Planting the Seeds of Despair

Sweaty Shop  > Gardening, I Am NOT A Gardener! >  Planting the Seeds of Despair

The greenhouse with seeds in it
The little greenhouse that could

Sounds pretty depressing right? Well that’s because it is. My first attempts at raising things from seeds was very very disappointing. My dad was given a little greenhouse-type thing as a gift and one of those seed starter kits.

This isn’t the first time my parents have had a greenhouse, we built one when I was a teenager. It didn’t last very long before the wind tore it apart, but I still remember building it out of pvc pipe, clear corrugated plastic and pop rivets.

Disappointingly disastrous findings

seed results
Mixed feelings. Not pictured: dashed dreams


Mold. Some of my seeds had mold growing on them. Some of my seeds had sprouted and apparently died, whilst a few lived and there was nothing showing for the rest. I don’t know if they haven’t sprouted yet, won’t sprout, or are playing “snakes in a can” and will leap out at me when I least expect it.


close up of seeds
You can see some mold here

My first first seed growing mistake: Research

That’s a weird sentence, isn’t it? My first first growing mistake was not doing any research on growing the kinds of things I wanted to grow. None. Often this isn’t a big issue for the things I do and/or attempt and is more of an inconvenience than anything. Not this time. This time it didn’t just come back to bite me, it took big chunks out of me that even Jaws would appreciate. And by “Jaws” you can go with either the shark or the James Bond villain.

My second first seed growing mistake: Not reading instructions

a dead or dying seedling
Dead or dying, I’m not sure. Zombie corn?

Now it was dad’s stuff and he let me use it as most of the containers were empty, the few tomato seeds he had planted took very little room, but he read the directions and I didn’t. So not reading the directions was my first mistake. I don’t know if what I discovered is normal, but it didn’t seem normal to me. The little spots where the seeds were with the soil block thingy, was soaked, completely soaked. Like a swamp.

Of course I noticed it when I planted the seeds, but I assumed that it would dry out a little and you would need to add water from time to time. After a couple of weeks, when I went to plant the seeds and discovered the state of the seeds, I discovered that they were still planted in what basically amounted to a bog, so I think they simply rotted in place.

Now I could be wrong of course, maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be, maybe seeds like being in soggy surroundings, but it seems wrong.

My second seed growing mistake: Ignorance is NOT bliss

The next seed growing mistake I made was by not checking on my seeds after they were in the container. In truth I had no idea how long I was supposed to wait, but that’s my fault for not doing any research. I would have done better had I planted them straight into the ground, which I couldn’t do because I still needed to turn the rows and the weather hadn’t been cooperating.

I had just figured I would get the rows turned over and then plant the seeds after they sprouted, I mean that’s the way it’s supposed to work, right?

My third seed growing mistake: Not having the garden 100% ready

Not Pictured: ibuprofen and Alka-Seltzer

In a hurry, which is always the best worst time to do something, my son and I rushed my dead/dying plants to my community garden plot. And about as cliché’ as you can get, it started to rain just as we got there, and a heavy rain at that, naturally.

Getting the plantlings (or whatever you call baby plants) out of the seed container was a frustrating experience. With the substrate so soggy, if the plant didn’t have much in the way of roots, I basically had to squish my finger in to dig it out. It was like trying to pick a giant, stuffed up nose.

We planted everything we could see, the dead, the dying, the mold-covered, it didn’t matter. If we could see it, we planted it.

Of course part of the problem was/is my back, which I recently found out that I have somehow strained or sprained the muscles in my lower back, which explains why I’ve been in so much pain after just a couple of shovels-worth of dirt this whole time. So I still had root clumps in the way, dirt/mud clods that needed to be broken up, again and my son and I worked around it as much as we could, but he didn’t bring a jacket (typical teenager) and I just had a flannel to keep the chill down. Neither of us expected, or was prepared for, rain.

So we did the best we could, and that was the Saturday before Easter. I’ve been avoiding going down and looking as the disappointment was almost enough for me to give up entirely. Almost.

Conclusion: I am NOT a gardener!

But you knew that already because I flat out told you so in the beginning.

In retrospect, with the pain in my back I should have enlisted help to get the garden ready, but I didn’t out of pride, ego, and whatever other pitfalls that plague mankind. With the weather getting in my way, time caught up to me.

I still have some unsprouted seeds in dad’s seed starter and I’m thinking about getting some more seeds and planting mix and starting them in pots instead. I haven’t decided yet for sure.

– Jeffery