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Hapless Planter – Ep7: Those poor, unfortunate seedlings

Hapless Planter – Ep7: Those poor, unfortunate seedlings

Well hello Chester!

Are you having the time of your life? ME TOO.

Turns out tonic bottles are perfect for propagation – as if we needed another reason to sink the G&T’s. Weirdly, the labels didn’t peel off during sterilization, so when lockdown’s over and people walk around my house again, they’ll be able to survey the full extent of my drinking problem. 

I took a diagonal snippity snip off Mama Pru (just under a node), my die-hard Maranta, who’s not batted an eyelid at the changing seasons or the heating going on (unlike her bathroom cell mates):

And put the newbie in some cold tap water. I’ve seen recommendations for using rainwater and lukewarm tap water, but I’m a low maintenance person and I expect the same from my plants. 

My overall strategy (if you haven’t already guessed) is getting plants to survive with as little effort and input from myself as possible. Which is exactly how I approach my marriage.


Okay, so late Feb I decided to start my tomato seedlings in newly purchased self-watering trays. I’ll tell you the truth – I have eleven varieties, that’s right, eleven, because I was like a kid in a candy shop, salivating over my keyboard. I whittled my basket down from about twenty. 

That’s called self-restraint.

To treat myself – because any joy in life right now, is so limited, I also splurged on mint and lime basil seeds. Go big or go home:


If you’re largely un-co-ordinated like me and messy, do this on a day you have a lot of energy. I was exhausted, with soil in my hair, separating the tiny, sticky seeds in the tiny packets and placing them beautifully two per cell, in opposite corners. I pushed them down about half an inch with the end of a manual toothbrush. This is an official seed pushing device. Then you add another layer of potting soil.

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Stoopidly, I filled the reservoirs with water and then tried to carry them upstairs. It did not go well, they’re flimsy, heavy bastards.

The instructions are pretty good on these things, essentially you’re laying matting on top of a vat of water, which soaks it up, and then the seedling tray sits on this, drawing the water it needs through the draining holes:

The only way you can f-it-up is by not realising the water level’s dropped too low. The soil needs to be very moist whilst the seeds germinate (guys, I think I might be way better at veg than houseplants). And they need their plastic party hats on for optimum humidity, removed once the shoots appear:

Of my MANY problems, the biggest is that half of the cells have sprouted and half haven’t. I don’t know if they want they’re hats on or not.

Also, I’ve had to move the sofa really far from the window so the dog can’t take a swipe at the trays and now it’s almost impossible to get into the room and I have nowhere to put my coffee cup.

This shit keeps me up at night.

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