The dry horrors


Two surviving rocket seedlings stand over three of their fallen friends

I have been lovingly tending my seed trays, misting often so the soil stays moist, and checking several times a day for signs of life.  Ten days past with a few green butterfly leaves of the brassicas standing proud and holding the promise of meals to come.  Others weren’t there yet but it was only a matter of time, just a few more days and my greenhouse would burst into life with a sea of green.

Dried out leaves

My poor radish in pots were all wilty and I didn’t think they’d make it, but have bounced back – although they bear the scars of the disaster

However, life beyond the garden took me away from the garden and I left Hubby the Un-Gardener with clear instructions to open the greenhouse each day, water well with the mist function on the hose nozzle for the seedlings and for the spuds that had been growing for just over two months, use the shower function, but don’t get it on the leaves – go low and gently with the water. Then at the end of the day, close the greenhouse again. This seems straight forward enough and he only had to do it for two days.

Pepper seedling

Most of the pepper seedlings managed to come through largely unscathed except for a few dried tips on the seed leaves.

I returned refreshed and excited from my time away and hurried out to the greenhouse, expecting to see a sea of green faces staring back at me.  This is not what I found.  I found death and destruction.  To give him credit – he remembered to water on the first day. But on the second day it completely slipped his mind and in the closed up greenhouse the temperatures soared to 38°C.  Desperate for moisture in their parched soils, my tiny seedlings were pushed past their permanent wilting point and expired.  They lived such short little lives filled with so much hope and promise.   The tomatoes were due to pop up any day and at this point days later, still haven’t.  I suspect their embryonic pre-emergent state was harmed by this harsh, hostile environment and gave up before they even broke the surface.

Melon seedling

The melon seeds must have been robust enough to not even notice the catastrophe going on above ground and have since begun to raise their head.

There were no words.  I wasn’t angry, I was disappointed. I didn’t cry and I didn’t shout but so much hope had died with those seedlings.  But I had to swallow my distress and sow more seeds if I was to have a garden at all this season.  Just like falling off a horse – you have to get back on.  Although I’ve never fallen off a horse – I’ve not been on one often enough.  The season is still young and the new seeds will catch up – by December you won’t even know there was a delay.   If I look on the bright side it has given me a little longer to get on with the digging and weeding.

Come again soon – there will have been much digging and weeding done.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

11 Comments on “The dry horrors

    • Thanks for the encouragement Rita. Each problem is an opportunity to learn. I have learn’t to make sure when I’m away to phone Hubby the Un-Gardener everyday to remind him.
      Cheers Sarah : o)


  1. One of the reasons I keep my seedlings in grow boxes with a transparent lid, out of direct sun. No misting/watering needed over the first weeks, no risk of overheating. My current seedlings are going for 4 weeks now without me touching them. There´s an adaption period, of course, once the lid gets removed and they have to get used to direct sun, but otherwise I find it mostly risk- and stress-free.


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