Last week it slowly dawned on us that the propane heater we had been using to heat our greenhouse was emitting an odorless colorless gas that negatively affected our plants. It took us a while to figure out why things weren't progressing properly.
There are so many variables in a greenhouse and it isn’t easy to immediately know what is causing what. Essentially you're trying to play God and create and manage a perfect micro environment. We all know that the more control you have, the more likely you are to mess up. It's a lot to stay on top of.
Not only that but the greenhouse we are starting our seeds in is pretty makeshift for now. We just don’t have a super propagation area set up yet on the new land. We are making things work, but everything is a bit cobbled together for this season as we transition to the new land.
But back to the issue: it took a while for us to recognize the subtle growth problems and then to ascertain which factor was the issue. Was it getting to cool at night? To hot on sunny days? Too much watering? Was it the new brand of potting soil? There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you are trying to control and regulate everything...and when you are on a strict budget!
All we knew was that the plants weren't growing properly. At first it was a sense or intuition. But there was too much going on and we didn't honor our gut instincts. It's easier to turn a blind eye and assume you miscalculated something. Well one thing we are slowly learning is that we've been doing this for a while and there are a lot of things that we know without knowing we know them. We need to trust those instincts earlier.
But even once the problem has been identified, finding a good solution is also difficult. I can't even begin to articulate all the factors that must be weighed. When the stakes are high and time and money are limited those complicated evaluations feel like extreme pressure.
Not a fun couple of days.
In the end we bought a new heater and we are still working to restart some of the seedlings that were affected. It puts us behind schedule, but what can you do? You keep rolling and pivot to the next iteration of the plan.
So if you notice in June that a crop seems a little later then normal... It's likely due to last weeks issues. Results are all delayed. We'll see how it shakes out...
So just in case you think farming is purely beautiful and idyllic whith therapeutic gardens and cute baby animals, let me assure you its more like sailing a sailboat in a hurricane. Once the sun starts mounting, you plant your seeds, grab the tiller and try to stay right-side up!