Monday, 26 April 2010

The trials and errors of a first time gardener...

I knew it was all too good to be true. I didn't know what I was doing, I planted a whole load of seeds and they grew! Surely such luck could not last. And so the first of my gardening failures are springing up (or wilting down more to the point). I was convinced after reading a few articles on growing salads and then reading Elevated Agriculture's very comprehensive guide to planting windowsill lettuces that the seed trays I had tried to start off some early rocket and spinach in would be too shallow and so, 3 weeks after planting the spinach and 5 after planting the rocket they have completely wilted up and keeled over. It all happened quite quickly too - in the space of a few days they went from being healthy looking little plants to being shrivelled and dead. Still... in our trip to the garden centre last weekend we bought our deeper pots for the window ledges so once we pot them up hopefully we can get some salad leaves going in them.

And our once strong nasturtiums also seem to have taken a turn for the worse. Most of them are still looking ok but a couple of them are starting to get shrivelled leaves. Could this be a sign that they have outgrown the pots that they're in? This specimen has been the only one to have stripy leaves the whole time so I thought that it was just a colour variation but now I'm wondering whether it has been slightly sickly all along. Also having heard that often nasturtium seeds are planted straight in the ground in May I'm thinking that starting them off in pots might not have been the best idea for them after all.

It wasn't the best weekend in the kitchen either. I attempted to make fudge for the first time and somehow ended up with a very sticky toffee instead which unfortunately couldn't be salvaged and ended up in a ball in the bin. It was supposed to be for a present, I had brought all lovely ribbon and organza to wrap up little parcels of sweets in although luckily I'd had the foresight to plan a few different parcels and the coconut ice and shortbread recipes worked much better so all was not lost!

And as they say - the best lesson is to learn from your mistakes!


  1. Aah I feel your pain, really I do.
    I tried to make risotto tonight for tea and, well, lets just say my baked potatoes were very scrummy! :S

  2. It's not just first time gardeners who make errors, we all do. We all have failures too. Glad to see that it hasn't put you off, once you start eating your own rocket and spinach you'll realise it was all worth it.

  3. As all your seedlings wilted quickly I think you have 'damping off', which is caused by fungi. Look it up on the internet for more information. I don't think they would have suffered from a shallow soil as they are still at the seedlings stage. Sorry but I think you need to start again with clean trays, tools, new compost and use tap water for watering. Make sure everything is clean so the fungi don't contaminate your new seedlings. This happens to us all, sorry but this is all part of the craft of gardening! It is worth the effort though.

    Best wishes Sylvia (visiting from Blotanical)

  4. Hi Amy, the nasturtiums look a little like the beans I fried with too much heat. Are they in direct sunlight? I am not sure which but I would guess they either got too hot or maybe too cold at night.


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