Oh dear, what can the matter be?

I spoke too soon – my cerinthe seedlings have taken a turn for the worse and the cosmos seeds I sowed last week are almost as disappointing as the first. They are all what can only be described as “leggy”.

So I’ve been trawling the internet for help – but there are so many opinions out there. I thought I’d done everything right to provide a good home for them – new compost, warmth, light and water. However there seems to be a widely held view out there that the warmth provided by my propagator could be the culprit. Apparently it can cause the seeds to germinate too quickly and run away with themselves – well my seedlings have certainly got the legs for that! A contributor to a gardening forum I homed in on advised that a fool proof way to save leggy seedlings, is to bury them up to their necks. Another voiced the strong view that you just need to accept when the time has come to let them go. Both sounded too extreme to me, so I went for the happy medium and buried them up to their waists. They don’t look happy but I don’t suppose I would either! I have planted some more cosmos seeds – it feels a bit disloyal somehow, so I’ve put them in a different room. Talking of which, I’ve strayed into the conservatory again – Grumbling Rose hasn’t noticed yet ….

Another job I’ve done this week is to thin out the snapdragon seedlings grown from Victoria’s seeds – not actually her seeds of course, but the ones she collected from her garden. I feel so cruel when I do this – I imagine the seedlings praying it won’t be them, as my fingers loom towards them and they say their final goodbyes to their family and friends, their roots wrenched from the earth. For this reason, where seed size allows, I plant seeds one to a pot – but snapdragon seeds are just too tiny for that approach.

The photo above reminded me that while lollipop sticks seemed a good idea as eco friendly plant labels – they are rubbish at the job – they soak up moisture and the writing on them disappears. So this week I have hit on a loosely “green” alternative – instead of buying plastic plant tags, I fished my dog’s food container out of the recycling bin and made a few.

On a positive note, despite all the cold weather, the sweet pea seeds I planted in my plastic greenhouse in the autumn are looking promising and there was a beautiful surprise waiting for me at the bottom of my garden – these irises have emerged from a pot containing one of my Dad’s apple trees – it is lovely to think he planted them there.

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  1. I can never manage that ruthless thinning process either, I know it needs to be done but it always seems so harsh. That said, I’ve not been motivated to plant anything yet this year, so it’s not a problem yet. Maybe a visit to the garden centre will be required for some sweet pea seedlings.


  2. My mum used to refer to my friend Bryony as leggy – I don’t think she was meaning to be rude…Bryony was always lovely and tall.
    It’s amazing that warmth is to blame for such leggy-ness in seedlings. You try to do your best for your babies…
    Your comment about putting your new cosmos seeds into another room for fear of upsetting your old cosmos seeds made me laugh out loud – but it’s entirely the kind of thing I would do.


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