Garden Seed Spinach

Seed – not germinating? Seedlings – disappearing?

One of the most important things to keep in mind when you plant seed or transplant seedlings is that each year has its own set of variables. What goes easily and smoothly one year will not necessarily go so easily and smoothly the next. It’s just the way things are.  Sometimes you won’t ever discover the reason(s) for the difference(s).


I had determined to get an early start of fall crops this year, since I knew I’d have my hands full with earning-a-living stuff this month, October.

So in mid August I started planting Hakurei turnips, 3 kinds of kale, and 6 varieties of lettuce in cells or flats. They germinated quickly and after they were up about 3/4 of an inch I transplanted into the garden. By the very next day, everything had disappeared!

Radishes and spinach I sowed directly in the garden.  They never came up — at least I never saw them.

I went through this process 3 times between mid August and the middle of September with the same results.

The 4th time I planted directly into garden beds.  The spinach never came up.  I got 2 turnips,  7 red kale plants and about two dozen lettuce plants.  Finally, several dozen radishes germinated.

More Examples

It was interesting to hear via a comment to yesterday’s post that Beppy and other folks she’s talked to have had the same problem.  Don also had spinach seed that never came up.

Suspected Cause

Beppy had wondered if it was the crickets.  I think that’s a pretty good guess.  Either crickets or grasshoppers. They’ll eat just about anything including seed!

My garden certainly was filled with them during August and September. And although I can’t prove it — I think they ate my seedlings. And I guess they ate my seed as well.  Interesting too, because they didn’t touch the “cover crop” buckwheat seedlings that were coming up in profusion in various beds at the same time.

Next-Time – When that Is

As Don said, “—There’s always next time —” When the “next time” is depends on how much you want fall/winter crops.

One year I didn’t have much lettuce for the winter. I craved it all winter.  I just won’t buy stuff like that at the store (even the organic) because not only does it not have the vitamin content — it has no taste as well. What I grow in my garden is totally different!  I have to make every effort to have it — so “next time” for me comes quickly.

If I can’t dedicate the time to getting it done in one day, I’ll do it little by little until I do get the planting done.

Final Thoughts

I have just this afternoon transplanted lettuce and 2 varieties of kale into the garden. This is the 5th time.  The number of crickets and grasshoppers has diminished greatly since August and September. I think I have a chance and can hardly wait for morning to get out there and look.

If those seedlings are still there — by golly, I’m gonna get the turnip seed out and more kale and radishes.  Do I have time you say?   I don’t know.  Could go either way.  But think of how happy I’ll be if I have all that good stuff to eat.  And if I don’t plant —–I know I won’t have it.

Have a great day!


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Organic gardening is easy, efficient and effective and— a lot healthier.




  • This is so true. I keep track of germination percentages on seed I start indoors. As germination declines each year, I’ll plant more the next. Sometimes I’ll have old tomato seed with close to 0% germination, so the next year I dump what is left in the starter pot to see if I will get one or two. Invariably, I’ll have forty of them come up and they become the big “give-away” plant of that year.

  • You are welcome Farming Bear! Sometimes all it takes is hearing about what someone else is doing.

  • Agreed GardenDmpls. Just when I think some seeds are finished and dump them in one spot in the garden — every one of them seems to germinate!

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