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I'm going to WS most of my veggies this year, except beans and peas probably. Flower wise, I plan on doing more coneflowers and I don't know what all else! I probably won't do anything until early to mid January, though.
Mainly, I am going to watch this thread and sow what you sow!!
Ethinaceiamaniac had a suggestion about sowing (on another thread) that I am going to do. Did not like my first time results at winter sowing.
Are there certain coneflowers and rudebeckias that you have sown in the past that did good? Any that you are going to try this time?
Do you have favorite places you order/get your seed from?
Stephanie, do you raise a lot of veggies? Which ones work best for you?
I'm sorting out my seed box and making up a WS list in my DG journal this week. I didn't wintersow last winter and sorely missed it by springtime. So much fun!
I'm planning on wintersowing lots of Native Plants for a remake of our woodland garden and a few 'meadow-y' spaces. Most of the natives here need 'cold treatment' for a few months, so Wintersowing will be perfect for them. Asclepias incarnata, Asclepias tuberosa, goldenrods, azizia, monarda, agastaches, echinaceas, rudbeckias, liatrises, etc.
Also will wintersow lots of different Aquilegias (columbines) and Digitalis for the front garden~~they need cold treatment too, so they will do well.
If I do veggies I normally don't start them out in WS containers until March or April since I find the seed rots if I plant them out before then (here in our wet winter weather).
We had people asking us about Rudbeckia "Goldilocks." Out of all the plants I grew this year it got the most compliments. It's a yellow, double Rudbeckia with big fluffy blooms. If you haven't grown that one, you should give it a try.
I also will be growing tons of seeds I've saved of every kind of Echinacea imaginable. LOL.
I'm excited to see what I get from some of the Echies I WS'd last winter. They were from hybrids, so they may all just be plain purple coneflowers (which will be fine, since I didn't already have any). I ended up with one plant each from a yellow and an orange hybrid, and several from 'Double Decker'- they look healthy and have grown well, so I expect blooms next year. I plan on trying more this winter.
Also moving forward with Rudbeckias- I had the best luck ever with them this year! For some reason, success with them had been illusive to me till this year.
I discovered I really like WSing for various Ipomea species this year. This year I've had the best luck with Moon Vine's ever!
I plan to decrease what I've been starting indoors and pretty much wintersow everything from now on. So much easier, and I have much better luck. Its always such a struggle for space under the lights, I'll just use that set up for tropicals and Coleus from now on.
Relatively modest intentions(?) if I don't get carried away! Echinacea paradoxa, more orange milkweed, E. pallida, but wait until I get my hands on those new seed catalogs!---------------(Once when we were first married, and usually broke, she didn't know what to give me for Christmas so she sat down and requested enough seed and plant catalogs to clutter the house all Spring--I had a pile of seed catalogs a foot or more high!)-----------Weedy
I love seed catalogues too - I like to just read them like some people read cookbooks. The bad part is I normally then go on line and order a ton. My refrigerator has a drawer full...literally full of seeds. And our yard is small! LOL
This will actually be the first time ever for me. I have grown things this way "accidentally" ( started indoors and gave up on them, so I threw them outside to be recycled later) I hope to winter sow lots of coneflower,daylily and shasta daisy.
who knows what else I may find before I run out of space.
Linda, my first year too. We are on vacation this week so I think I'll start my spreadsheet of the thousands (!!!) of seeds I've bought and gathered to begin being "organized". Being a newby, I won't know a shasta daisy seedling rom a daylily seedling, so will want to mark jugs to match spreadsheet. I'm hoping I'm not the only person in the world who it won't work for, LOL.
and one thing to remember when marking the jugs... if you are going to write on the top portion of the jug/container... also mark on the bottom half -- as when it gets warm, you will most likely cut the top portion off...
last year, i used plant markers in some of my jugs, but marked on the top and bottom half of the jugs.
my first year, on many I only marked on the tops, then when i tossed the top half, i had a bunch of NoID's.
Plus -- make sure you use a fade resistant pen/marker -- nothing worse than having the sun fade the identification.
LOL, I can see me doing that - tossing the tops with the names. Yes, thank you, I will be marking both halves now. I heard paint pens work really well and they don't fade either. Will put markers inside too being such a newbie. Thanks for the good advice!
echina --- i read the label, that being Purple Pygmy ... how did those turn out?? I purchased some from BlueStone, and i just love the blooms -- I'm hoping to collect a bunch of seeds, as for I only have 8 [hoping to share] but i was wondering how they WS. First year bloomer or second? I just think they are so cool looking. OH and i love the scent.
I used to have more failures until I started using a layer of seed starting mix on top of the potting soil. I put potting soil in the bottom and then top that with a layer about a half inch thick of Jiffy Seed starting mix or similar. It seems to help when there is too much moisture.
I need to get in there and organize my seeds then make a WS list. I usually start winter sewing in mid-Dec. but I got my hot little paws on snapdragons Frosted Flame ,Brighton Rock. and Bronze Dragon. One year I sewed snaps(Madame Butterfly and Butterflies...I Think) under a polytunnel in Sept and got great germination so I figured they'd do just as well in my un-heated greenhouse this year then I can spot them out in flowerbeds next spring.
Sewing a bunch of panies, violas and Calif.poppies as soon as weather clears up so I get a batch of potting mix stirred up. Should have been started earlier but we generally are too hot to start them sooner.
Going to try primulas again this year. Not much luck in the past and the ones I did get to grow got spidermites real bad. I'm ready with a systemic this time.
I traded for some huechera seeds last year and got some super looking plants from sewing so I'm on the look out with any one w/ seeds w/bright and flashing leafed heuchea seeds for WS.
Oops! Sorry,I get excited when it starts getting time to winter sew...LOL
Some of this years huechera seedlings
Tons and tons of purchased seeds and trades to winter sew. Too numerous to list. I'm a seedaholic and the economy has cuutail plant purchases.
Yes,I usually sell at market from mid-April to first of July. This year we started at the beginning of March and I went until first of July took July and August off because not many people plant during our heat, Went back in Sept.but didn't do well so quit going at the beginning of Oct.
Business for me(just ornamentals)were off this year but I'm hoping it will be better next year.
I gave up on veggies after 3 yrs of loosing two gardens to flash floods.The economy will turn around sooner or later. I've curtailed plant purchases the past 2 yrs and concentrated on doing more by seed.
I sell herbs. This year I offered a few variegated tomato plants but there's several other vendors that do veggie starts. I offered bareroot plants this spring. Mainly from thinning and dividing plants. I can sell them cheaper so people can still garden and watch their budgets. I still ahve regular customers that have money enough to by potted plants. Houseplants did well this year and probably could have done better if I had more.
I quit doing cuts 2 yrs ago too but did noticed that one vendor did well with single stem sales this year so people still want their luxuries but just not in the volume of the past.
I am home with a yucky bug today, so I think I will get in there and organize my seeds and lists and decide exactly what gets planted. Thanks for all the ideas. It will soon be time for me to get started. Our nights are beginning to drop into the 50's, so hopefully in a couple of weeks it will be cool enough.
I am still collecting seeds too.
I plan to sow a lot fewer seeds! I just finished planting the last of the echinaceas I winter sowed lthis past winter - and they are planted way too close together - and I have no room for any more plants . . . but I do like foxgloves! so maybe some of those.
One thing I'm going to do differently this year is not sprinkle the seeds over the entire container. I'm going to mentally divide the container into 4 parts and then put 3-4 seeds in each little section. This should help when it comes time to transplant. At least, I hope it will.
Now that's a good idea; however, I must tell you - I winter-sowed just 5 seeds each from several types of echinacea. I wanted to see how many would germinate - well now I have almost 20 echnacea plants and no where to really put them. I have them in the ground (finally) but they are far to close together and can't stay where they are , , , I will have to find homes for some of them in the spring . . .
at the end of the season, I bought about 30 72 cell packs from the dollar store when they had been marked down to .75 cents. I am planning to winter sow in those and no more. i have no clue where I will put anything else, but I am sure the flower beds will make froom for just 1 more baby.
Yeah, I think Karen is right. I always make sure I have 3 to 4 inches of potting soil in whatever I am using. This past year I found some large clear plastic containers with lids ( about the size of a laundry basket). My husband drilled holes in the bottom for drainage and the lids for air. Then I used 16 ounce drink cups for planting the seeds. Well, you can get a lot of those drink cups in each of those plastic containers, and I had three! That's why there were only 5 seeds in each drink cup.
Not everything was successful - buy OMG! did I ever end up with a lot of plants!
But those cell packs are great for spring-sowing all the stuff you forgot to winter sow, everyone is right it's NOT the same idiot-proof method as using a big jug. I always end up with a cell pack or two or three, but they need lots of water and transplanting and such.
Carrie: But you are in Ma, and ibartoo is in SC- much different weather in spring. I think they might need watered several times/day. Not something I'd try.
When I first started WSing, I had found the GardenWeb forum about it. I read every post for months. The experts all recommended gallon jugs, so that's what I used mostly. I experimented with a few other types, including deli containers (too shallow), paper pots and peat pots. They were awful, dried out several times/day, got moldy after rain... nothing in them did well. Since then, it's milk jugs for me. It's what I always suggest for beginners, too, but most want to experiment and do it their own way. Many make the mistake of thinking it's just like growing seeds under lights, but, as you know, it's really a lot different.
podster: Lots of folks seem to prefer the window on the side over the hinge. I've never tried it; looks cumbersome to me in terms of both initially cutting the window as well as sowing/tending/removing seedlings.
I always use the hinge, and it has worked well for me. Even with that method, I generally cut up the bottom half of the jug to remove seedlings. My hands are pretty clumsy.
podster: I haven't done that with milk jugs, but I've done it with 2 liters and it worked well. First I cut all the way around the equator. Then punch drainage holes, sow seeds, water in. Take the top half of the jug, and cut slits in the bottom. Eventually, on someone's advice, I changed from simple slits to an upside down "V" on the bottom rim of the top half. It slides easily onto the bottom half. Doesn't even really need tape, it stays together. As the weather warms, just pull up slightly on the top and you have instant windows on the sides where the "Vs" are.
Works very well with the 2 or 3 liter pop bottles. The attached pic is from 2006 WSing.
bigred: Again, I'd advise against cardboard/egg cartons- too small, not enough soil, dry out too fast. In your zone especially, I'd advise big containers.
You can transplant poppies, just do it when very small, at one or two true leaf stage. The tap root hasn't really formed at that point. Those are poppies in the jugs above. They looked like this in bloom.
I use them all the time with no problems. I sit them in the green trays w/ soild sides and bottoms instead of the open weave trays and generally plant out seedlings when they are pretty small rather than hold them over very long.
Wow, that really amazes me. Don't they take an awful lot of babysitting and watering? Have you done that with other plant types too? I'm curious, when do you plant them out and what are your temps then?
No,for personal use.I use to just direct sew but now that the beds are getting more crowded I like to be able to spot in where there a hole.
k,generally just annuals that can go out quick and take a bit of cold. Doesn't work with perennials because they have to stay in them too long and that does get to be too much babysitting. I don't even use peat pots any more for perennials.
Funny, I plant out perennials and only very cold hardy annuals, like poppies, snaps, BBs, larkspur) very early here. (as early as late March, early April). Last year I transplanted some larkspur volunteers in Feb. It's the more tender annuals that have to survive in containers for a long time. Our last frost isn't until at least mid May.
I remember reading last year somewhere on the forum about making 2 little holes and using a twist tie to tie them together. Then you just undo the the twist tie (or 'twistie' as we say in Texas), lift the lid, then put it back together and tie it off. However...I think it's a PITA to have to make the holes for the twistie and then try to feed the darn thing through them!
I used the duct tape on only a few jugs my first year... i found that to be a PITA ... I began using the Twisties instead... 3 yrs running and works like a charm for me. Though i did break my 'paper puncher' with it... i will have to get a new one for this year... hope they make an industrial strength one.
I am also a hinger... then by spring, i cut the tops off, usually just leaving the handle of the jug attached, for ease of carrying them.
A couple of times, i used the "V" method with the 2ltr containers... found that on Trudi's site i believe, or GW [can't recall] it did work well... but we dont go thru a lot of 2ltr containers.
GROAN! I just had a horrible realization. I recycled all the milk jugs I used for WSing the last two winters. Now our local grocery has been carrying milk in glass bottles, with a nice $2/refund on each one when you return them, so we've been buying those. I have no milk jugs! And the family swears the milk tastes better out of the glass bottles.
Guess I'll have to ask around and see who I can get to save jugs for me! LOL
Thanks for the tips on the cell packs. It would take me years to gather enough jugs to try it. We don't use milk and just small soda bottles once in a while. LOL. Maybe it is a sign, I should just direct sow and mulch like crazy. LOL Let nature do all the work. I think I am liking that idea right now. I like it alot.
have a great day everyone.,
Linda -- aside from milk jugs.. there are other larger containers you can use... I'll use those 5qt Ice cream bucket with the lid, or large yogurt or sour cream... some times you have to be creative... anything where you can have some sort of a lid, and at least 3-4" of soil... then a few more inches for the seedlings to grow.
In the sticky thread at the top of the forum there's TONS of good information. One of the links is to the thread about containers. There's lots of good ideas on various types of containers you can use on the thread.
ibartoo... also - check with your local coffee shops, like Starbucks or Caribu ... places that go thru a lot of milk.
I also just a lot of QT sized bottles... Half and Half, Naked Juice, Orange Juice, Kefir ... plastic bottles like that... i generally do not buy a lot of juice, but i will in the winter to stock up on bottles.
I've been buying gallon jugs of distilled water for my humidifier and those are just like milk jugs minus the milk, got plenty. I also saved the prepared jugs from last year but not sure if I will use them or not -- I used some of them already several times and the hinges are getting old so the tops just don't like to stay down.
Tried duct tape and it just came right off, musta been a bad roll, but not even an off brand, so go figure. I am real disappointed in duct tape... but it really made no difference. Not gonna mess with the twist tie thing, a definite PITA for sure, at least for me.
I am getting ready to experiment with wintersowing winter greens that should have been sown a month or more ago but my circumstances prevented that. I think it will work tho because of the good location I have for them. Five jugs will get seeded tomorrow -- kale spinach two kinds lettuce and a winter greens mix. Once they are at all sturdy they will go in large containers for the duration as the ground is not yet prepared. Maybe next year for that!
Anyway, after that I will, in proper winter timing, see what else I will sow, but I know one thing I'll do again is lavender as it did so well this year. I am moving though and decided only to dig up and transport the largest plant so will definitely want more. But that one big lavender plant, oh wowie wow what a beauty! I was thrilled with it and am in the process of separating out some seeds from some of the trimmed off flower branches.
Moving is the ruddy heck on garden seasons! But I think this will work... fingers crossed!!!!!
Ya, I'm not starting *real* wintersowing til after Christmas, but had to get my greens started asap and I do believe this is the best way.
I have done completely without any fasteners, just sometimes shove the top down into the base if the hings gets too used to being open, they have been just FINE with no fasteners... well, that was last year, the only time I have done this, but still, it was no problem at all not to fasten the tops in any way.
I've never used fasteners for the jugs either in my 4 years of wintersowing. Haven't run into any problems as a result, and it makes life much easier in early spring when I can't stop myself from checking every jug daily.
I've also found using the jugs beneficial for seed starting in general, whether wintersowing or not. I ran out of pots in the proper sizes last year in the middle of sowing tomatoes, and sowed the remainder in jugs. Those in jugs all germinated before those in pots, and seemed to grow faster too.
This is one of those " idiot questions" but here goes, if you winter sow in jugs or bottles, then in spring you have to move them and replant, wouldn't it make sense to sow in site and cover them with the jugs or bottles?
Maybe that wouldn't work, but I am thinking, I never seem to have the spots to plant the things I think I want to winter sow.
Linda -- i just came across that very thing this morning in the Agastache Forum. A guy who lives in Colorado does that. Just covers the seeds with a milk jug.
I personally never thought of that... but in my situation... where i plant, that wouldnt work as there are critters, high winds, heavy down pours ... all of which could take the seeds from their location.
I have all those issues, too, with wild wind and critters. We have trouble keeping a roof or siding on the house so an empty milk jug doesn't stand a chance... But another little factoid: My garden soil can stay frozen for a long time in spring. By the time the garden soil finally makes it up to 40 degrees or so, my milk jugs are running 60 or 70. I think direct sown with a cloche might sprout a lot later.
Yes, I do really monitor my soil temp in spring. As soon as it hits 40 degrees, I start treating with iron phosphate.
Iron phosphate kills slugs, and it works very well. Some brand names are Sluggo and Escar-go, but more brands are popping up all the time. Gardener's supply has one too, though I forget the name. It's more kind to beneficials than most of the other slug poisons on the market.
I researched this subject a few years ago and found that slugs become active at 40 degrees F., so that's when I start treating.
Another issue with direct sowing and covering, is you still got loads of weeds. That's a big reason I don't do much direct sowing- the weeds always grow faster and better than the desirable plants, and are often difficult to weed out.
Has anyone tried putting down newspaper and then mulching the same area around the seed when direct sowing? So you'd sow your seed and then put your jug over it, then newspaper around it and then mulch on top of the newspaper. Just wondering...
I don't have to worry so much about the soil temperatures as we have very mild winters. My biggest concern is not having to replant the seedlings in the spring. If I can sow them now and mulch over them then I can plant around them in the spring and just fill in where I need color spots. I think I will try small areas as experiments this year and see what happens.