I was pretty tired after work tonight and was going to wait until tomorrow to repot some plants. Nothing will wake you up more quickly than seeing that half your seedlings are wilted over and appear to be dying. The peppers were the worst. At first I thought maybe aphids had invaded. But when I investigated further I realized that even though they aren’t very big above ground, the roots had grown down to the bottom of the seed tray and weren’t getting the water they needed. The surface of the mix was damp but underneath was dry as a bone. Time for emergency surgery. I planted the peppers that weren’t too far gone into peat pots. Hopefully they’ll survive.

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I decided to do the same for my tomatoes. They don’t all have their first true leaves yet, but I really don’t want to be caught short again like I was with the peppers. I left the really small seedlings in the tray, but anything that looked strong enough was transplanted into cups.

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That’s Sun Gold on the left and Black Cherry on the right. I did at least two of the strongest of each variety. I’ve got the tiny backups in the seed tray just in case the transplanted seedlings run into trouble.

I’ve got another mystery to solve as well. A few of my broccoli plants have dying leaves. The plants themselves feel strong and hardy, but one or two leaves went soft and then turned yellow. I’m planning on getting these plants out to the beds on Sunday, and I’m not giving up on the sick ones yet. I’ll wait to see how they fare outside. I have younger plants planned for succession planting, so it won’t be horrible if I have a couple casualties.

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See the yellow leaf in the back? I’ve encountered this with three plants, of two different varieties.

Here is the seed starting area, jam packed with plants.

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On to the next potential problem I’m dealing with. We’ve had very heavy rains off and on over the last couple days, and none of the squirrel-tampered seeds have sprouted yet. So, either the squirrels ate them last weekend and they’re all gone, or they’re slow to germinate, or they’re rotted from the rain. Now, the peas that I planted are still there, and are germinating under the surface (I dug one up out of curiosity). So I think the lettuce planted at the same time should be doing something by now. The beds are draining very nicely and no water has been pooling. How long should I wait before I come to the conclusion that I need to replant the squares?

Even with these issues I’m encountering, I have to say that I find these learning experiences very rewarding. I did SO MUCH reading before I ever ordered a seed, trying to learn as much as I could about the process and the potential problems that might present themselves. But it wasn’t until I actually got my hands in the dirt that I saw first hand how different plants have different needs. There really isn’t any better way to learn than through trial and error.

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