Saturday, 28 February 2009

My first casualties

Oh dear, so its happened. I'd always known that there would be some casualties in my new vegetable growing enterprise, either from ignorance or pests and diseases, but ignorance has won out first.

As I have confessed previously, I'm not too sure, but I think that the first seedlings to germinate were my marigolds (tagetes patula) and they looked great!

I was so overcome with excitement at my first seedlings shooting up, that I pricked some out into a module tray.

They seemed to be ok for four or five days, but when I looked at them yesterday, they were uniformly sick looking. The leaves were furling up, the stems had all bent and crabbed and the vibrant green colour had gone!

What have I done? Some quick, if belated, research has revealed that apparently, the optimum moment for pricking out is when the seedling has developed its first 'true' leaves, rather than its 'seed' leaves. Oh. Well, that might be the root cause of the problem (although its also possible that the roots are the problem - they may have been damaged by my amateur manhandling of them from seed-to-module tray....)

Actually, they're not looking quite as bad this morning. I took some remedial action for all of my indoor seedlings yesterday when I mentioned to WH that apparently the reason my seedlings have 'shot' so far is due to lack of light (when they were sown it was a gloriously sunny week, but this last one has been a bit grey). WH suggested I move the youngsters to our back bathroom (which we never use as a bathroom as its downstairs and we've a perfectly serviceable en suite) which is nice and white, as well as being south facing with no obstructions, so the seedlings are getting a lot more light now.

Having just read the back of the seed packet, I may have been ok with my pricking out for the marigolds (assuming that they are marigolds). The growing instructions refer to transplanting the seedlings when they are large enough to handle (which they were) and growing them on in cooler conditions. We don't have the heating on in the back bathroom, so hopefully a combination of more light and less heat will help the little blighters. Watch this space ...

The other seedlings are all looking quite healthy in their seed trays, except for the thyme (?) which looks a little leggy. None appear to have developed 'true' leaves yet, so maybe I'll leave them alone for another week or two.

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