Well, it seems that our initial delight upon having our seedlings pop up so very quickly a few weeks ago has taken an unsettling turn.
What happened? Well, it mostly looks like a couple of things: watering and temperature issues.
Over the past few years of raising seedlings, we’ve become better about not overwatering them. But our practice isn’t perfect yet. After the seeds speedily germinated, we put them on close watch concerning watering. It turned out that with the lids on the seed trays, the soil stayed pretty moist. And that was okay for a time. But then the seedlings got so big so quickly, that we had to raise the lids. And that led to the soil drying out and us instituting an erratic watering schedule, which hasn’t been great for the seedlings.
But more than watering, it seems that our experiment to keep the seeds warm using mylar coverings over the front and back of the shelving unit might have been the main issue. Sure, the warmth helped the seeds in the beginning, but we probably should have removed the front cover (which we recently did) much sooner, as keeping the seeds in such an ultra-reflective environment might have, well…cooked them, in a sense.
It’s a hard thing to admit, but all things considered, we’re still pretty new at this whole gardening thing, especially dealing with seedlings. And some experiments that we try are bound to fail. But that’s how learning happens, right? 🙂
In any event, we’re not totally back to square one. Since we raised all the lids from the trays and removed the front mylar cover, the seedlings that were doing okay are still doing okay, and a few more have germinated, at least in the pepper tray. The dying seedlings are probably lost causes at this point, and we’ll simply have to plant new seeds and hope for the best.