looking after other people's seedlings

Looking after other people’s seedlings, and that point where you ‘know what you’re doing’

I didn’t try very hard at school. Especially in maths and science (this is not clever kids). I used to get kicked out of maths quite a lot by Mrs. Blackman.

Now, 17 odd years on and by the quirk of fate that comes from growing up in a small town, Mrs. Blackman is my step-gran-in-law and asking me to look after her tomato seedlings. If only I had known all those years ago that I’d be babysitting Mrs. B’s seedlings, she might have just moved me to the front of the class, instead of making me stand in the corridor.

However, something far more significant is happening than crossing paths with old maths teachers in later life. Someone – a very wise, clued up and intelligent someone – is asking me to look after their seedlings.

Do I ‘Know What I’m Doing’?
Someone thinks I am capable of this important job. Like I might actually know what I’m doing.

I’ve never been trusted like this. I do sort of know what I’m doing. I grow things with reasonable success, but these are my own vegetables. I’ve never received confirmation that I might know what I’m doing.

This is a very odd feeling as well as a nice one. To be thought of as good at something is always agreeable, but truth be told, I’m only really coming to terms with vegetables growing myself. Then again, there is a confidence boost to be had from another grower having enough faith in you to trust you with their precious seedlings.

Deciding at what stage you progressed from a clueless beginner to knowing what you’re doing is also an interesting point. Growing in the garden, with my own greenhouse, I’m not relying on my mum to start seeds off so I reckon if I can get a decent crop this year I might well have made that step.

Still Scared…
However, I’ll level with you. I’m still scared about these seedlings.

It’s one thing killing your own seedlings because most of the things you do are guesswork, but trying not to kill someone else’s? That’s pressure.

Oh yes, I forgot to say that these seedlings are being grown by Mrs. Blackman, for her friend, who says she can’t ever get them to grow. So if I mess up, there’s a whole disappointment chain.

Adding to this stressful situation is not really having anywhere suitable to put the plants. My windowsills are full up and the greenhouse nowhere near warm enough for these infant seedlings.

Little Examinations
For now, the seedlings are in my kitchen, on the sideboard next to our patio doors. They’ve been there a day now and seem comfortable. I’ll be keeping a hawk-like eye on them for any complications.

As growers, we’re always facing little examinations of skill, experience, and judgement and I always thought that veg growing tests would come in the form of things like combatting changing weather, new pests, poor soils, or finally getting that annually problematic crop to finally grow.

I never thought that the one I’d worry about most would be set by my old maths teacher!

11 thoughts on “Looking after other people’s seedlings, and that point where you ‘know what you’re doing’”

  1. That’s a very responsible job – its funny how things come round and paths recross! Fingers crossed but we know that won’t be necessary as you will step up to the mark and do a great job ! Happy Easter ! Ps I’m very envious of he prospect of all those seedlings waiting on the window sills. The cold has put me off sewing so far!

  2. Oh I know how you feel! I’m looking after my neighbours seedlings for two weeks and the fear! He’s placed all his trust in me, the ‘expert’ and I have to deliver them all back in one piece! Already I’ve caught the dog walking over them when she snuck into the polytunnel and we’ve experienced sub zero night temps and soaring sunny days while he lounges in Tenerife. I’ll be so glad to hand them back!

  3. I look forward to the day that ‘I know what I’m doing’. Not having to grab the veg growing book when any info is needed would pretty handy!

  4. Oh dear what a worry. I remember having to look after a friends hamster and it was a very stressful week. I feel I have enough responsibility in my life without having to worry about others seedlings, although my mother is going away soon and has already muttered about watering etc – gulp!

  5. I share your concern – I have two little chilli seedlings on my windowsill, which were left with me accidentally. I am not sure when I will be able to return them to their rightful owner! In the meantime, they are my responsibility! 😉

    1. I am sharing my toghhuts on fruit. A lot of people in the primal community avoid fruit because it is high carb and hinders weight loss. But, I know everyone enjoys fruit so why not eat some fruit and enjoy the journey a little more? The summertime is perfect for fruit which is why I eat more of it and enjoy it while it lasts.Nothing beats fresh berries, cherries, cantaloupe, watermelon, peaches, apples, apricots and more!Read my post to learn more why you should not worry about the carbs in fruit during the summer months!.-= Primal Toadb4s last blog post =-.

  6. Oh dear – what a dilemma – just think positive – I am sure it will all turn out ok. If not you’ll just have to stand in the corner with a dunce’s cap on and take your punishment like a man!

  7. 🙂 I haven’t had to look after anyone else’s plants so far but I have asked others with much trepidation. It’s not something I like doing because I know there is a pressure that comes with it. The first time a friend has his dad staying who is very much of the spray plants with chemicals even if there aren’t any bugs on them. I had to leave instructions that no chemicals were to be used even if they spotted a greenfly. The second time another friend found some seedlings had been knobbled by slugs so doused them so liberally in slug pellets it was like a carpet of blue around each plant. I can understand how she felt though. I try not to give people the problem any more and would rather take my plants away with me. 😉

  8. Thanks for all your comments – they’ve both reassured and entertained me!

    Adam, from your blog you sound like you’re almost there already. 🙂

    I think I’d actually be more comfortable looking after someone’s pet rather than their seedlings!

    I have seen someone with a boot full of seedlings once, because they didn’t want to leave them for the week. I wasn’t into gardening at the point, so thought them nuts. I know different now. 🙂

  9. I once took a tray of globe artichoke seedlings with me on holiday – tomato seedlings too. I got some funny looks when unloading the car, but people were quite friendly about it!

    1. haha, brilliant. A few years ago I remember seeing someone turn up at a friend’s house with a boot full of seedlings. Its only now I’m in to growing veg that I understand. 🙂

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