Hopefully not a botanic, biologic disaster

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It’s almost that magical time — it’s almost time to put plants and seeds in the garden.

And this year, most everything in my garden will come straight from seed, thanks to my husband using a real greenhouse to get things rolling.

Years ago, I thought I’d try to raise everything from seed, based on something I read in a magazine. I even tried a mini “greenhouse.”

(I used quotations around the word “greenhouse” in the second reference because while it was promised, it was certainly not delivered).

The result of that experience was a mysterious, botanic, biological disaster.

I think the year was 2015 when I planted my seeds early and I was thrilled to see the microscopic sprouts emerge from the soil . . . and continue to grow!

I kept the soil moderately moist and positioned the little guys in all the right places, inside the house, so the perfect amount of light would glide over them during the day.

I was extremely amped up about the purchase of a small, portable “greenhouse,” which was to further my plant-growing prowess. Granted, the “greenhouse” really was just a series of metal rods that fit into one another to form a three-tiered rack. Then, over the entire contraption went a clear, plastic sleeve, if you will (for lack of a better word).

The plastic completely covered all the shelving and there was a front zipper so I could easily have access to my plants for watering.

I donned my glasses and intently read the instructions. It said that once my plants are about two weeks old, I was to place the “greenhouse” in a sheltered, outdoor area . . . and put the plants inside. Once this was accomplished, the instructions said, the plants would quickly thrive and soon be ready for transplant into the garden area.

So the portable “greenhouse” was erected (although I was missing a few parts and it ended up being shorter than advertised) and placed on the south side of my porch. It was well protected from the wind; it had a little shade at certain times of day; and it had direct sun at certain times of day (as prescribed by the written instructions).

That first day, I’ll admit, I was apprehensive about throwing my little guys into the big, bad world. Were they ready to be outside? Could I control my coddling?

But I talked myself into it . . . seeing how this little “greenhouse” would provide all the protection they needed and plenty of natural sunlight.

So I followed through, zipped up the plastic cover and went to work.

That day, it was a pleasant 68 degrees. The birds were chirping, the wind was amazingly non-existent . . . so when I didn’t venture home for lunch, I had no worries. My plants would have a beautiful first day in their somewhat natural habitat.

Due to a series of appointments and commitments, I didn’t go directly home after work either.

And that, apparently, was a good thing.

I was told that evening, by the husband, how when he went to the house at mid-day, he noticed the “greenhouse” looked odd.

He went to take a closer look.

The description I was given included phrases such as, “The plastic was incredibly hot and looked as if it was melting into the metal frame.” Upon unzipping the cover, “a strange, hot gust of gas-like air” came bursting forth like a ball of fire.

It was with shock and awe he discovered the little plants looked as if they had literally been sautéed in a cast iron skillet.

I was dumbfounded. So was he.

Fortunately, it was dark when I returned home . . . so I mourned their passing without gazing upon their dead little bodies.

The next morning, as the sun came up, I decided to open the south door and take a look at the effects of the natural disaster.

What I found was a pile of rubble . . . somehow, sometime during the night, the entire “greenhouse” thing had completely imploded into itself. There were pieces of metal strewn about, the plastic cover looked as if it had been in an oven and beat with a branding iron.

And the trays of plant pods, lying on the porch, looked as if an alien had attacked. The potting soil was covered with a strange, almost-bluish/grey-like film. The previously beautiful, happy green plants were black, almost-singed, whispers of what had been.

I have no idea what happened.

Was it some sort of photosynthesis explosion?

Had some strange gas built up inside the contraption?

Was the sunlight too intense, although the temperature was so low?

What the heck happened inside that “ mini-greenhouse,” which I now call “the mini house of horrors?”

I’m still mystified as to why my experiment failed so horribly, ending in a hot bubble of mysterious gas.

My husband’s greenhouse project, this year, involves no strange technology, just common sense, considerable work and an actual greenhouse shed; so this year, when the plants are ready and I’m pretty sure our frost season is finished, I’ll put them in the ground.

I’ll just let Mother Nature take care of it – because if I have a hand in it, it’ll surely result in a mysterious, botanic, biological disaster.



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