You're welcome. I get so busy sometimes I don't get all my seeds planted when I should. When things slow down a little I find all those packages with the notes saying plant these"spring" or "wintersow" and its usually too late. So I found the list online and now have another group of packages to plant "now". Hope I don't forget :-)
Now is also a good time to plant any perennials you want for next year that need vernalization. As long as you can get the plants into the ground ~ 8 weeks before a killing frost you should have good luck. I have a whole bunch of Aquilegia that are just now germinating in flats in my basement.
Jada, it sure does, as long as it's hardy for your zone. I like to evaluate my beds this time of year and see where there are holes or colors I want to fill in. If you can start some of those perennials now, you'll have blossoms on them next year. If you wait until winter or next spring to start plants, you might have to wait another season for blooms (depending on the species). I don't start a huge number of plants this time of year, but it is a unique opportunity to get quicker blooms especially on those plants that need vernalization (cold period necessary for bloom production).
Thanks! What a great idea. I have some perennials I'd like to start now and the conditions as far as weather are ideal. Good to know they will be ok for next spring. Seems a good way to get a jump on some of them .
Plus, I have seeds that are getting "older" (06, 07) and I want to get them in the ground soon.
Vernalization is the chilling of plants that is necessary for those plants to initiate blooms. Usually, at least 8-10 weeks of chilling is needed at a temp of 38-40 degrees or less. It can be difficult to fully understand vernalization as some plants need the chilling to initiate blooms and in other plants the chilling determines the timing of bloom. At the simplest level, it is a survival mechanism for the plant. Think of a plant that starts growing in late summer, if it tries to bloom that fall, there may not be enough growing season left for those seeds to mature and the plant to reproduce. By requiring a chilling period, the plant goes dormant in the fall, and when growth starts again in the spring, it has a whole season to produce viable seeds. This is kind of a simplistic explanation, but I hope you get the idea. As for plants that require vernalization, think of all the fall planted bulbs, iris, all biennials, fruit and nut trees, as well as many vegetable crops (cabbage, beets and carrots to name a few). While many perennials need vernalization, many companies have bred that need out of some cultivars (many of those that advertise "will bloom the first year from seed" when those plants almost never bloom the first year).
Some plants won't bloom the first year because of juvenility, not because they need vernalization so it can get pretty complicated if you are trying to run a nursery and sell blooming plants at certain times of the year (photoperiod also comes into play with forcing bloom, but it would take 40-50 pages to discuss all the interactions that can occur). Luckily, most of us are just trying to beautify our homes and gardens.
I usually don't even think of which plants need vernalization, but rather think which plants I forgot to start last spring. By starting many of them in mid to late summer, I can get blooms next year guaranteed. If I wait to start them next winter/spring, I may not get blossoms on all of them, so I use this time to make up for my forgetfullness or failures from last spring.
I hope this helps with your understanding and doesn't muddy the water too much.