Sick Seedlings

Growing radishplants
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We ended up with over 7 inches of rain last week. It’s been a real challenge getting out to the field with so much mud and water standing all over the place. The tiny seedling growing in the field are doing just fine though. The raised beds and the slope of the land are keeping the beds from washing out. Lettuce, peas, carrots, onions, and turnips are growing along fine but the beets seem to be in slow motion. We just planted radishes yesterday.

We also tried to burn a few piles yesterday, but to no avail. Everything was just so soggy that nothing would burn, and a few of the piles were even standing in pools of water. Now it’s suppose to rain again today, tonight, and tomorrow. Agh! We did manage to get two more fence posts up though. We also cut a few of the fallen trees into smaller pieces to make even more piles.

There’s so much to do in our field! The actual garden area is about one acre but right now we’re only using a tiny fraction of it because there’s still so much clearing to do. That’s perfectly okay though because this year has been mainly about learing technique, learning plant variety and seed selection, exploring the market, figuring out where to get supplies, etc, etc. A tiny garden this year has given us plenty of time to learn the business side of things a little better. Now once I get seed starting down we’ll be able to do something.

I’ve viewed thousands of on-line videos and read just about every book at our local library about starting vegetable seed but I just haven’t quite got the knack of it yet. I thought, “throw some seed in a good mix and – voila – plants.” But for me it just hasn’t been that easy. The tomato, marigold, petunia, and sweet pepper seeds that I started back in February had to be tossed. The seed leaves were turning brown and curling and the plants seemed stunted-they just stopped growing. The soil in the pepper tray actually turned green. I’ve been very careful to manage the moisture in the tiny greenhouse to prevent damping off so I don’t think that is the problem. The growing medium we use is 2 parts peat to 1 part vermiculite with a tablespoon each of wood ash and bone meal mixed in. I really don’t think the medium is the problem. I’ve not seen any insects that could be the problem. So, the only thing it could possible be is the mineral content of our water supply. I replanted tomato and pepper seed yesterday using a soiless mix of only peat and vermiculite in clean containers. If these begin to brown and curl we’ll definitely have the water checked. We’ve got cucumber and squash up in the greenhouse too so I’ll be watching them very closely. If any of you have any tips on seed starting please share them with us. We’re always eager to learn more.