Not a good way to start the day.
One of the first things I do when I get up in the mornings is turn on the lights for the aquarium greenhouses.
This morning, I was greeted by this.
This is the tray we had just recently transferred out of the big aquarium greenhouse. A cat had managed to get through the box blocking the gap at the back of the chair, and into the tray.
The damage in some of them was really, really bad. The pots just disintegrated. Granted, they are designed to do that, but not until they’ve been put into the ground!
Some weren’t too bad. The gourds, in particular, were mostly just jostled a bit. I was able to transfer them into the Solo cups without too much trouble. These cups already had drainage holes in their bottoms.
Note the leaves on the Canteen gourd, with the almost white tips. That’s from the seed casing that I ended up breaking free of the leaves.
The remainder required much more care.
We still had some pre-moistened seed starting soil left, and I used it to help re-pot the remaining squished seedlings.
I think a couple of labels got mixed up, but I’m not going to worry about that right now. As long as the two varieties of tomatoes are labelled, it’s fine.
Once the seedings were cleared and in cups, I moistened some more seed starting soil. While mixing the water in, the remains of the Jiffy pots got mashed into the soil as well. By the time the soil was thoroughly moistened, there was no sign of the pots!
For some with still intact pots, like the gourds, I gently removed them again, added soil to the bottom of the cups, then put them back in. For the tomatoes, I basically just potted them up, adding the fresh soil around the stems. Those should recover fine.
It’s the eggplants and peppers that might have difficulties. I tried to add soil around them while raising them higher in the cups as best I could. Some were quite squished, but none looked broken or damaged.
With the tomatoes, I’m not too concerned, since we do have two more trays of them in the mini-greenhouse, but these are the only eggplant and peppers we’ve got. Even with the gourds, there are other pots that haven’t germinated yet.
Speaking of which…
To give them the best chance as survival, the repotted seedlings went back into the large aquarium greenhouse, where they will be on the heat mat and under the two light fixtures.
Which, unfortunately, meant the other tray had to go into the mini-greenhouse.
Before they did, though, my daughter flattened a cereal box and put it in first, folded so that half the box covers the gap in the back, and the other half is under the tray.
Pure chance that we had the box. We almost never buy cereal, but when we were last the Superstore, we purchased enough to get their freebie of the week. That week, it was a variety pack of cereals and breakfast bars. This was the largest cereal box in the pack, and just the right size to completely cover the gap created by the back of the chair the mini-greenhouse is tied down to.
Unfortunately, this means the items in the tray aren’t getting the light and warmth they were, in the aquarium greenhouse. The best we could do was set up a light on one side, shining into the bottom of the mini-greenhouse from the TV stand next to it. For those in pots, they need the warmth of that incandescent bulb more than the light, since they haven’t germinated yet. You can see the shallots coming up in the tray next to the pots. They will need more light, but not the heat.
Well, there’s only so much we can do, until things warm up enough to start using the sun room. Hopefully, before then, we’ll be able to switch the trays again, and have the newly repotted seedlings back in the mini-greenhouse, and the tray with seeds that still need to germinate, back on the warming mat. The mini-greenhouse itself should be closer to the living room window, but the closer you get to the window, the colder the room is, so that won’t work for probably another few weeks.
We don’t know for sure which cat did this damage but, really, there’s just the one that keeps trying to get into the mini-greenhouse, still. The others are content to sit in the sun spot on the chair seat in front of it.
I love the cats. I really do. But I am getting so tired of cat damage.