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I'm participating in the Summerhill co-op, and was trying to pick seeds good for winter sowing. I don't know about some of them...
Is there some way to use the WS database that's easier than what I'm doing? I seem to have to wade through all 27 pages only to discover (sometimes) that what I'm looking for isn't there. I figure I'm not using it right. Any suggestions?
This is what I've tried that I KNOW works in my area or zone:
Nigella (I ordered two kinds from the co-op)
Hibiscus (I only tried hardy types)
I had no luck with sweet peas, but I ordered some Lathyrus anyway. Only 8 seeds to a pack, so I ordered three. Gulp! With $10 worth of sweet pea seeds prior to discount, something should work! I ordered Thunbergia with the plan to direct sow in the spring. Is that best? Thunbergia vines are $20 each around here. I refuse to pay that much for an annual vine. Two years ago I had pansies blooming in the milk jugs before I figured out they'd sprouted.
Just babbling now. If you'd share your experience here, I'd sure appreciate it.
I am just posting so I will be watching. I haven't tried winter sowing but once. It was two years ago and I had milk jugs all over. Everything grew, BUT, it was so thick in there that I never did get them all out. I didn't do it again. How's that for encouragement. LOL
I start mine inside in March, april and May. I can start them outside but in starter cups in mid April and May too. With a hundred and some odd to start, I don't know how I am going to do it.
I tried with several different kinds of Sweet peas. Out of 4 flats I ended up with maybe a dozen plants. As you said, very expensive. I didn't try it again. I do believe it makes a difference as to how much snow you get, and how cold it gets.
I have had a problem with dampening off in the past but last year I started using coconut coir and it made a tremendous difference. I have not winter sown before but I might try this year during what winter we have here.
My family is in WV and they have had snow and freezing temps. Tonight is our first freeze warning.
I have never tried wintersowing before, but will try this winter. I am reading to see what kinds of seeds are successful.
I have always planted peas/sweet peas mid March, around my grandmother's birthday. It always worked, until last year when we had unseasonably warm weather in February, then freezes in April. I may wait until April 1 this year, depending on the weather.
I was so tired of carrying trays of seeds in and out this spring that I vowed to try a better way!
I'm going to try wintersowing for my first time- I've been saving milk jugs and deli containers. I just don't have hardly any space at all indoors for starting seeds, so I really hope this will work for me.
I've had extremely good results from wintersowing, much better than seed starting inside. I started in 2006 so this will be my fifth year. With wintersowing I have never sterilized the jugs or the planting medium but have never seen dampoff. Honestly, I don't even wash the jugs before using; I just rinse with water.
Dense seedlings don't have to be hard to remove from a jug. It works best to water the jug ahead of time so the soil is fairly moist; it will hold together better. Dump the jug into an old flat. It's OK to dump them on their heads for a minute, they won't notice. Then flip the whole blob right side up in the flat. Take a knife and cut them into hunks whatever size you want, and plant into the garden. Sometimes my hunks are as small as an inch square, sometimes I cut into 6 or 8 hunks. I've even been known to plant the whole blob into one planting hole. When working with very small hunks I plant them into the garden with a spoon.
This stuff is all explained on Trudi's site. She has spent 10 years perfecting these methods and posted them on the web for you so take advantage of it and review her site. A little time spent studying her information will increase your liklihood of a fun and successful WSing year. It will make things a lot easier.
Trudi's HOS: http://www.wintersown.org/wseo1/Hunk-o-Seedlings.html
I plan on WS.I did a few last year but didn't really know what I was doing,but did have some success.With all your great advice I should have lots of success this year.
For my zone,when would be the best time to start?
I live in Cincinnati and usually start in January after the holiday mess is over. Or, since I'm not doing so many, maybe it will be February this year. In the meantime I have some coleus, hypoestes and geranium cuttings I'm overwintering under lights to play with. I'll probably play with a few seeds started indoors, too, if I have space under my lights.
Some of my favorite candidates for WSing are rudbeckia, echinacea, penstemon, agastache, columbine, butterfly weed, digitalis, snapdragons, nasturtiums, nigella, petunia, salvia, marigolds, zinnias, forget me nots --- oh heck, I love 'em all.
The main things I'm trying to ws this year is for a shade garden th at I am starting basically from scratch and I want a large amt of plants in a short time so I thought this would be the fastest and least expensive ay to go.
I've done some geranium cuttings.I had a beautiful coleus that I should have taken cuttings of.But every time I try coleus it doesnt work.Any suggestions?
I'm also trying WS for the first time this year. I have way too many seeds to start indoors, so hope this will work for me. Lots of good information in this forum, but I'm sure I'll have more questions.
Can't wait to hear about everyone's experience with this.
I tried it last year for the first time. Had fairly good success. There were a handful that never came up, so I will be saving back some of each to try inside if the WS doesn't work with a particular kind of seed. My best successes were with Cleome, Columbine, Liatris, Echinacea (though they came up slow), Cilantro, Campanula, Calendula, Foxglove,
violap: when you say every time you try coleus it didn't work, are you talking about wintersown, indoors under lights, or cuttings? I'm pretty new to coleus but find them easy. I only tried WSing coleus once, sown in spring. They stayed way too small until about late July or August when the heat and humidity started cranking. I did start a few indoors last year and they did well. I really prefer to play with cuttings.
I find coleus to be about the easiest plants to grow. Indoors, cuttings under lights do so well with benign neglect- just keep them dry with good light and they take care of themselves pretty well. Just keep them pinched.
I will have to stop myself from doing way too many jugs--I already forsee that being a problem. I have terrible luck starting anything indoors and really don't have the patience to devote to them.
I'm in a townhome and have a small front bed and a bunch of containers out front as well, a back patio full of containers and I've started digging up alongside the building as I am in a corner/end unit:lol:
Planning to try:
Rudbeckia Tiger Eye
Hollyhock Queeny Purple
Hollyhock Black Currant Whirl
Snapdragon Frosted Sunset and Animation Cognac (Johnny's)
Zinnia Zahara Rose Starlight
Penstenmon Electric Blue and Violet Dusk
Dianthus Raspberry Ripple and Poem
Various Salvias coccineas (peach, pink, red and white)
Salpiglossis Scarlet and Chocolate
Pansies and violas
Uh, yeah, that is way too much for me:lol: I may end up doing the 2 liter containers rather than the gallon milk jugs.
Butting in... right smack in the middle of a conversation
Brand new to wintersowing so I'm watching this thread too. The only thing I've sowed so far out of my purchase is 3 of the 35 Chocolate Streamer Sweet Pea seeds. Talk about baby steps, lol. I figure I would stagger the sowing and maybe I'll get some
This is what I ordered from the co-op that I have successfully winter sowed before (or at least the same genus):
Alcea Hollyhock 'Peaches ‘N’ Dreams'
Aquilegia Lime Frost, variegated
Leucanthemum 'Crazy Daisy'
Nigella Love in a Mist Dark Blue
Nigella 'Red Jewel'
Viola, Fuji Dawn variegated foliage
Zinnia Cherry and Ivory Swizzle
Zinnia elegans Envy
These are ones I ordered that I think I'm going to try winter sowing unless someone tells me I'm stupid for trying :-)
Penstemon Electric Blue
Amaranthus 'Early Splendor'
Centaurea Chocolate (C. moschata ssp.suaveolens)
This is what I ordered that I will not winter sow unless someone tells me they have had success:
Thunbergia Susie clear-eyed yellow
Thunbergia Whopper Orange
Basella Rubra, Climbing Spinach
Mina Lobata Exotic Love
These I have no idea what I'm doing: :-) Angele, how did you sow your sweet pea seeds?
out of these two... .
Penstemon Electric Blue
Centaurea Chocolate (C. moschata ssp.suaveolens)
the Electric Blue... i had 21 seeds and i have 1 seedling. the plant is now in my DR window and i'll baby it thru the winter. I'ts about 5-7" tall. I just want to see it bloom. It's hardy to zone6, where i am 5a. I was thinking i could try it against my south facing foundation and it MAY come back, but since it has not even bloomed yet, I dug it up.
the Centaurea... I know I did these, got them in the Co-Op last year ... i'd have to check my notes, to find what happened, but i do not have them in the garden. I think i may have shared with someone, i should try to track them down and see if they had luck.
Amaranthus sow easily... i've done them the past 2 yrs.
you are right, I searched 'what is winter sowing' and wintersown.org clearly says it involves the use of "mini-greenhouses"
I thought it was simply sowing in winter.. we have winter temps even though the calendar says Fall
McGlory--I've never done it before even though I've been reading and lurking in this forum for a couple years:)
I put my sweet peas directly in the giant container I would like them to grown in a few days ago. I've tried them inside and we seem to rush right from winter/ frost warnings to a steamy spring and my seedlings never get a chance at mild spring temps. I'm hoping the little guys will know when it's right for them to do their thing and I get some sweet peas this season. Gave all my sweet peas collection away a few years ago so I gathered again this year so I could give in situ a try.
I've looked up some of the lists of seeds that are suitable for WS so I think most qualify. I'm more of an annual girl who likes a few perennials due to my space constraints. Can't deal with big stuff either for the same reasons. I've got my TB iris, daffs, daylilies and hosta addiction I've got to juggle with my seed luv:lol: I'm babying a couple of brugs inside and am thinking of bringing in the two tropical hibiscus on the patio:lol:
I will be reading this thread with interest to see what everyone does. I bought mostly annual seeds, but I guess you can WS annuals, too??? Probably start them in Feb. is my guess.
I do have a cool greenhouse but most of the space is taken up with tomatoes and peppers, squash and basil, etc. I have always started my own veggies, but haven't started annuals and perennials very often.
How do the jugs fair in wind? We have windy days here quite often. I have an outdoor slated bench. Maybe I could tie them to the bench somehow. Hmmm
I wintersowed a lot of Summerhills seeds last year and they did well. all the columbine especially did well. I plan to to the same this year. The annuals I started in early spring and perennials I did from Nov to January.
My Summer hill seeds were hit or miss... more on the "miss" end. the coleus did well.
I'm still hoping I can get the Black Current Whirl HH to germinate... i really wanted to see what those looked like.
About half of what i bought, i used all the seeds... I think 4 varieties i still have some left.
not the thicker ones... actually, most of them held up pretty good. I just threw one of them away today, as the bottom was shot... but most I will reuse this winter. They were the heavy duty type you get from the grocery store/produce.
but -- all the ones i've used have made it thru one season.
I had trouble with cardboard getting mushy. But, this summer I bought a giant black tub in the concrete and mortar section of Lowes, to mix mortar in. It's will probably hold 6-12 WS containers, and the sides are high enough that I can fill it to bottom water. Tougher than the flats I used last year. They were under 5 dollars, so I got a couple, just to have some to haul things around in. Can't wait to give them a try. Moving containers around, and bottom watering them one at a time in a foam cooler I had was a bit of a pain last year :)
I found this wonderful info. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/p.php?pid=7184334 From what she says, she just plants her seeds where she wants them to grow and covers them with a jug. Anyway, it makes for great reading and it sounds easy enough for this newbee. Of course, I have 2 acres and I can always paint the outside of jugs with translucent paint to try to hide the ugly. LOL
here was my Rubbermaid tub with holes drilled... i filled it with nursery pots. Most did pretty well. I should have put more holes in the lid though... some areas were quite dry and I had to water a lot in the spring.
I only did one container last winter. It was cosmos. They grew like crazy and got _huge_ in the yard after transplant.
I also did a bunch of direct sow and planting of perennial seedlings with just the top of the jug over them (pressed into the ground an inch or so). For this I did coreopsis from seed and a couple of different agastaches & sedum from small seedling plants I bought at an end of season sale, along with some small divisions of linum/blue flax. They all did fantastic. I did have to water a bit when it got warmer in early spring. We're pretty dry here.
Well, being new to seeds this year, I took an extra long time to look up all the ones that I ordered to make sure they were either sown in spring after last frost or sow outdoors in fall. Because Summerhill's does not give that info to order by. I really didn't want to start any indoors. I based my selections on info in Plant files, Renee's Garden Seeds, Parks Seeds and Thomas Seeds. I confirmed each finding to at least one or two others, to make sure. But much to my dismay, none of the instructions on Summerhill's seed packs match those that I found in my research before hand. Almost everyone of the 31 packs I purchased have these instructions : Sow in moist potting mix keep at 68-72 degrees and bright light. Transplant to 3" pots when ... etc
Now I'm really confused. What to do?
This is my list
Can anyone tell me there experience with these different ones on wintersowing.
Alcea Hollyhock Summer Carnival
Arctotis Grandis, white
Asarina scandens 'Sky Blue'
Clitoria, Blue ternatea
Cosmos Cutesy Mix
Cosmos 'Double Click'
Crape Myrtle Little Chief MIx
Dahlia Figaro Red NEW FOR 2009
Dianthus Valentine NEW FOR 2009
Echinacea 'Double Decker'
Flying Saucers Morning Glory
Geranium Pinto Quicksilver
Geranium Ringo Rose Star
Geranium Tornado Fuchsia
Hibiscus mutabilis 'Confederate
Hibiscus 'Southern Belle' mix
Impatiens Carousel Red double blooms
Lupin Morello Cherry
Penta Starla Deep Rose
Petunia Avalanche White
Petunia Double Cascade Mix
Platycodon Hakone double blue
Platycodon 'Hakone White' double
Plumbago Escapade Blue
Plumbago Escapade White
Ptilotus Joey NEW FOR 2009
Verbena Romance Scarlet Eye
Verbena Tuscany White
Vinca Mediterranean Mix (SHS-0
Zinnia Cherry and Ivory Swizzle
Zinnia Wedding Bells White
Zinnia Zahara Rose Starlight
Thanks for any info. Maybe it will help someone else as well.
I have not purchased a lot of seeds in the past 3-4 yrs, but it does seem their directions are for indoor or direct sowing.
I do think most of what you have can be winter sown, though the more tender annuals just do a bit later.
OH -- i see our location... geeze -- you could probably do your annuals in Feb, when i'm doing my perennials.
I'll check back in a bit... if no one else has not gone thru your list... i'll pick thru what i have tried already.
Really not necessary. Just do the basics- moist potting mix in jug, adequate drainage, sprinkle seeds, toss it outside. That's it.
perennials and hardy annuals-winter
tender annuals- close to your spring
That's it. The beauty of wintersowing is it's simplicity. Don't make it harder than it has to be. Seed pack instructions are for indoors under lights. You are not sowing inside, this is a whole new animal. A simple process.
Now this is what's so interesting, funny really. I had no problems at all with hollyhocks. But I can't get platycodon to sprout to save my life. I've WSown it 4 times and never a sprout. Just about every wintersower I know has grown balloon flower with no problem. But it seems I'll never have one.
Petunias are no brainers for me and I was overrun with volunteers last year.
Rule of thumb: A petunia is a petunia is a petunia. If one type wintersows, all will. Same with any type of flower, be it echs, foxglove, hollyhock, cosmos, whatever.
I know some stuff that people have WS, I've just planted in the containers I plan for them to be in once frost is over and let em do their thing so I'm not sure I'd wintersow those--nasturtiums, lobelia, cosmos and thunbergia. I think since I have a "longer" summer season those must work OK sown in situ. Might try a bit of those both ways and compare results...
Most years those things do OK even direct sown here in my zone. But we get really warm weather some years, whereas last spring and early summer were ususually cool. My direct sown nasties didn't do well at all, barely grew, but most years it works great.
Hmm, I'm waiting til it's warm for the nasturtium and put them straight in the ground. They were the first thing that died when we had our first cold snap, and I don't think they'd sprout til it's warm anyway. If I thought they'd be ok starting inside I might since they take forever to get going here, but I've had no luck with that, even with cowpots.
Dahlias and Zinnias I started inside did well, I'm going to try Zinnias WS this year. I think it may take too long for the dahlias to sprout outside to get flowers in time, so I'm doing them inside again.
My lobelia (trailing type), petunias, and cosmos lived on long after it got cold, in fact the lobelia only just got icky when we got snow, so those i'll WS this time. They should make it thru a late frost.
Anything that is a hardy perennial here is going outside this winter. Some of them are going to need cold to get going anyway and if i put them in the 'frige I'll just forget them.
Keep in mind I don't start many of any one type b/c I'm in a townhouse (and the end unit wasn't ready when we needed to move or I'd be starting way more). If i needed gobs of anything I would almost have to start it outside.
Karen -- isn't that just ironic... another thing i can't grow to save my like is Joe Pye ... 3 yrs running and ZIP. Little Joe, Chocolate Joe, none of them... but i wont give up. OH .. and "Snaps" -- they grow like weeds, but not here.
grrrlgeek-sounds like we're in almost the same housing/garden situation except I do have and end townhome. I have also started digging up alongside the end of the building. Landlord doesn't mind as long as I maintain it.
dmac, I saw you post that somewhere, that's what made me remember why I wanted an end unit. We own ours, so as long as it looks ok to the home owners association, and I can keep the "landscapers" off it, I can grow it. I did veggies in tubs on the narrow balcony in front this year. Gotta get creative!
at our old house, where homes are stacked on property lines... our neighbor had Snaps on the north side of his house... with in 2 yrs, the whole area was full and they started growing in my south bed... they grew like crazy for years. when we were moving, DH grabbed a lot of seed heads and sprinkled them all in my back flower beds... not ONE grew. and since then, i've attempted to WS them twice, still nothing...
hmm, know what you mean grrlgeek. Thought I had it bad last year with two cats, but this new kitten, he eats EVERYTHING! Haven't found something he won't take a bite of. Unbelievable. He'll even clean a plate with curry sauce all over it! My bougainvillea's that are supposed to be overwintering inside are NOT happy. Their thorns don't even stop him.
OMG, was he bleeding? I think even my one ignatz cat wouldn't do that. He prefers long skinny leaves--lemon grass, ponytail palm, etc.
To get back on topic (i'm such a trouble maker), I think I'll try to WS the Piggyback plant. Somewhere I read that it may need cold to germinate. It's not supposed to be hardy here, but I might try to overwinter some in a sheltered spot, as well as bring some inside for houseplants. For those of us that are going to try Ptilotus Joey, J.L.Hudson lists it as a genera that may benefit from smoke treatment, he describes what to do at http://www.jlhudsonseeds.net/Germination.htm , scroll down to "Smoke Treatment". Looks pretty easy to do.
I'll probably start slicing and dicing my 2L and other random containers (from cider, Ocean Spray juices...whatever!) tomorrow and maybe do some seed choosing tonight.
The Coke vendor where I work was kind enough to give me a few of the trays that are molded to hold the 2L bottles secure (each tray holds 8 2L bottles) so at least they won't be in danger of blowing over AND I'll be able to pick them up and move them in the trays.
My husband and son always buy 8 bottles at the time, in a the black plastic tray that holds them. We drink alot of soda, so I have about 15 of the black trays with the empties now. I am going to get some Krylon paint for plastic and spray the holders white to match my little pickets fences. I'm also painting a 1" line around the split I'm slicing in the bottles, the color that the flowers will be. (Great way to use up older acrylic paints) and it just takes a sec. A one inch brush, dip, twirl bottle, done. That way I can place them where I want that color flower after it gets closer to spring and they have sprouted. I'm doing the same thing for my spring bulbs, only I'm cutting the bottle top totally off, about 3" from the top and putting a 1/2 " chicken wire over the top so the squirrels don't eat for free. I'm just going to let my bulbs grow and bloom in those containers and then when they start dying back, I can just move them to the shed for next year.
The only thing I am still not sure of, is how many of each seed to put in the bottles. LOL The bulbs, depending on what type and size , I am only putting two or three per bottle. But I am clueless on the seeds.
Wow, Drapelady, I never thought of planting bulbs in containers like this - I have some allium that didn't make it into the ground so think I'll try your thought.
Great idea on painting a color on the jug - never thought of that but wow, would that make planning the garden easy! GREAT GREAT IDEA. Off to Hobby Lobby tomorrow for different colored paint pens. This made my day.
What a great idea Drapelady! I think I will try painting a little strip of color on some of the jugs. I also need to add something that will give me a clue of their size. I oopsied and have some tall plants where I really wanted something shorter.
Lynn. I thought using the 1" acrylic paint line around the split line would give me a place to write the name and height of the plant with a paint marker in a different color. (hollyhock-36"-sun)
hansey, remember with the bulbs, I am cutting off and leaving open the top 3" or 4" of the jug. In other words, I'm just using them like pots. But I am still going to add the paint line at the top edge.
with the W/S seeds I am splitting the bottle and leaving a portion uncut for the hinge.
Well, I have all of my supplies, paints, bottles, paint pens, seeds. And Christmas is behind me. Now, Molly, tomorrow I start separating the seeds and sending yours on to you. When are you going to start W/Sing yours? Or have you already started?
I am also trying clematis, hollyhocks and foxgloves. Have rudbeckia, echinacia and rose of sharon in the wings. I am unsure if I am doing annuals outside or inside, depends on space and schedule. I will start tomatoes inside, I need as much of a head start as I can get ! It is so helpful to see what plants are successful in my zone.
A bird was peeking in the top of one of the bottles today. I didn't see any bugs, bird must have been curious or thirsty.
I need to get my butt in gear and get my containers rinsed out and ready. Mostly 2 liter bottles since I have a dedicated Coke drinker in the house. What are you guys using? How are you cutting them up?
I've never found that. Petunias have done very well for me. They sprout at pretty low temps, tolerate frost after sprouting early, and start blooming early. I'd rather WS them. I start a very few seeds inside, but not petunias.
I found a picture. These petunias were WSown last year. Picture is dated June 15, looks like it had probably been blooming for a week or two and weather was cold last spring. I don't have an earlier picture.
diamond, I have never tried winter sowing. And, I would never try petunias. The seeds are too expensive to take chances with them. I plant mine inside. I have been planting mine too early. Our last frost date is supposedly the end of May, but you never know.
This year I will start mine about mid March. I have almost 100% germination, however I did have problems with Parks Italian seeds a couple of years ago so I emailed them and they replaced the seed.
Sometimes I use heat mats and other times I don't. I think they do germinate faster with it. But you don't need that if you start them early enough. The trick is to not let them dry out.
There are 2 ways to start them. Individually, one seed in each small pot, if I do this I use 6 packs, or sprinkle them all in 6" pot, cottage cheese container, or something like that. (a foil square cake pan in a gallon ziplock bag works real well too) But you have to pot them then when they get 2 leaves.
One more secret to petunias, is potting up. I do this 3 times before they go outside. And, the last secret to them, is pinching out the middle leaves. I do this several times before planting out, using tweezers. Each time they put out new shoots I pinch the center leaves.
This makes for real full plants.
This is what I do, and others probably do it different. Whatever works
Ok I want to WS lobelia, petunias, zinnias, coleus and marigolds this year. I have some snowball marigolds that I think are going to be really cute! WS the tender annuals for zone 5a should happen at the same time if you were starting them inside 6 - 8 weeks before the last frost date? And if we get a 32 degree night then we cover them...correct?
diamond: my last frost is usually in early May but I don't sow most of my tender ones until around the beginning of April. They tend to sprout fast . I do cover them for frost after they sprout. Petunias are an exception, they can take a little frost, they're not all that tender. I'll do those in winter sometimes.
The pics I posted above are Laura Bush petunias. If you like reseeders, these are for you.
Where are you growing them? If in your house, what is the temp?
Oh, by the way Karen, I realize this is the winter sowing thread, just happened by earlier and saw someone asking about growing petunias.
I really was interested in it like I said, a couple years ago my sister and a friend and I all tried it. We all wanted to do it. I don't remember how theirs turned out, but they aren't doing any now either.
All of the sweet peas I lost were the expensive ones in T&M. That is why I didn't want to lose my petunia seeds.
But, I will certainly try a few of the petunias and I am sure I will remember to do it, and will write and ask you what to do. I have the framework for 2 shelving units with the zippered plastic covers which I bought to harden my plants off on my deck in the spring. I am game for this.
Jnette, I can send you some of my petunia seeds that I saved from my garden. I got them all mixed up, so not sure of the color, or if they will come true, but heck it is worth it for your experiment. I am going to try w/s my petunias and also start some in the GH on a heat mat.
Lynn, thanks, but I have plenty of petunia seeds. I just could not see wasting them when I have not had any luck winter sowing in the past. No, I really appreciate the offer tho. Maybe I could send you some since you aren't sure what you have?
I see Swollowtail has good prices too. Their petunias are probably the best prices I have seen for the most in a pack, and some that I haven't seen before. Also, 2/3 of them are pelleted.
I think T&M just saw that a lot of us were buying from Value Seeds so upped their prices. That always tics me off. Because they cut down on the amount of seeds and also the packaging to sell under VS name.
"I have the framework for 2 shelving units with the zippered plastic covers which I bought to harden my plants off on my deck in the spring. I am game for this." Some people do WS in those things but it's not what I'd advise. I'd put 'em in a jug and stick them out in the elements where Mother Nature will do the work for you like watering and providing sunshine. The rules are few, and given half a chance, WSing really does work. These are wintersown.
Jnette, I do hope you got some Petunias in the Summerhill coop...
I have one of those patio greenhouses, I'm going to use it to sow stuff outside in spring that I want to do in cow pots (ornamental corn and millet--better direct sowed but the chips and squirrels find them too delicious). I guess that would be very late winter sowing. Plus to harden off coleus and pels.
make sure the cow pots don't get too wet.. I tried doing some cuttings in them last year and I guess it was too moist in the tray with the dome on.. they started growing some funky mold on the outside of them... was spraying h2o2 to get rid of it.. but all ended well
Ew. I'll water with h2o2 just in case. They should be ok, I'm gonna put them in a flat in the mini greenhouse, which I can leave partly unzipped. They just need to be in there until they're big enough the chipzilla won't bother them. Maybe I can leave the sunflowers in there long enough they won't be as attractive to the bunnies. They seem to prefer them young and tender.
I have resorted to leaving my sunflowers in containers on my deck... tired of those critters eating them.. must be enough yorkie smell to keep them away from there.. my honey would love the 12 footers but not going to happen unless we get some big containers
Karen, are those sowed direct? Surely you didn't plant each one individually!! I don't know if they should be out in our elements all winter. When we get snow it turns to ice and then it snows again on top of that and that turns to ice, etc. keeps that up all winter.
I hadn't planned on putting them in the framework right off. But, don't know about leaving them out all winter. Maybe they would get too hot in the plastic tho.; It would be in the sun. Our sun is not like yours. Especially this time of year.
Our winter goes thru March. However, this winter it is so mild, unbelievable. I have never seen one like it. The midwest is getting all of our snow.
One wish, if it is that warm I wouldn't think they would need heat mats.
Jnette: Most of those were sown in milk jugs. Initially I started the larkspur that way too, but now they volunteer reliably. Those seeds usually sprout in fall, then winter over as tiny seedlings in my flower beds with no protection. They are hardy annuals and take winter weather just fine. My flower beds had a solid blanket of them , an inch or two tall, as winter set in. We've had snow on the ground and single digit temps for weeks so I can't see anything but white now.
Milk jugs won't overheat if they have good ventilation. Don't use the screw-on lids. Those flowers get there start in life here, naturally. It's easy if you let it be.
I was so sure that all the Ruds were perennials, that I WSed a couple different varieties. I was just checking the Parks seeds catalog. A couple of the types are listed as annuals. I WSed all my beloved Cherry Brandy seeds! DG has them listed as annuals but says they can be sown in the fall? Is this the same deal with morning glory (annuals but self-seed like weeds)?
I'm sorry! Karne is in a different zone but she's very close, just a little south of me. I'm praying WSing cherry Brandy works here. I wanted the seeds for so long but didn't even think to make sure they were perennials that could be WS here. I was so sure they were.
Yes, mine were wintersowed. In fact, my cherry brandy were my first sprouts of the year. Be prepared, they're pretty darned ugly when they first open. As each blossom matures, it turns a pretty burgundy.
Rud hirta is a perfect candidate for wintersowing. Most of mine last 2 years. I have to take a walk around the yard (when it dries out some- It's a swamp now from snow melt). By late Jan or early Feb I can tell which are going to make it through winter and know how many to sow. If not killed off they stay green in winter.
Thank you so much, you all are life savers! Could you feel the panic through the net? I'm really trying to plan my garden out while I'm WSing. While looking at the Parks catalog, I want to order more seeds (annuals) to have some color this year. I know most of my WSers won't bloom the this year.
I just got my seed swap box in the mail yesterday... sorted and cataloged seeds all evening. Got a lot of good ones. Should do some sowing ... ooooh, tomorrow it out, have plans... maybe Sunday -- if not, monday.
kqcrna Karen - Thank you for saying the Cherry Brandy Rud. is kind of ugly when it starts to bloom! I thought that myself, almost pulled them out. I didn't think they were all that special when they did bloom. I like the bigger bloom - red and yellow Ruds I get from volunteer seeds. And your right about the Ruds being a perfect WS seed. I get tons of volunteers in the garden each year, dig them up and give they to friends.
Here is a picture of one of my fav. volunteer Ruds.
So, let me ask you all, my last frost date is the end of May. I normally start my seeds inside in March. So to winter sow I am assuming I have to start them earlier than I would for inside, but how much earlier?
Jnette: Perennials and hardy annuals (like poppies, bachelor buttons, larkspur) sow in winter. Just best to wait for tender annuals and tender perennials (things that won't tolerate frost) closer to spring. For me, that's late March or April. I would guess for you the timing should be about the same. I watch the weather forecast and if it's too stay above freezing for the foreseeable future, day and night, I'll sow the tenders.
The problem is that those tender ones can sprout in an early warm spell, then freeze and bolt when the cold weather returns. If that's going to be the case for me I just give those extra protection overnight for the frost, like throw a sheet or towel over those jugs.
Diamond, I've planted a variety of Ruds in that area. Usually plant a couple of named ones each year ... ie. Cherry Brandy last year, and just let some of the volunteers grow. I've grown Irish Eyes, Indian Summer, Cherokee Sunset, Autumn, Toto, and Prairie Sun, all in that area. I saved seeds from the pictured volunteer and it's babies didn't have any of the red, they were brown and yellow and were taller. That voluteer was very short, about 1 ft in ht. I actually start a couple of my named Rudbeckia seeds inside each year cause it is only a couple of seeds for me, I don't WS them.
Yes I have some Rud seeds. I really like the Cherry Brandy. I have some of the Irish Eyes, Tiger Eyes, Cappucino and the Black Eyed. Would you like some of the varieties I have? I may have a couple of others I will have to check my stash to be sure. What kind/colors do you have TC?
Those look like the Cappucino and the Irish Eyes. Those are beautiful! Did they bloom the first year? I think the Cherry Brandy are supposed to bloom the first year and stay under 2 ft don't they? How tall are those Ruds?
Um, those Rudbeckias are waaaaaaaaaaaaay cool. TCS, if you're offering the mixed up seeds, I'd sure be willing to receive some for my tropical plant patio. Since I grow in containers, it'd be easy for me to separate the seeds after the plants bloom.
Now, ya'll say these don't bloom the 1st year? I have to wait until NEXT spring before I get these lovely flowers?
according to my spreadsheet... one is "Indian Summer" and "Black Eyed Susan"
I dont think it's Cappuccino, as last year i attempted to ID it, and there was such a variety in the coloring... it was hard to pin down.
All of mine bloomed first year. I think they are short lived Perennials. and most were tall... 24-30"
I had a small clump that was along my chain link fence... it was short... 9-12" maybe. it was really pretty though [i'll look for an image on the other computer] but i did not collect seeds... just crunched the seed heads onto the ground.
Have any of you planted Cherry Brandy Rud from seed collected from your own plants? And if so, what did they look like? Do these come up from the same plant the next year? They sure do take a long time being ugly before looking good. Makes you want to put a sack over their heads. I was so disappointed in them. I collected some seed and will try again.
I have some Maya Rud seeds if any of you want some. Now those are really neat ones. Look like the Teddy Bear Sunflowers only smaller and they last for a long time. Right up until the rain did them in. I have had the same plant growing for about 4 years now.
No, sorry, I don't. I've mostly grown veggies.
This spring will be my very first attempt at growing flowers on any real scale, since I sowed marigold seeds in our front porch flowerbed years ago in my teens. And nobody could safely sit on the front porch the whole summer. Who knew the bees love marigolds???
But, they sure were pretty! So pretty that, even though my mother was pretty mad about the bees, she didn't demand that I pull up the pretty blooms!
No thank you, Terese. I checked you want list to see if I could surprise you with a little something extra but I didn't have any of the seeds on your want list. Are you looking for anything that's not listed on your want list?
diamond, I just thought of something I have always wanted but keep forgetting to order when I get seeds, and that is lisianthus. I would love to have some if you have seeds.
And, yes diamond that is my Maya. The flowers on it last clear up until the rain or frost destroys the flowers. I don't think I have ever seen them lose their petals. Also, the same plant has been growing for about 4 years now.
I will check my seeds stash. that one doesn't sound familiar. I had to look it up and Lisianthus is a beautiful flower. I will be work the Home and Garden show seed counter. I will keep an eye out for that one. I reminds me of a mix between a poppy and a rose. LoL
LoL I thought the EXACT same thing! I read that they produce seeds that look like blackberries. I was surprised that those are perennials in zone 5 The fans remind me of Irises. Sounds like they're easy to grow from seed. Usually easy for some means difficult for me. LoL
Diamond... i have no clue. I know i got a baggie of them, but i haven't gone past that point. Maybe i'll dig them out today and take a peek at them.
I wont soak them. My first year WS'ing, i followed some directions for thicker seeds, and soaked them, just like i was told... they all rotted. The WS process [mother nature] will take care of the thick seeds coat with the freeze and thaw cycles... the way i understand it ... they say to soak and or nick, to soften/break thru the coat.
This is my first year WS and started a few jugs about 10 days ago when we had a mini false Spring and it was warm enough I could be outside without chattering my teeth.
So far I've planted Hollyhocks, Formosan Lily, Catchfly, Red Lupine, Swiss Giant Pansy, Blackberry Lily, Purple Foxglove, Coreopsis, Spirea, Allium, Penstemon, Butterfly Bush, Heuchera, Agastache, Liatris, Catnip, Cleome, Helianthus, Campanula, Bee Balm, and Snow in Summer. That's the majority off the top of my head. I'm keeping a spreadsheet and leaving the rest up to Mother Nature.
Next month I'm planning to sow more, still saving jugs.
I had also saved a few of those rotisserie chicken containers and used them too. They sure look like min-greenhouses to me. Anybody else using those or have used them? Just curious if they're as good as jugs?
I used some of those last year. They seemed to work OK. Hard to tell, more of my failures happened in those, but not sure if that was the container or the particular seeds that ended up in them. Not as much room for soil in the bottom, and mine were all bumpy on the bottom, so a pain to cut drainage in. I'd imagine they'll be fine though! I've also used the large lettuce containers from Sams. They're basically huge shoe boxes of clear plastic. They worked really well.
i too used one, once... i found them too shallow. the roots really have no where to go... I'd think if they were using for some thing that will get planted quickly it would work... though i do have to say... i did get germination and i think they survived.
i'll have to check my images to see if i have one of that.
Thanks for the input. I only used 2 and wondered about their shallow bottoms, plus you're right kl...they are a pain to drill and pretty flimsy. I'll check tomorrow to see what's planted in mine, maybe I'll get lucky. That's really how I feel about the whole shebang since I've never done this before. tsc, pics of yours would be great, hope you can also let me know what you had planted.
Can't remember if anyone mentioned it here... or somewhere else. But someone said they used a glue gun to melt holes in their milk jugs. I tried it yesterday for the first time (not a glue gun girl, so happy to find another use for the one in the closet!) and it worked great! I was seriously concerned that I was going to lose a finger last year from all the box cutter use. This worked great on the milk jugs, just had to burn a few extra since they are so small (tiny glue gun). Didn't work on the clear 2 liter type plastic, but I'll take it!
Glad to see you winter sowers from zone 7 on here. Last year was my first year and wasnt really that pleased with the results. Think I made all the newbie mistakes-not enough holes, panic when it rained so much and moved them under a carport and didnt move them back out quick enough, impatience, etc. Have kept up with all the winter sowing threads, and got some really good information and encouragement. I am going to try again, I will succeed!! Seems like most of the gardeners are from every zone but zone 7. So zone 7 gardeners, what is your favorite plants(s) to winter sow and when do you start your winter sowing?
Starting now, will probably continue until late February, or whenever I finally collect enough jugs! My best successes last year (my first year) were Echinacea, Foxglove, Penstemon, Poppies, Helenium, Campanula glomerata, Liatris, Cleome. I'm going to direct sow the poppies this year. I didn't have any trouble transplanting, but so many came up that I'm looking for time savings now!
Oh! Had to get back on the computer to add Columbine! How could I have forgotten them?! They did fantastic, and I have lot of little plants all over my yard that I'm expecting to bloom this year.
Cleomes are pretty big plants so I'm thinking they'd accordingly have a bigger root system--so maybe a deeper container.
Which coreopsis? Some are shorter and smaller than other varieties...plus you gotta think about how long you may leave them in the sowing containers. I've seen photos and posts from the WS junkies showing their plants still in their sowing containers well into the summer and early fall:lol:
True--I'm new at this for this season as well and even though I see alot of success stories using some of the shallower planting containers--I'm going to stick with the 2L and gal. jugs--more seedlings than I'll ever need but neighbors and friends benefit from my excesses:lol: Always listen to Karen---I've picked up that tidbit from hanging around these threads:)
I love the soldering iron for poking holes in pots, I figured this out long before I started WS, I did it for gesneriad cuttings that I was rooting.
For those of you with poppy experience, what do you do? I tried one container last year, they were lackluster. These are annual poppies, and they don't like the root system disturbed...what's the best way to do these?
I can't recall if i ever direct sown them. if i did, i would probably do it end of March... if the soil was 'soft'... i'd loosen it up a but and sprinkle them. Hopefully the critters wont eat them. though they are teeny tiny.
But - i would think you could direct sow them any time... and they would germinate when the conditions were right.
I've read about folks in warmer zones direct sowing poppy seeds in December. Sorta makes me wish I lived in a warmer climate again. I'm in Zone 7A and had planned to wait til March or April. Out last frost won't be til early or mid May. Would that be about the right time? Or could I go ahead and WS them?
8" of the fluffy stuff's expected here tomorrow into Saturday. I can't wait for Spring.
I have a tip for anyone using a soldering iron, especially a "borrowed" one.
Wipe the tip well with steel wool before returning it to the toolbox. The plastic can burn on the iron and you can smell it burning the next time you use it. Be careful not to burn yourself on either the steel wool or the soldering iron. I put on my kitchen mitts, held the steel wool down in the steel sink with one hand and wiggled the soldering iron around with the other. I let the iron sit all day and turned it on again. It didn't smell any more.
There are several things that need soldering (including the cord to my outdoor lights that were hit with a shovel). I don't want to explain why the soldering iron smells like burning plastic.
The bf says that my tools cringe when I open the toolbox.
Jeanette, I don't know how much snow you get, but here near Detroit,MI we hardly get any, most of the winter is without snowcover ... we are just cold most of the time. And we always say 'if we have the cold, at least we could have the beautiful snow to go with it ... not toooo much though!' lol
And its worse for the plants to not have the snowcover. I'm actually in zone 6a, it rarely gets below -10 here, but most of our weather puts us in zone 5b.
LOL, 2few, you have to have the clouds for snow and normally you won't have clouds at -10 because the clouds hold the warmth in (warmth, lol) i.e. if the clouds are holding the warmth in, then it won't be -10.
Cheer up, if it warms up, you might get snow. Yes, the snow will insulate the plants, but it sure would be nice to get it before we get so cold the ground freezes. Oh well, who ever said we could pick our weather?
We ended up with 11" of snow, it's so light and fluffy the wind blew it around every which way and made pretty drifts. I used a paint pen on duct tape to write the name of the seeds and taped them to the front of each jug, can't see them but they're under there somewhere.
I have never done Winter Sowing before and I notice you have left the lids on your bottles. I thought they were suppose to be off so they could be watered "naturally". How do they get water if you do that? And if you have the lid on why do you need drainage holes?
I was just getting ready to plant some myself tomorrow but don't want to do this wrong.
I can do without the cold too, it gets more difficult on my bones and mood as each Winter passes.
Last week the tops were off when we got over 2" of rain, you can see some of the weep holes I also drilled around the shoulders. Like I mentioned, this is my first time trying and was concerned after so much rain and all this snow when it melts that my seeds would wash. If you tell me to run out there and remove the tops I will...lol I want good results come Spring and am trying to avoid buying perennials. Hope to have enough to plant and also share with friends and neighbors. Please somebody help if I'm doing this wrong!?
As long as you have the holes drilled they'll probably be OK. I'd remove them, though. I have never, ever used caps on the jugs and get good results. Remember, the less air flow, the less opportunity for excess moisture to evaporate too. Lots of air is good. As long as you have good drainage there's no problem. No rush to dig out of 11" of snow to remove them immediately, but I'd remove them after the snow melts and weather is better (for you, not the plants).
If it seems they're too wet, you can poke more drainage holes.
Yes, Jnette. You want something with a top to form a sort of roof. But no screw on cap on milk jugs or 2 liters. Others might do it differently but that's how the seasoned veterans, including Trudi, advised when I was starting the first time. I've always done it that way and it has worked well.
I throw away screw on caps immediately when I get a jug. It only serves to make the jug smell awful.
Dont throw away your caps Karen. After you get a lot of them, spray paint them with outdoor paint & use them for walkways, edging, tree base covers, etc. Works great. :) Oops, you use milk jugs, I don't know how their caps will work, but the screw caps on 2 liters do good.
Debbie, you're a worse packrat than I am...lol
It's way too much work, Jeanette, and Perennials around here aren't cheap.
I ventured out, Karen, and removed the caps I could reach without basically sinking up to my knees. The rest will be history as soon as I can reach them. I wore out my show shovel scooping mulch last year to the point the edges were rounded and had a crack in the back. Guess I need a new one...huh? Thanks again for your advice!
Karen, so tell me, I have a gallon jug, how high do I go with the seed potting mix for the roots to grow in, and then how high to cut the container above that? I understand how the rest of the jug is head space for the things to grow so that should not matter.
I don't have a lot of containers so don't want to ruin the ones I do have.
I saw info on potting soil and posted it to another forum. It was a group of soil mixes from Cornell (my alma mater) gathered on the backyard gardener website. For seed starting they used
Another seed starting mix claiming to be a cornell mix, with measurements:
4 quarts of shredded peat moss or sphagnum,
2 teaspoons ground limestone,
4 tablespoons 5-10-10 fertilizer.
Now, vermiculite is hard to find because it may be carcinogenic. What do you think about 2/3 peat and 1/3 vermiculite. (I have those on hand)? If the exotic seed starting mixes are more expensive than peat/perlite, I am going to shake and bake my own!
BTW, if you forget to save the link and look up dirt recipe, you get all sorts of recipes for "edible dirt" with assorted processed foods and gummy worms. I may be the only person who never heard of such a thing. However, I don't use cake mixes/cool whip/processed foods and don't have kids. I guess it would be cute for a garden club get together, but I can't imagine eating it.
GardenQuilts, are you talking about for WinterSowing? If so, one of the experts here will need to speak up, but I don't think you'd want a seed starting mix for winter sowing. I've always heard it doesn't matter what you use, can use cheap soil, but I'm thinking a seed starting mix is awfully light to have outside... would dry out really fast?