The seedling slaughter, or, death by over-ambition

I am known, amongst those of my close acquaintance, for occasionally over-reaching myself. I’ve always felt that if I’m going to hit a brick wall in any of my endeavours, I’ll do it at a run. Some of the time this attitude has served me well but horticulturally it’s becoming something of a problem. My lovely husband bought me a polytunnel for Christmas, and we decided to turn a whole paddock over to kitchen and flower garden production. So I decided to ignore the associated problems with our Self-Sufficiency Grand Plan (such as requiring planning permission for the polytunnel so not being able to put it up until the summer, and also the fact that said paddock is still the stoniest place known to man with no planting beds) and dive right into seedling propagation with our oldest son. It was brilliant fun and a fun activity to do together whilst we sheltered from the sub-zero weather outside and his new baby brother was napping. The seedlings did brilliantly, and were duly potted on, and are now withering and dying in their pots.


I want to be honest in this blog about our shortcomings as well as our successes because I think too many people talk only of what goes well which can be a bit disheartening for followers interested in having a stab themselves. I think it is a shame, and it was certainly a waste of seeds, and I’m sad to say most of the seedlings will never be planted out. The paddock is to be rotavated and gone over with a stone burier in about a month and we can start planting outdoor crops then but for now the only things that are going to see the light of day in this batch of seedlings are my son’s sunflowers which I think we’ll plant out in the front garden and we’ll simply start again from scratch with the edible seedlings. What a shame. I feel very deflated!

Even more mostly dead seedlings

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We farm a three acre smallholding in Hampshire, England, having fled London in pursuit of the good life for our little family. We mess about with an assorted menagerie and try to be as self-sufficient as possible in meat and fruit and vegetables whilst enjoying our plot and an outdoors lifestyle with our son. I am the luckiest person that I know.

4 thoughts on “The seedling slaughter, or, death by over-ambition

  1. That is a shame but at least you had a fun time sowing them together. You will be extra pleased once the paddock is rotavated and you can get going with the edibles!


  2. Why are they dying? Because of the cold? Don’t worry, we’ve all sown seeds to early. It is something I have to do each year, but I possibly sow fewer seeds too early each year. I have exactly the same impulsive tendencies. I like to call it ‘dynamic’ and ‘enthusiastic’!


    1. Sadly not the cold, they’re actually in the only room in the house with working radiators (priorities…) but I simply don’t have anywhere to plant them out! Our garden needs to be turned as the last owners built an extension and rather naughtily buried all the rubble rather than paying for a skip and so I do not kid when I say there are way too many stones to make planting realistic. It was a bit silly really, to get started so early!


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