Monday, May 7, 2012

Sad Seedlings

Ok, I know that I started my seeds a little late, but they are now over eight weeks old and they still look like this:
I mean, come on!  They were started in "official" and organic seed-starting mixture (although leftover from last year's seed-starting adventure) and I even transplanted them into larger pots with "official" bought-from-the-store fortified soil for this express purpose.  Last year I think I just transplanted them into barnyard scrapings (i.e. goat-poop fortified dirt) and they did much better.

As soon as the weather warmed up I put them outside during the day and brought them inside at night.  Then when I figured they were hardened off enough, I left them outside all day and took them out of the sun during the warmest part of the day.  Then when we had a "cold" snap a few weeks ago (although not near freezing), I even brought them back inside and put them under the grow lights again for the day.  I pampered these stinking seedlings for eight weeks and
 this is what I get?!?  Ungrateful bastards.

So, what am I doing wrong?  Some of the seeds were from last year, some were bought this year (although the heck if I remember which were which), so maybe that had something to do with it.  Who knows. I was hoping that they would be a little bigger before I planted them into the garden, but I guess I'm just going to stick them out there as is and hope they survive.  


  1. I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one who's just now working on small tender plants. It's awfully hot here and most of my flowers are not making it. I have a greenhouse on my wish list...I'm thinking that might grow my plants for me...ha!

  2. Dear Imogene -

    The only thing I can think of that might have made your seedlings cranky is an uneven growing temp. You know, inside-outside, outside-inside. In-out, back and forth. I know the little seeds seem to need a uniform temp when first starting out . . . but then the seeds we plant directly in the garden don't always get that, do they? Seeds from last year should be just fine. I started some California Poppy flower seeds this year from (are you ready for this?) 1999 and they germinated. ('Course, I'm the certified Queen of Using Old Seeds and really press my luck on some of them.) All you can do is plant your little seedlings outside when the time is right and they may do just fine.

  3. Try some plant food. If you are not averse to Miracle Grow, it'd be my first choice. You can go organic Miracle Grow, but the kind I've found is molasses based and only nitrogen is supplemented. You need phosphorus for root growth.

    Also, what variety are you growing? I've got some Sweet Pea Currant tomatoes that are absolutely eensy.

  4. Ungrateful bastards indeed! They actually don't look that bad to me. I have a hit & miss record with starting things from seed. I can't for the life of me get the peppers & eggplant to germinate. Maybe they needed warmer soil?

    In my experience, they tend to suffer from a sort of shock every time they're transplanted, so I generally avoid the moving to bigger pots thing. If it were me, I'd wait until they have more than just the first 2 leaves before transplanting them.

  5. I can only commiserate - mine are puny fellas, too. Ingrates.

  6. ME too! Whats up with this? Is there a meeting of the UGB-Turds club?

  7. I have a horrible time growing seeds inside. We only have one good window location, and limited space. We really need to invest in a grow light.

  8. I had to throw all my starts, except my basil, out. New seeds, all ok, but just sat there, looking sad :(

  9. Carolyn Renee,

    Last year my plants were looking whimpy from the get go, I placed some epsom salts in the ground next to the plants, watered. After a while the plants were growing like weeds. Once a month, I continued this process. This may help.

  10. MAybe you need to have a stern talk with them. Have you told them to their faces that they are ungrateful bastards? I'm thinking they might do that trick. ;)

  11. It doesn't sound like you did anything wrong at all. They look light deprived but that can't be. There is a world of difference in potting soils but you still should have more growth. I would get them in the ground asap and let Mother Nature take over. You may loose some but I am betting they will take off.

    If these are heirloom seeds, not hybrids,let some reseed themselves in the garden by letting the fruit drop on the ground. I have beautifully healthy tomato and basil seedlings coming up in my garden right now. I may not do indoor plants next year.

    Gardening is a crap shoot!!!

  12. I guess that just goes to show, nothing is better than good ole home grown poo dirt...

    Those little bastards should grow up and show you some respect!!! (hahahaha, I couldn't help myself!)

  13. Riverbend Farm, we've had Oxeye daisies for several weeks now & they are "summer" flowers! Yet puny little seedlings :(

    Mama Pea, I have seeds from Highmowing Seeds still in their packet from 1999! I used them in the raised beds & just scattered the ENTIRE package of lettuce in, hoping for even a few sprouts. And I got a "few"....very few. Won't hurt to try, right? (I LOVE Imogene!)

    Country Wife, I DID write down what variety of such & such I planted. Now FINDING that little scrap of paper is another thing! The "fortified" potting soil I used to transplant the seedlings into WAS Miracle Grow! Total, TOTAL ungrateful bastards!

    EcoCatLady, I've always wondered why I never just started them in bigger pots to begin with. Oh wait, I remember, I only have TWO grow lights & space is at a premium. Maybe I'll work on that for NEXT year.

    Susan, I'm telling ya'! :) (muttering curses at seedlings)

    Tami, maybe we should all showcase our UGB seedlings to see who has the most pathetic plants? :)

    Kristina, I normally find the grow light to be helpful, although I would also like to get a few heating pads to help with the soil temps.

    Nancy, I'm "THIS" close to throwing out the UGB seedlings just to spite them (and my 8+ weeks of babysitting them). There's always the nursery down the street (and NEXT year, right?).

    Sandy, I've heard about the Epson salts a few times now, I guess I'm going to have to try it!

    Mama Tea, I've spoken to them, tried to encourage them, made fun of them, yelled at them (I'm a big time yeller), but they still just sit there, staring blankly at me.

    gld, CRAP shoot is right! The volunteer tomatoes from last year's crop are about a foot high while these pampered buggers are only inches.

    Tiny, Poo is the s*it! It really is.

  14. It really is a crap shoot. My seedlings were wimpy little bastards until I transplanted them into bigger pots and then they took off!! I know you've tried that so I guess I'm no help at all. :(

  15. That is really strange! I tend to agree with Mama Pea, my seedlings don't go outside until they are about 6 weeks old at the earliest (unless they never went INside in the first place). Mine are usually about 4-6 inches tall at that 6 week mark. Try leaving them at the same temps so they can get a real foothold. Most of the seeds I use are anywhere from 1-4 years old so I don't think that's it since they either germinate or they don't. I would pull one of them out and look at the roots - at 8 weeks those roots should be really nice and plentiful in those containers. Good luck - so much of this is trial and error and experience and it will come!