Friday, April 24, 2009

Plant Crash

Today I experienced a heart-wrenching plant tragedy at the Blue Bungalow. Remember how I decided to experiment with hardening off my seedlings earlier today? Well, let's just say this experiment was very, very educational -- in a bad way. I learned to never put a cheap, flimsy mini-greenhouse anywhere near where children play -- or ride their bikes.

I was working on my daylily removal project (a laborious process in the hot sun because the lilies are really clinging to the clay-rich soil) when I heard a yelp and crash. I found my 7-year-old's bike covered with plant flats, peat pots and dirt. The greenhouse frame was disjointed and leaning. My seedlings were scattered. Several were destroyed.

I pouted. I teared up. I swore a little, almost threw up my hands and went inside to sulk. I've spent months nurturing these seedlings, misting them once or twice every day, turning them for better access to sunlight each morning. I've carefully transplanted them when necessary. They are my little plant babies. I was very proud of them -- how lush and green they looked, and how I had helped them to get there.

I once heard Oprah say that when something bad happens to you, you get about 30 minutes to feel sorry for myself and then you get to work. I wanted to sit and feel sorry for myself, but I knew I had my own work to do. So I picked up what I could off the ground, put everything in the fallen flats and brought them into my kitchen, where I spent at least an hour repotting, clipping off broken leaves, watering and nurturing. This was a painful and depressing project, but I did console myself with the thought that this tragedy forced me to repot little cherry tomatoes I transplanted into play-doh containers a while back. They are pretty tall now and looked cramped in the tiny plastic cups.

When finished, I put the remaining plants into the flats and returned them to the east-facing greenhouse in my kitchen. No more hardening off for now. Then I used my remaining energy to sweep up the dirty mess in my kitchen.

All in all I think I lost about 1/10 of my plants. Assuming the seedlings I saved survive the double trauma of their first hot day outdoors AND being attacked by a bike, I should still have enough for my gardens with leftovers to share. So I guess it could have been worse.

Now I need to go hug my daughter -- she felt terrible about what she did, and although I was mad at the situation I know that accidents happen. Poor girl!


  1. nooooooooooooooo!
    oh no!
    sorry, sista! that is terrible!
    i have extra seedlings, my friend. i will share with you. and give you a hug.

  2. Heather, if I may say thus: You handled this with calm and wit. Chin up; there is plenty left to the season. Besides, here in Zones 4 & 5, all bets are off for growing until Mother's Day. You get to start over!

  3. Thank you for the encouragement! I feel comforted by your kind words. I am also comforted by the fact that the plants I saved look like they survived the night. Before bed I misted them and zipped them up in the greenhouse. When I woke up, some were still bent/injured from the fall, but they all looked pretty green and happy.

    Can't wait to get these guys planted outdoors. Then all I'll have to worry about will be drought....and insect predators...and weeds...and children...and rabbits...and birds...and my dog. EEEK!!!