That title, my friends, is my sad attempt at a pun. My first title, though, was 'Dog-saster,' so count yourselves lucky.
Here's my tale of a dog and some vegetable seedlings.
These are my three-week-old seedlings - yeah! Growing and looking good. Nothing wrong with that.
I planted them similar to this post all about seed starting, except this year I'm trying a new styrofoam seed starter with preformed plugs. Just experimenting (and not too impressed yet).
Look closely at that photo and you'll see something that doesn't belong. Dog hairs. Sticking up out of the plugs.
This would be why they are there:
What you see above is just a fraction of the mess we woke up to recently in the laundry mudroom where I also start my seeds.
It is also a bedroom for our dog, Samson. Who has quietly slept here on his bed for 7 years.
Quietly. For 7 years.
For some unknown, unfathomable reason, he panicked and jumped up on the wood counter holding the seedlings and their shop light, scraping up the counter, breaking pots and boxes and knocking a seedling tray onto the floor.
Amazingly, only two seedlings were lost as Brian hastily gathered up the plugs and stuck them back in their holes. But the labels? Oh, yeah - those are all in front of the tray instead of correctly identifying the seedlings.
So this year it seems, we will be growing determinate tomatoes (grow only 2-4 ft.) among the indeterminate (grow all season to 6 ft or more), with the paste tomatoes thrown in for good measure.
The pepper house will apparently hold hot and sweet peppers this year, even though I hate to waste room on the hot peppers that we use in the green stage. I usually leave the hot house to the sweet peppers so that they have a chance to fully ripen to their color in out typically cool summers.
Oh, well, I really am just glad I didn't lose them all!
And we are truly mystified. It happened two days earlier, too, but with less damage and no seedling tray disruption.
We thought a mop had fallen in the night and scared Samson. We could find no possible cause this time, though, and it was much worse.
The shop light is on a timer and comes on around 6 am, but this is not the first year we've had the seedlings in Samson's room - and the light started going on weeks before this occurred.
Sure wish we could figure it out. In the meantime, we moved his bed to the hallway - at least until I get the seedlings all grown up. Do you have any ideas?
Update: Thank you for all the ideas! We think is was a mouse. We've set traps and hopefully won't have this issue again!
Update on the update: it did happen again - a whole year later. And there really isn't a mouse. Now we think it's the florescent light making a high pitched noise we can't hear but that apparently drives the dog nuts. Sigh.
Here's an update for those who've been wondering how the seedlings fared after our dog went on his wild rampage.
I'm happy to report, so far, so good!
The tomatoes above are actually looking pretty healthy. I'm right on track according to the Organic Gardening Checklist, having transplanted them last week to larger 4-inch pots.
They'll stay in these pots until I plant them out in early May under the row cover I use to give them a slight headstart. (Tip: learn my tomato planting tips and tricks here.)
And there are a few markers left in some of the pots - but here's the catch: they might not actually be the right one. Most fell out when Samson knocked them over, but some were left in and a few got put back - helpfully ? - by Brian. Only time will tell.
Hey! It's going to make for a fun gardening season, isn't it?
I'm really pleased with the peppers, too. They take about a week longer to sprout than the tomatoes and since I don't plant them until late May, I start them at the same time as the tomatoes.
More of these lost their labels. Again, fun times ahead.
I did lose a couple, though, but was able to transplant an extra seedling when I moved these to bigger pots.
Oh, and here's a do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do tip: if you run out of bagged soil and go out to the garden to fill in with compost and soil, you'll also bring in pill bugs and other bugs that will chew on the tender seedling leaves. Duh.
Cool Weather Seedlings
Here are the cool-weather seedlings I hardened off a few weeks ago and planted this last weekend. They include lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.Unfortunately the cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli seedlings were the worst hit from the dog. I lost about half.
Oh, well - it could've been worse!
Cranky Puppy says
I feel your pain. I dropped my grafted tomato plants right on their heads earlier this week and I think I may lose at least 1 of the 6. And I can't even blame the dog...
Oh man, I would be so upset! One of my dogs has panic episodes too! Last year during the Fourth of July, he chewed right through our side fence! Through the wood!! He got stuck and howled and howled but we couldn't hear him because of the fireworks and he ended up tearing his ACL! Dogs, I tell ya.
Sorry about your doggy and your seedlings. Luckily most were saved. Thats a lot of work to lose. My tomatoes are only 11 days old. Yours look to be a nice size. I agree with another poster, maybe he found a mouse, or even a bat. Hope you figure it out.
Lisa @ HappyinDoleValley says
Oh my... That is just so sad about your seedlings! You are waaay ahead of me in the seed starting department; I've only just a week and a half ago started lettuces and spinach seeds. We're at 900 feet, so even though spring is officially here, it doesn't truly arrive in the foothills for another couple of weeks. Thanks for hosting! ~Lisa (link #18)
Oh wow! Poor guy. I'm glad you were able to selvage your seedlings though. Thank you for hosting! We've been planting a windbreak on our homestead and I'm sharing a post on that. Have a great day.
The Redeemed Gardener says
Marleena A says
Sometimes those plugs, any bagged soil type product really, can have bugs in them like nats that come out especially at night and are drawn to the lights. Fly paper helps get rid of them just hang it up above the trays for a few days should take care of it.
Looking good Jami!! I started my seedlings late but I hope it'll be okay! What varieties are you planting this year??
I sure hop that Sampson is doing ok. Who knows what is going on in that little doggie brain. I am so glad that you were able to salvage most all of your seedlings. I guess the labeling issue will add a fun element of surprise in your garden this year..all thanks to Sampson!
Oh, poor puppy. I hope you figure it out just to give him some peace of mind.
Sorry about the seedlings and the counter, too! Yikes!
Oh my gosh!!!! That sucks! I'm another vote for something else "alive". 🙂
You might need a "Nanny Cam" or a "Doggie Cam" !
I tried some seeds inside and they were too spindly. I guess i need a shop light not just a grow bulb. The seeds I planted outside are doing nicely though! I planted sugar snap peas. yum.
Ha! We were wishing for the same thing, Christie 🙂
Barb @ Frugal Local Kitchen says
My only thought is maybe there's a wild animal outside. I would get him checked by a vet just to rule everything else out.
Your seedlings are doing very well, considering. Think what surprises you will have as things ripen! My parents had a lovely mixed breed named Casey, who started having terrors in the night. He tried to climb walls and get on top of furniture. The vet felt it was a form of epilepsy, and prescribed medication that alleviated the symptoms. It might be worth a visit to the vet - for the sake of the dog, if not your plants! Good luck.
Wow, I've never heard of that, Colleen. We'll keep an eye on him - he's had only the two and now sleeps happily on his bed in the hallway.
Michelle @ Simplify, Live, Love says
Oh no! Drat the dog. 🙂 I had a hard time with labels last year and my garden was a bit of a mess, but I still got good food! This year I've tried to be better. I tried three different methods for starting my seeds last week. Some of them are growing much better than others. I linked up my first post on using materials I found at home to start my seeds!
Oh I hope you kind find out what is spooking your dog but how sad to have your garden seedlings in disarray.
Oh I can understand your dismay. I have a Golden Retriever that has episodes of panic and tries to crawl under the bed, in the bed or where ever he thinks he's hidden. It seems he is highly sensitive and picks up any frequency change or noise that is alarming to him, but not us. He's also an avid TV watcher ... so we've limited his watching to only child friendly ratings! LOL
lori G. says
Any chance there is something else alive in the room - something attracted to the light, or something attracted to the plants, and that is what he was after? A mouse, a lizard, a moth . . .?
I bet you have either a mouse or a flying insect. My dog is terrified if flying insects after being stung by a bee. All insects are now dangerous,,,,
Samson loves insects - as in, loves to try to get them to eat them! He might've been going for one, but we do have mice, so that might be the problem...
This is a good thought, Lori! We do have mice occasionally...