either or, hansey... sometimes when we 'move on' to another thread, the other one does not get any more replies,... but sometimes it does.
I rarely unwatch a thread... just in case a question is asked in that thread which i can answer.
Ive been getting my seeds ready, and soon, hopefully I will be making my list of what i really want to sow this winter.
My neighbor, after me doing this for 3 yrs, said she is finally going to WS this year. She asked me about a month ago if I keep the containers in my house... [she does not venture out much in the winter, so i guess she never saw my containers til early spring]
anyhoo... i was like... are you nuts? I said, nope, just stick them out in the snow. So, now she is determined to save her DH some cash for next year and sow all the plants instead of buy them.
I will tell her to invite me over so i can show her how... though i have given her enough containers of plants over the years, she should be able to figure it all out.
Hansey, what Karen said. There's a lot of information on the other thread which will be helpful to you as you do your winter sowing, so please refer to it often. You'll have questions and it's probably one that's been asked before. Remember: there are no stupid questions.
Having had the success of my first winter sowing last year, I am thrilled with this method. I bought very few new plants this year (if you don't count bulbs!) and that was a good thing. It also kept me from haunting my garden centers as in the past where temptation lay around every corner. So I can assure you this method works. You will have doubt as the winter progresses and things are covered with snow and ice, but hang in there!
Yes, Terese, those were my Yvonne's in June. I started the seeds inside last year, but they didn't get much bigger than the ones I wintersowed in previous years, about 50 inches. Maybe it was because the summer was so cool and cloudy last year. But I suspect that it would take some hi-test ferts to get them really big, and I don't use those strong chemicals. I try to stick pretty much to organic stuff.
Oh, you have some of that, too, tcs? I thought I had the crappiest soil on earth. True story: several years ago, at least 7, we bought a dump-truck load of compost. Oh, it looked so good, black gold, nice and fine. I don't know what that stuff was, but it surely wasn't compost. It is still sitting as a layer in the soil where we placed it, not even breaking down and being absorbed into the soil. Methinks it must have been ground up asphalt. By now, it should have degraded and melded into the rest of the dirt. What a rip. You can't always tell unless you do it yourself.
we are a relatively new subdivision... developed starting in 2001... where they scrape away all the good black dirt and all that is left behind is clay.
then when they put down the sod... they said there were be 3" of top soil... we were lucky to get an inch. It was amazing the crap that was buried under the sod, rocks [BIG rock] sticks, branches... they did a terrible job.. it's amazing our grass even grew.
most of the flower beds that i tend to is way behind my home, that was old corn fields... the State owns it.. but i beautify it.
I'm convinced that the answer to improving soil is additions of compost and other organic matter every year. In recent years I have mulched all my planting beds with shredded leaves, but haven't found time for that yet this year. I'm not certain that I'll get to it at all, the weather is getting too cold for my liking. I even have enough leaves gathered, just haven't done it yet. I just finished yanking annuals and cutting back perennials this week.
My neighbor keeps saying she wants to bring in some horse manure... but is afraid it will tick off all the other neighbors. I know she'll never do it. for whatever reason, he DH gets pisses that she spends so much time working in the yard.
What i keep saying that i need to do... is get rid of those huge bark chips... they've been breaking down... but i need to fill in the beds with soil the do some sort of a compost.
tcs, have you ever looked into lasagna gardening? I bet that would be ideal for your conditions. I just learned about it, and did a huge new bed that way--you just put down cardboard or thick layer of newspaper on top of the grass or weeds or whatever is currently in the area, then layer on organic materials on top of it--leaves, grass clippings, peat, kitchen scraps, top soil, whatever you have lots of! If you do it in the fall, you'll have a wonderful bed ready for planting in the spring. I did it mid-summer, and was able to plant in it 2 weeks later. It's the nicest, most weed-free bed I have! Trying something similar in my veggie garden this fall--covered it with a thick layer of mulched leaves, then laid down big pieces of cardboard that I rescued from behind the dumpster at school. Maybe in the spring it will be enriched, and much more weed-free than usual!
Angie... yes, i read about it a few yrs ago on here.. and have done small areas out back. I take my broken down card board boxes that i use for winter sowing and in teh fall, lay them down with grass clipping on top... the area i did last year worked out well... it it now a small flower bed.
But i should probably do small areas around my house to improve those beds.
thanks for the input though... sometimes the easiest solutions slip your mind.
Agreed, lasagna gardens are great. I actually prefer interbay mulch beds, which is basically the same but covering the top of the hump with burlap. Now, I use old bedsheets instead of the burlap, works just as well.
Lynn: I've done basic lasagna gardens as well as interbay mulch beds and I find that interbay mulch does break down much faster. The first time I actually bought burlap to use and it worked very well. Then, that genius that is my husband threw it in the garbage... When I wanted to repeat the performance I wasn't going to buy burlap again.
I had to improvise. I keep several old bedsheets, matress covers, and blankets strictly for garden use, so I have used them for interbay mulch beds and they seem to work well for me. Since sheets are old, worn, and thin, they probably don't hold as much moisture as a heavy burlap would but I do give those areas a shower with the hose or sprinkler every few days when the weather is dry. And they do keep the hump materials dark too, and are breathable to allow for oxygen.
I missed reading this thread for a few days, wow, did I miss a lot! LOL, it's a great thread.
We have crappy soil here - clay - in fact, I could make fine pottery out of it it's so awful. Went to Iowa a couple weeks ago where I keep my mother-in-law's garden up (she passed away) and I wanted to CRY as the soil was so black, rich, amazing! I couldn't believe how easy gardening would be with real soil and NOT clay!!!!
This'll be my first year to w.s. - can't wait. I have a room full of milk cartons.
Wow, thanks for the great link (and all the ones listed at the end of that one--I ended up following quite a few!). It gives me some ideas on how to improve the technique I am just tinkering with! I wonder where I could get some burlap cheap. Looking to cover about 400 sq. feet of veggie garden! Or do you just build it into "humps" here and there around the garden, instead of covering the entire space? I was hoping to do a double-whammy of preventing weeds and improving the soil.
My BIL has a wealth of aged horse manure, but I have no way to transport it between his house and mine. Somehow just not keen on the idea of loading buckets of it into my minivan, and enduring the stench for a couple of hours on the way home. :) And for some reason, he is not keen on the idea of shoveling it into his pickup and driving it all the way over here. He's said I'm welcome to it if I'll come get it. Oh, well. Maybe I'll find a closer source. LOL
I've started to collect a few jugs, here and there... Dont want Dh getting ticked that they are collecting in the kitchen so soon... so i bagged them up, took them in the basement - and put them in a far corner... i looked over and saw a huge trash bag that was full of something -- and low and behold... it was full of milk jugs!! jack pot!! i've got a huge jump on next year. [probably 10-15 containers]
Since it is all my DH and I can do to drink enough milk for the jugs, I send an e-mail out to all of the membership in my garden club and ask them to save theirs and bring to our meeting, well last week I received 30 jugs, not bad for a start. now all I need is 170 more...LOL
G_S! PLEASE tell me more! She only has 1 tree on 1-1/2 acres. I truly don't know plants and flowers like I've learned veggies. I did stop today 2 take a picture of a shrub on someone's curb. I figured I need 2 start identifying plants that catch my eye so I'll know which seeds 2 WS! I've asked my niece 2 go thru some magazine's 2 select landscapes that appeal 2 her. We might also need 2 ride thru some Houston 'hoods 2 get some ideas. Thanks again. Here's the pic from today. I think its some kind of azalea.
I've tried maybe a dozen or so woody plants with wintersowing and its worked well. The specific plants would differ for our zones, but most seed producing woody plants you see growing in your area would be worthwhile possibilities. I started Caryopteris and Vitex last year, and the Vitex even bloomed the first year!
[quote]Starbuck's? What did I miss? Can you get jugs from them?
Yes, you can ask them to save milk jugs too... ya figure, they go thru a lot of milk.
My son - who works there - will just put them all in a huge trash bag and bring them home.
I'd think if you called in the Am and said you'd pick them up later... or ask when the best time to pick them up... in the evening, before they close up.. they prep for the next day, refilling all the containers with their milk. [skim,2%, whole]
>>Our Starbucks here won't let us collect their grounds- that just seems stupid to me!
Neil... i bet "corporate" would love to hear about that. I know Starbucks is very into 'recycling' of sorts... I'd drop them an email [at corporate] and mention that you want to use their old grounds, and they wont give them to you.
someone may get a slap on the wrist... but i'd bet you will get grounds out of the deal... if you dont want to do it... tell me which store # [location] it is.. .and i'll do it.
Starbucks here doesn't (won't) save grounds, either. Not much of an issue for me, my neighborhood isn't classy enough that Starbucks would ever come to this part of town. But I do have a little local coffee shop a few blocks from my house that saves me all their grounds. I have a 5 gallon bucket of them in my garage to dump today.
Okay, stupid question ... on one WS thread, I read a gal's DH drilled holes in all her containers. They were beautiful containers - beautiful holes. I tried drilling through a milk jug - no way - do you have to actually puncture them with a nail first or what's the SECRET to getting a drill bit through plastic?
I'm totally non-tool ignorant, had to borrow the drill. Am I just drill challenged???
PS Our church's coffee shop is going to save their milk jugs for me so I have to get the 50 I already have cut and ready to go so I have more room. ~grin~
Starting seeds indoors has become such a pain for me, I'm pretty much wintersowing everything from now on. I used to be in such a hurry to get blooms I'd try to get an early start indoors with some things, but these days there's enough blooming to keep me happy in spring without the annuals. The annuals kick in later in the summer after my Lilies and early summer perennials are done, just when the color is needed.
Cynthia, I just use a knife. First I make 4 or 5 stabs in the bottom of the jug, and with each stab, I twist the knife to make a hole (and not just a slit that may not allow enough drainage). If you make the holes in the bottom first, the jug doesn't collapse as badly (as it does if you've already cut the jug partially in half). It's quick this way, and I go ahead and get a bunch ready beforehand.
Thanks GeminiSage, I'll try that. The jugs with the drilled holes look so nice, but wow, what a pain it'll be since the drill bit won't go thru. I want to get the spare room cleaned out so I can make room for lots more!
I use a utility knife (box cutter) and just make triangular holes with 3 slits. Very quick and easy. I use a metal skewer (like for shishkebabs) to make 2 small holes ( one in top and one in bottom) to put twist-em through to keep top secure on bottom.
I'll google a brad point drill bit so I know what it looks like, LOL. I think I'll try the twist tie vs. the duct tape to hold the top down. Which one is easier in the long run? I don't mind spending the time now preparing the jugs.
Have you seen the winter sowing video on youtube? It's really good.
The 2 small holes with a twist tie is easier than duct tape for sure, but its not really necessary to secure them shut. I've found they keep the proper shape and shut just fine without securing. It's much better for me because I'm out there every day in early spring checking every jug- and I never can get away with doing fewer than 100, LOL
Woops, sorry! I assumed Gemini was a May birthday baby (like me) and Sage was probably the woman's first name. I like to try and figure out the DG names, really blew it with yours. Maybe we'll call you Mr. Gemini Sage, lol, and you can call me Mrs. Hansey Collie. (Han is my collie, duhhhh, way original in my name, not.) ~grins~
quick little diddy on Starbucks... if they are in a store, like Dominicks or Krogers... or even hotels... they generally are not "Owned" by Starbucks. I know an "establishment' can pay a fee... like 15k a year... yes, HUGE money, to sell the starbucks products... even the employees are not actual Starbucks employees.
so -- that could be a reason why they would not 'recycle' the grounds.
I have to admit... i've met a plant or two i didnt like... one that jumps into my head was ... Oh geeze, of course i can not think of the name now... but it was very thistly, with white blooms... planted them with my tomatoes because i read they were 'good' for them... it'll come to me...
but i yanked them and i'm still getting volunteers.
if you are sowing a smaller amount of seeds, you can use plastic bags. i read it in the WS thread last year and it worked pretty well. Also, Dave did a video a few years ago about using newspaper as container and you can just plant that right into the ground. very cool.
I hoping it warms up enough today so I can start WS my poppies,larkspurs and a few others. I'm using paper mache egg cartoons for the poppies,larkspurs and other that don't like root disturbance. They work just as well as peat pots for plants that don't need a long growing period and can be planted just like the peat pots.
Peggy...I get mistaken for a guy too because of the screen name.
I'll be starting in Jan. Last year I started some in Dec. and it was too much to deal with until after Christmas, so I'm waiting 'til later this year. Think I'll try throwing a few Meconopsis directly on the ground where they're to grow and see how they do. I tried WSing them last year. They sprouted but then fizzled out. I think I didn't get them transplanted quickly enough and they got too hot. Also going to do some larkspur like this.
I tried Meconopsis a couple of times, but I'm thinking we southerners may have to content ourselves with the gorgeous pics from northern gardens. Its one of the few plants that makes me envy colder regions, LOL.
Viola... you and I are almost in the same zone. Perennials you can do anytime - after the holidays. I do mine Mid-Jan to Mid-Feb... or when ever i have time.
tenders a bit later than that. March or so.
I've done hardy annuals in Feb... some got 'nipped' one year when we had warmer weather then a month later we had a hard frost in April. so you have to be careful ...i just covered them with a heavy blanket to protect the seedlings.
I am collecting soda bottles and asked the neighbor to save soda bottles and milk jugs. I have been baking batches of potting soil after my cookies - odd but energy efficient-and filling my containers. Got my paint pens and seeds at the ready! Time will tell come spring!
I sow hardy perennials and hardy annuals in winter. Many HAs like poppies, larkspur, and bachelor volunteers sprout in my flower beds and stay green all winter, unfazed by winter weather, even below zero temps. My beds are now covered in larkspur and nigella seedlings, an inch tall, though we had 15 degrees this week.
Snaps are another that are very cold tolerant for me. Most last several years for me, overwintering with no protection. If sowing in a jug, I do those in winter.
Reading back in this thread several posts mentioned bad soil in their beds and around their houses. If you have hard clay type soil, try mixing in some washed mason sand, You can get it at a building supply yard. A place that sells sand and gravel. make sure that it's washed, otherwise it has too much salt in it, that's bad for your plants. It's cheap, too. usually about 22.00/ton. I have use it for years in my vegetable gardens and flower beds. Mix in organic matter as it's available and soon you'll have beautiful soil.
I'm new to winter sowing. I am trying some seeds outside in various types of containers. I have read all the information I could get my hands on for wqinter sowing. However, I don't remember the issue of the drainage holes being addressed. How large should the drainage and vet hole be? Are slits sufficient or should I actually drill holes?
diamond... leave lids on. I'll see if i can find a image or two for you... other containers already have 1 big hole in the 'roof' ... that will be enough until it gets warmer and you can take the lids off. [sometimes temporarily]
I never use the screw on cap on 2 liters or milk jugs. I throw them away immediately when I get jugs, I don't even save them. Therefore additional slits it the roof aren't necessary. I just find it easier to do it when I initially prep jugs (if I remember), then it's easier to poke something, anything, in and gouge it to enlarge holes. If my seedlings are going to be on the edge of "too hot or too cool" I want it to be cool. In spring, as the sun warms, the sun here can quickly heat a jug like a furnace.
I also only use 1 or 2 strips of duct tape vertically to close milk jugs so there are big gaping gaps there for air flow too. I like to breathe, I figure the plants do, too.
Thanks, from the pictures it looks like there are holes in the top of the containers. If it works for you all then hopefully, it will work for me. You all make it sounds so easy that I'm seriously thinking that I cannot mess this up, but I know I will LoL.
Diamond... I have never put holes in the tops of containers, unless they were like Deli containers... like #2 potato salad... then i put holes. But milk, OJ, H&H... anything that has a "cap" ... you just toss the cap, like Karen mentioned, and that can be your hole.
here is another example.. here, you can see the big yogurt and sour cream type containers.. I'll do the same with the deli with lids... I cut holes in these tops ... problem is, the holes are not visible... I'll have to see if i can find a better image.
I got it now. Every container has drainage and ventilation holes, but a prexisting openings at the top will suffice. I have some food containers that fit right in with what you all have used. I appreciate the pictures and the prompt responses. I am so excited about learning something new in winter sowing! I have been starting seeds inside under grow lights for a few years. I have had some success but quite a bit of failure. I think I became so attached to the seeds that made that I was half afraid to put them outside. They felt like my own children! LoL
It sounds like you have much more successful plants when they are winter sown. At each phase of indoor sowing you had to expect to lose some plants. Hopefully, I will have some pictures soon of healthy seedlings. When do you usually see seedlings? Does the germination usually take place in the spring? Is that when I should keep a close eye and provide more ventilation or remove the lids, altogether?
my first year, 2007, we had a warm Feb/march -- warm enough for germination.. i had a ton of seedlings.. then came 20° days and below zero nights... lost a few seedlings on that one... but i did cover them with a big blanket at night, then uncovered during the day - when they got a bit of sun warmth... that lasted about 4 days.
the hardiest of the seeds will usually germinate first... you can I are in the same zone, only 1 state away, so our weather is similar.
I'd start peeking mid-March or so, by April you should have quite a few... when the sun is really warming things up, check the containers, you may have to open the lids [but dont cut them off just yet] so the babies don't cook. Usually by May I've cut the lids off.
and for watering... this usually isn't an issue until May-ish ... when the sold looks pretty parched... give them a drink.
I plant out hardy perennials and hardy annuals whenever
a. The soil is thawed
b. They have a set or two of true leaves and I can handle them
c. The weather is such that I won't freeze to death in the process. (Worrying about me, not the seedlings. I hate cold!)
Half hardy and tenders- around my last frost date.
You hate the cold and you live WHERE? Cincy? oHIo?
I went to visit my boyfriend's family in East Lansing, Michigan one year for Christmas. All the snow and the trees! Reminded me of a postcard.
The first morning I woke up, the weatherman greeted me with a hearty, cheerful, "Goooooooood Morning! The high for today will be MINUS eight degrees!"
My mom had a fur coat that had been hanging in the closet in New Orleans waiting for an occasion. So, she told me to wear it on my trip. I'll never forget getting off the plane in Michigan and how cold it was outside, and how WARM I was inside that fur coat!
Sorry, Karen. But, I'm a January baby -- and I LOVE the cold. Only thing I love more than the cold is swimming in the ocean -- I think that makes me a cold-blooded water baby!
You love the cold and you live where? Houston? As in Texas?
Have you ever lived in the north? Spent 2 hours driving a few miles on an icy interstate? Stuck in traffic at a standstill for hours? I'm not talking snow, I'm talking ICE.
Ever shoved a foot of the white stuff off of a driveway 2 cars wide? Then found it covered again by the time you finished? Opened the garage door at 6:30 a.m. to go to work and found a 3 foot drift of white stuff blocking you in? It gets old.
I grew up in Pittsburgh, and it was colder and snowier than here. Compared to the 'burgh, this is the balmy south. We don't usually get all that much snow, though there are exceptions. It sure does get cold.
Amen from the Indiana corner. I'll take cold (only if you make me) over snow and ice any day. Not to mention the ice storms! Last year we got hit with the ice storm the week before Christmas. Thousands of families had no power, no heat and no lights. The hotels were full and would not even take reservations check-out time. The city completely ran out of generators and salt! I prefer the 70 - 80 degree weather Hawaii has year around. LoL
Terese: I'm pretty far south of you though, that makes a big difference on when you plant out.
Diamond: Those natives do well, to be sure. But lots of other things do well too. Anything that reseeds in your area should do well, too. You never know until you try. Or maybe I should say until you try several times.
Your flowers are beautiful! Are those the Irish Eyes Rudbeckia? Are the orange flowers butterfly weed or Lanata? If those are Butterweed we have made my day! I was unsure of the growth habit of Butterfly weed. It looks like they are mounding???
diamond> "tuberosa" is just that sort of butterfly weed, there are others. If you google "butterfly weed" and/or "milkweed" you'll find other kinds, too. Milkweeds come in varying heights, colors, and hardiness. Some are annuals.
I make my first stab in a 2 liter with a utility knife. Then I finish with a pair of scissors. Always remember drain holes in bottom.
Gymgirl, I lived off FM 1960 by the airport for 23 years and then moved BACK to Minnesota. The cold is amazing. We're currently residing in Missouri trying to get back to MN. I do like the longer growing period here, and it's almost time to WS. Woohooo!
Hey Karen, have you used the one gallon milk juggs for WS? If so did you cut them in the same way you did the 2 liter bottles? I just put out some milk jugs. Do you draw a straight line around the bottle? What's the purpose? I have one heck of a time trying to get my bottle sealed to put the tape on once it was cut. LoL The 2 liter was much easier but the gallon jugs has more room so more potential flower and greater chance of success. LoL
Diamond, I cut my milk jugs freehand, so they were not straight at all! I didn't tape them tightly shut, just a piece of duct tape as a hinge. I used just about every plastic item I could find that would hold a couple of inches of potting mix.
Diamond... here is the way i do my milk jugs... and i too just cut free hand... i poke it with a small knife on either side of the lower 'handle' slice all teh way around... it cuts very easily, then i stop just on the other side of the handle, leaving that as my "hinge".
I twisty tie mine closed, but a piece of duct tape works too.
Is it normal to become obsessed with winter sowing? LOL - I have 200 jugs ready to go - 144 ready for 16 friends who are coming over for a few Bring-Your-Own-Soil parties! My kitchen is full for my own use in two gardens. "Hi, my name is Cynthia and I'm addicted to milk jugs."
Our Starbucks will give you both coffee grounds and milk jugs - they are amazing. What do I do with the coffee grounds? Can I just sprinkle them on the gardens or do they need tilling and sit over winter?
The real Santa and Mrs. Claus
(sadly, the costumes fit, booo)
I like winter, but not the ice. Around here, we sometimes get "wintery mix" of rain/sleet/snow when the temperatures hover around freezing. They are predicting ice on Christmas day. Snow is fun, ice is treacherous. Started a couple of containers, plan to do more.
Glad to read that you just cover your containers with blankets during surprise Spring freezes. I am a new gardener, first time winter sowing. I was so sick of carrying trays of seedlings in and out this Spring (a record wet, cold spring).
I hate hot, humid weather. I used to travel for work to Puerto Rico and Miami. Walking out of the airport felt like entering a sauna. Yuck. Don't get me started on bugs, snakes and lizards. The best part of winter is that it keeps insects in check and reptiles in hibernation!
LoL @ Hemo No I meant the "dunk" method. This is supposed to help with transplant shock. I got this from a gardening class but I have never tried it and just wondered how and if it worked for anyone else. When planting or transplanting flowers, soak in a sloution of water and fertilizer while preparing the new planting site.
I have a compost "tumbler" and it has a base on it, where it rolls, the base collects the tea that drips off the compost as it cooks... I think it holds about 2 gallons... but i collect it maybe twice per year. I always have a milk jug in the garage with tea in it for watering.
Sorry I missed your question Diamond, I haven't had time to be on the forum for several days. I use mostly gallon milk jugs and a few 2 liters. I cut my gallon ones around the equator and leave a hinge, as in the picture tcs posted. I tape shut with one or two short vertical strips of duct tape.
I kinda think disturbing the roots ends up being a benefit- seems the seedlings develop deeper root systems into the native soil. After noticing that, I've become practically OCD about removing most of the nursery soil from any purchased plant before it goes in the ground. I use the hose sprayer to wash it off as I fill the hole its going in.
Mine sometimes pout for a few days after transplant but then they acclimate. I think weather plays a part in how they react to transplant, too. In cool or cold weather they settle in fast. Warmer weather is more of a challenge.
Good point Karen, I wasn't thinking about those poor babies that get planted late (that I always have plenty of!). Typically after a couple of days of wilting those take off too. I try to get seedlings planted when rainy weather is in the forecast, some cloudy, drizzly days are great right after transplanting. Of course, that's luck of the draw, LOL.
I'm sorting seeds now for my January sowing. I was wondering if Morning Glories would wintersow well? I have so many different kinds from trades, I would like to see some of them blooming this year now that I have some time.
TC, I'm in love with the Rudbeckia in one of your pictures. You have 3 varieties in one picture. It's the Rudbeckia with the orange/brown and yellow petals. I probably have it already but I has to tell you how pretty I think it is. I hope its one of the varieties I have WS.
LoL I love it! Now, I feel the need to have a garden that has a pattern or theme. I love the cottage type garden that are a controlled chaos. I want a little bit of everything in my garden but I may need a field to have it that way. LoL
Merry Christmas everyone! Just popping in for a few minutes of peace and quiet to myself before the chaos starts.
I, too, had never heard of the "dunk" method. I will try it this spring.
Last year, I was so behind in planting out my babies, that I ended up just breaking them into hunks and plopping them into the ground. The fascinating thing was, the poor little straggly seedlings of salvia, 4 o'clocks and agastache that were the left over runts, grew into beautiful flowering plants. I planted them only because I felt guilty just tossing them out and not giving them a chance. Boy was I surprised. Love the WS'ing!
Janet, I am happy for you and your son. What an amazing gift!
Angie, I'm seriously going to have to find places to plant my winter sown flowers. LoL Hopefully, I will have lots of pictures this spring to share of healthy, beautiful flowers. I know most won't bloom the first year but I plan to throw in some annuals for a little color. If I am in zone 5, when do I WS the annuals? I'm sure I read it but sometimes I can only recall what I need to remember right now. LoL
Checked my WS containers yesterday and spring has sprung in the winter! Poppies and dianthus sprouting in this weather. Maybe hi-30's yesterday w/ 20's at night.
Picture of poppy Black Peony...I also have poppies Thai Silk Rose and Jelly Beans coming up as well as dianthus Sooty and Idea Violet.I don't really start potting up or planting out until March. THREE MONTHS from now...I can't wait. Poppies ,pansies and violas will go out in Feb. though so maybe I can hold for that long...LOL
diamond: Start annuals in spring. I start them around late March, early April in zone 6. I've started some as late as early May. So for 5a I would think around mid April. Most of them germinate fast at first sign of warmth. Just be prepared to give them a little protection in case of frost.
Or you can simply use the plant guides here on DG for your annuals. If they require stratification or scarification, you'll need to know these things. Most of them can be wintersown, though, unless they're very tender tropicals or houseplants. I WS'd Clarkia Confetti last year, along with Nigella, Salvia viridis Palisades, which is supposed to be an annual, but I'm hoping it's perennial here. We'll see come spring!
The sticky at the top of the wintersowing forum has excellent information for first-time winter sowers, so be sure to read all of those. You're going to be amazed at your results! Trust us.
Peggy, Contratulations! I planted my poppies (oriental) a little late...on Dec. 21 :} I think you planted yours around the 10th. Will be watching over the next couple of weeks for sprouts. Same weather here 20-30ish nights and 40ish days.
This will be my second year of winter sowing. Last year I had success with about 25% of the seeds I put in. Does that sound about right, in general?
Got a couple of questions. I tossed last year's jugs into the yard shed with the lawnmower etc. Never washed them of residual dirt or algae, but they've sure been cooked during the hot days of summer. Can I just re-use them, or do I have to wash & sterilize them? I just figure nature doesn't sterilize anything, but then again I'm pretty darn new to gardening!
Also, my DH has what seems like a peculiar idea. He wants to try sowing in jugs with the lids on and NO holes at all. His theory is that the moisture you put in when you first sow the seeds will just stay there all winter, and he won't have to worry about watering during stretches like we just had, 3 weeks of bone-dry air, no precip whatsoever and frigid temps. Has anyone ever tried it this way? Personally I don't remember watering much last year, thinking that frozen soil doesn't need to be watered, until toward March-April when stuff started to thaw out. But he's got the scientific mind, not me, so I thought I'd run this by the group.
My germination runs a lot higher than 25%, I'd say more like 80 to 90%. but I don't count seeds sown.
Are you talking about no holes in the top or the bottom or both? Never did that either, but I've never seen a plant than can grow without any drainage or any air. Also, seeds might rot with all that moisture, especially larger ones. I like sharp drainage and lots of air. Big containers like gallon jugs don't need much watering even in spring but mine get only morning sun.
I never sterilize WSing containers, but I don't like that algae stuff. If they had algae, I'd sanitize well with bleach, or get new jugs.
I agree with Karen about the necessity for drainage and air/moisture holes in WS containers. I've never watered in the colder months, especially when the soil mix is frozen. And later in the spring the air vents let spring rain in (or a gentle sprinkle from your watering can or hose.) You can generally tell if moisture is needed by the color and texture of the soil: dry soil is lighter in color than adequately moist soil, and sometimes pulls away from the sides of the jug or bottle.
I'd also worry that the seedlings might cook in the spring sun without ventilation holes. It can get pretty warm in there and the holes in the top let cooler air inside.
I used to bleach my milk jugs and plastic bottles before using them, but haven't for two years and can see no difference in germination. Mostly I discard the used ones after one season because I have to cut them up to get out my seedlings at planting time!
are you referring to the amount of seeds per container... say 1oo seeds, 25 seedlings?
or 100 containers and about 25 containers with germination?
last year i had a lot of 'duds'. containers with zero germination... I think some of it had to do with seeds rotting, not enough holes in the bottom... some -- i have no idea why.
Some containers I had about 50 or 100 seeds... [ i will count the seeds if i can. small/dust like seeds, obviously I can't]
but may have gotten 1-5 seedlings. I usually track this in my spreadsheet.
as for the milk jugs, I only rinse mine out. Have never used bleach. and mine always get tossed at the end of the season because they are usually cut to get the seeds out, but the lids are always cut off -- so they would be unusable.
But i would think any with algae to clean out, if it is only dirt... you are just putting dirt back in it again - so why bother with cleaning it?
*sigh* I was pretty disappointed with last year's results, but I did pretty much what everyone else does after reading reading reading as much as I could here. So I don't know what to do differently except pray harder. :-)
I've shared your comments with DH but boy is he is stubborn about his ideas. I don't think I quite follow what he's really thinking so I'll just let him have at it and let y'all know what happens.
I'm giving a general result. I had 3 containers of foxglove seeds that turned into chia pets, and quite a few others of rudbeckia, echinacea and other hardy perennials with just a couple of seedlings out of 15-20 seeds. I'm too lazy to count much!
Since this is a science I suppose I have to content myself with doing pretty much what I did last year, just one more time, so I have results to compare. The early spring weather really sucked -- FREEZING for the time of year -- last year, so I assume/HOPE that's one variable that will change.
I didnt like my results WS for the first time this year. Like you I am going to try again. I dont think I put enough drainage holes in the jugs- one of several things I believe I did wrong. We also have had the wettest year on record.
What your husband wants to do works with cuttings such as Hydrangeas or Gardenias. I have used 2 liter coke bottles to start those cuttings. The bottles are never placed in the direct sun. If we are having a normal summer, the cuttings may "cook"-even out of direct sun-in July or August
Hi CrabgrassCentral (love your moniker):
Ya know, I think you're right to let your DH do his "closed container" thing--and you do the usual vent and drainage hole procedure--and compare! If you do some of the same seeds, you will have an experiment going! Keep us posted on the results of both.
Okay, you guys really have my attention. I have 16 women coming for bring-your-own-soil parties and have 9 jugs each ready for each of them. I have a lot of drain holes in the bottom and holes in the top for ventilation. I was thinking 30-40 seeds/jug (coneflowers, rudbeckia, easy flowers). Is that a good number or more?
I've read all I can on WS. Now I'm freaked after reading this that they may not germinate, though mostly I've read that you can't fail. Does anyone else find some of these threads contradictory to each other? I guess it's maybe a trial/error system to find what works in your area? I'm north of Kansas City an hour - hoping for good results with my ladies. If not, how embarrassing! (Worst case scenario, we'll have fun planting seeds.) Cynthia
I am amazed that Big Red has germination already but is it because of the climate? I was under the impression I would even have to check containers until early March? We still have snow here in northern Indiana. Once you see sprouts is that when you remove the lids or just crack open for more air?
Cynthia, I'm no expert on WS this will be my first time but I have been playing with seeds for a long time. There is no guarantees for 100 percent germination of all of your seeds. You can mimic the perfect conditons and environment but seeds still may not germinate due to something being wrong with the seeds. I'm always surprised by what grows easily from seed and what doesn't. I have started a lot of plants from seeds and you can have them in the same enviroment but only get a protion of them to germinate. It sounds like you have something planned that is going to be a lot of fun! I would enjoy the event. Even if some have success where others fail, you can trade with one another which may be a reason for another party. LoL
no... i leave them be until it's warm out... really warm, like they would cook with the lids on.
once it's spring... and the temps are up... possibly 50's or so with full sun, and the containers are in the sun... i may take the lids off... but again, much of this is weather depending.
drapelady... those were Purple Coneflowers. and i have tons of photos of them on my main PC. [on the laptop now]
I do not believe i have any notes on them... they are second year bloomers, though i did get 1 single bloom in 2007
with this being their 3rd year... i have LOTS of them. I'll post an image when i get upstairs.
I like'em and the butterflies love them.
My notes pretty much ends with..."planted out" or did well.
the Ruds are a are first year bloomers... they always do well too.
Sorry to be off topic but I have tried 2 or 3 times to sow larkspur directly but if they come up I don't know what they are and I know they should be sown in the fall so they will come up and bloom in the spring. My question is can I go out and scratch the top ;of the earth and sow them now and if I do will they bloom this spring. I guess if mine have come up I thought they were weeds and pulled them. I am anxious to get a stand of them started..