This summer I tried to start my fall veggies indoors in June and July so I could get a headstart on the fall garden even with temperatures still much too hot. With mixed results, it’s something I’ll definitely do again next year with some new information and more experience under my belt.

One of the veggies I did this with was squash. Various varieties of mostly summer squash went into my seed trays, came up, and reached for the window. They even bloomed a bit before I had a chance to get them outside.

I put eight in the ground.

Two were gone the next day. Completely wilted into the surface of the soil.

Two were gone the second day. Completely demolished by some tiny hungry belly.

The other four went the way of the first four sometime that week.

Not wanting to turn the other seedlings out for such a certain fate, I kept them alive in their seed tray on the porch. A previously unsprouted seed burst forth. They didn’t mind the heat so long as they got their water each morning. I knew this wasn’t going to be a permanent solution, so I went in search of one. Books. Articles. Blogposts. More books. Finally I went back to the seed packets. Generic instructions on all the seed packets save for the ones from Baker Creek which read: “…start a couple of weeks earlier indoors, but never let squash transplants become rootbound, and do not distrub the roots in transplanting.”


These transplants had definitely become rootbound, and as a results, their roots were definitely disturbed during transplanting. Lesson learned for next year.

In the meantime, I still needed an attempt at saving the transplants I still had. The very-rootbound transplants. So rootbound that the seed tray had become more of a 2″x9″x13″ soilmat held together by roots. (I already said, “oops” twice, but I’ll say it again – oops!) DH had the lightbulb moment I was looking for. Plant the mat!

So I carefully loosened the mat from the pan, laid it in a shallow hole, and let it soak in. Let the survival of the fittest begin!

Update: They’re all dead. All nine of them chomped to the ground in the night.


13 comments on “Umm…oops?

  1. Alice says:

    Durn chompers.

  2. Shannon says:

    Gotta live with the chompers. If you can find out what’s chomping, you can plant a crop just for them (away from the OTHER one) so they’ll leave yours alone. I just let them chomp a bit, but throw of the really BIG chompers for the birdies (they love me!!).

    Are you hardening off before you plant? When you seed indoors and plant outdoors, the seedlings need to “get used” to their new sun environment a little bit at a time. I sow directly now so no need for me to do this. I’ve killed many-a-seedling by not hardening first.

  3. Ooops, and bugger!! WHo chomped them? But I do like your logic to planting the whole tray, I might rememebe rthat one when it next happens to me, and it will happen……

  4. Good idea, planting the mat. Too bad we won’t see if it worked or not. Stupid Chompers….
    The only squash I ever start in pots are pumpkins, everything else gets direct-seeded.

  5. sigh .. the adventures of gardening and .. well .. there is always next year .. that’s what keeps me going when plants & seeds go “missing” in my garden! Hang in there! Cause I am .. and “next year” is what keeps me going! 🙂

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