is a learning experience. Last year, I lost 90% of my WS to the drought, so frustrated. This year, things were actually going well when we got hit with a rainstorm yesterday. We got so much rain in such a short time that it wash all the dirt along with seedlings out of most of my WS containers. I was able to save some but now I have lots of columbine and no idea from which containers they came from. Seedlings that I don't know what they are, have been put in a pot label mystery plants. One thing that made feel better was the astrantia major that I've been trying to grow for 3 years finally sprouted. All the dirt was gone but they were still in the container.
Its not too late to sow some annuals, I sowed some nigella last week.

This post was edited by mori1 on Tue, May 28, 13 at 17:53

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 5:24AM
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jvdubb(6)

Oh, I am so sorry! How very frustrating. Kudos to you for your great attitude.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 3:28PM
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jvdubb(6)

Oh, I am so sorry! How very frustrating. Kudos to you for your great attitude.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 3:29PM
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jvdubb(6)

Essie, I don't know where you live. But I am in south east Michigan. I have way more WS items than I can use. If you are near you are more than welcome to have some.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 3:30PM
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jvdubb(6)

Essie, I don't know where you live. But I am in south east Michigan. I have way more WS items than I can use. If you are near you are more than welcome to have some.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 3:31PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Yeah, if you're anywhere near eastern Mass I have tons of seedlings too!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 10:50AM
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