Last Thursday I encountered a greenhouse disaster. Now I know the term disaster may seem a bit extreme, but there were casualties of the seedling kind. I’m lucky I made it out without a concussion!
The Greenhouse Disaster…
What happened you ask? My beloved seed condo outfitted with no less than eight flats full of seedlings crashed down on top of me as I was bent down. It was like I was being attacked by hundreds of tiny roots, leaves and seed starting mix. To add insult to injury, I was stuck under the heavy unit while trying to hold it up and save the only two flats that hadn’t fell. I had dirt in my hair, all on my back in my shoes and the shelf on my back while alone in my greenhouse.
The fans were going, it was hot in there and of course, I had quite a few choice words while trying to push the shelf back up. I’m half standing, half crouched trying to hold up the shelf with my hands and trying to save a flat with my thigh. You wouldn’t know it, but it’s really heavy!
I yelled for help hoping my husband would hear me, he was upstairs in the kitchen.
Nothing. Just me and my potty mouth along with Zoey looking stunned.
There was only one thing I could do, I had to push harder lowering my thigh and letting the final flat fall to the ground. After that, I was able to reach for my phone and called Daryl for help. He came down after I was finally able to get the seed condo upright and he fixed it by adding some stabilizer feet to it. It won’t be falling over again any time soon. He was then kind enough to help me get the dirt off my back.
Every year, in my greenhouse, I start numerous and various plants from seed. Every year like a good plant mama, I take pictures of my babies as they sprout and grow while I meticulously cultivate them through all the stages of their little green lives while in my greenhouse and housed in the seed condo.
You know about my seed condo, right? Here’s a bit of background on the legendary seed condo.
See here is my legendary seed condo before the greenhouse disaster. I had eight flats full of happy seedlings growing strong towards the light.
I take lots of pictures to show, but mainly for my own way of journaling my gardening experiences and to know what germinates when and under what conditions. The white styrofoam containers have a light bulb in them to gently heat the soil and hasten germination. It really works. It works so well, that this year I bought three seedling heat mats to add to my seed starting arsenal.
Here are some of the before the crash pics. The top is various flowers and below that are tomatoes.
When my friends asked what happened, I told them it was a pot I reached down to move and it must’ve been holding the condo up. But as I review these photos, I see exactly what happened. To the right of the seed condo is a large corn plant in a faded green pot. At first, I thought this pot was holding up the seed condo because the seed condo wasn’t exactly a pillar of strength.
But now I realize that what really happened was that as I bent down and moved the pot, the large stalk of corn plant pulled the whole thing down on top of me.
The above photos were taken after I had already propped the shelf back up and picked up a few things. Too bad there isn’t video. Just my studio dog as witness.
All I could do was scoop up what I could see and tuck them gently in containers with scooped up soil. Some had not germinated yet and there was just teeny tiny seed that couldn’t be found. Most of the labels fell out, so I have no idea what is what. Some I’ll be able to distinguish but I planted several new to me varieties so it will be like a surprise when the ones that survived bloom.
After several hours of carefully sifting through the soil on the floor I grew more frustrated and tired and my legs were aching from crouching for so long that I just stopped. Plus I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, I might add. I picked back up the next day with a bit of newfound energy and determination, swept up the rest and proceeded to see what I had left.
Of course some of the new plants that I had wanted to grow only contain like 10 seeds and of course I used them all. I ended up having to re-order a rather large list of seeds from two different companies. (I use Outsidepride.com + Parkseed.com) I’m still waiting on the Parks seed. Pffft.
So a few days later and my babies look like this… a mish mash of clearly different plants.
Some containers I thought still had seeds in them either didn’t germinate probably because I dumped them back in the soil too deep or I have one sprout (like below). I’m still removing singles like this one and trying to find the cells or containers that look like they have matching sprouts. It’s really just a guessing game.
See the empty cells? I’m slowly filling them back up. But some of them made it while the empty cells obviously succumbed to the crash. Most of the tomato sprouts made it happily, but nearly all of the labels popped out, and I just hurriedly stuck them in back when it happened. I grow plants for a few friends and sadly theirs were the ones to pretty much bite the dust. I hadn’t taken so many before photos (which I’ve not shown here in this post) I wouldn’t be able to identify much of anything. The photos have helped if I had a flat that had certain characteristics, like two gray packages and the rest black, etc.
I’m growing this statice flower for a friend and thought it was all but ruined. Happily, even though half the soil is missing, some of the seeds were still in there and germinated. Some is better than none.
So in these photos, three days have passed since the greenhouse disaster and I can see that I have survivors and unfortunately deaths from the transplanting of the floor to containers. I had planted four different varieties of morning glories and all of them lost their labels. Until they bloom, I have no idea which is which.
There was one lone surviving flat and that was at the bottom and safe in it’s little incubator. They are sprouting and I’m happy again. The greenhouse disaster is behind me for now. I do remember another disaster involving the entire stock of tomato seedlings that I was transplanting and a cat. I did learn my lesson on that one and never have a cat in the greenhouse while you’re transplanting. They’re just too nosey, and in Thunder’s case… too clumsy. He tried to jump up on my table to see what I was doing and mid jump saw there wasn’t room and with his paws grabbed my entire flat and down they both went. *sigh*
So I tried to get this post out last Saturday and here it is Tuesday. So I just went down and took a shot of how it is looking now and in full recovery. Here are two of the flats eight days after the greenhouse disaster as it will forever been know.
I’ll leave you with a photo I took of a pretty vine, Nasturtium and it’s gorgeous yellow with orange throated flower. They seem to do really well in the greenhouse. This is from last summer’s hanging pot. I’m hoping I’ve learned my lesson this time, too. Ummm… probably not. This is not my first, and I’m sure it won’t be my last. That’s part of gardening. What gardening disasters have you had?