Have you ever seen this? In a garden catalog, you spot an item such as a seed or a plant, and the listing has stamped over it in big letters CROP FAILURE. I have always found it jarring just to read those words stamped there, and always wondered about what disaster befell the plantsperson's efforts to bring the seeds or plants to market. Flood? Extreme heat? Disease? Pestilence? Draught? Death in the family?
Now I am the one with crop failure. And it is as jarring to me as seeing those words...in fact, they do drift in front of my vision as I look at my poor, sickly, stunted, lowly seedlings. To a seedling, they have failed to thrive. They all sprouted and then gave up. I have nursed them long enough, I have to fish or cut bait. I declare a crop failure. No nicotiana alatas, climbing petunias, snapdragons, daturas, borage [for Pimms!] or tall verbenas. There are several huge empty spaces in the flowerbed that will remain bare unless I get into gear and find some decent affordable transplants. Crop failure! It's hard not to take this very personally! I've been starting seeds for twenty years! Was the planting mix contaminated? Was the soil mix so compacted the roots couldn't breathe? Were the plant lights giving off evil rays? Did I over or underfeed? Over or under water? Too much or too little bottom heat? What the hell happened? Now, sadly, I have to go and dismantle the plant table, and compost my blighted little charges. Maybe I should just put them outside in their six packs, and let 'em take their chances, and see if Mother Nature can rescue them. I am out of ideas, and SOL this year. May yours thrive!!