Show your wintersowing containers

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

I have gathered that most people use the gallon size milk or beverage containers for wintersowing. Please post pics of any other containers you are using. It might be easier for me to gather smaller containers and set them inside clear storage containers that have holes drilled in the top and bottom. Another question is can one use a 1 qt. or 1/2 gal. milk or juice cartons that have been cut down. What about the peat pots one buys to start seed indoors?
Cool whip containers? Clear containers from deli take outs? If you wintersow in any container other then the gal. size jugs..could we see your pics?

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

This will be my 5th year WSing and in my first year or 2 I probably tried every container you can think of. Milk jugs and 2 liters absolutely are my favorite, no question. Cups inside a large bins work pretty well, too. Lots of folks use cut off juice carton with success, cover with cut up drop cloths or similar. Never did that myself. Heavy rain and snow does collapse or tear plastic easily, been there, done that, so would advise heavy mil plastic if you go that route, not flimsy stuff like Saran wrap.

Deli containers- most are too shallow, don't drain well, dry out too fast
Peat pot, paper pots get moldy or rot in wet weather, dry way too fast in hot dry weather.
Smaller, lighter containers will take off in the wind if not contained in a larger heavy box or similar.
Critters (squirrels, raccoons, voles, whatever) will raid containers if lids aren't secure.

Wintersowing is way different from starting seeds indoors under lights. Seeds and containers are subject to the whims of Mother Nature (snow storms, wind storms, monsoon rains, blazing heat and drought, critters, dogs and cats who think a jug is a toy; not to mention clumsy gardeners, curious kids) and the ideal container will withstand these things.

Karen

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

I would have never thought of using plastic drop cloths, cut up to size. Maybe secure it with duct tape to container and if necessary a thick rubber band. One could use one of those hand held hole punchers before placing the plastic around the can. Somebody else suggested they use cereal box or cracker box wrappers as it is pretty sturdy. Can peat pots be used for planting the seed if the pots are contained in an enclosed container where holes are drilled in the container lid and bottom for moisture and rain or snow?

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

I had peat pots in a larger container. They gold moldy and nasty in wet weather and dried way too fast in warm dry weather. I'll never use them again. I had terrible results with them. Ditto paper pots. Maybe your weather is better and they'd do better, but I had enough of them in one try.

I really only did a few of them and was very glad of that. Like I said, my first year I wanted to try 'em all. But I read and read forums and Trudi's site, and all the WSing veterans recommended jugs so highly, I figured the experts would know best. In the end I agreed, nothing compares to a milk jug. Just my opinion, for what it's worth.

Karen

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Pippi -- if you have not browsed it yet.. here is the "Containers" thread out of the "Sticky"
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/809636/

I agree with Karen on the milk jugs... nothing compares.

This message was edited Dec 7, 2009 10:05 PM

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

here are some Cosmos in Peat Pot, but those are also in soil to keep them more moist.... I thought i used them another time where they were not in the soil... then they dried out faster..... Yannno - what?? those were those CocoHusk pots... did NOT like those at all.

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Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I also love Deli containers.... though it helps to have them in boxes of some sort.

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Kannapolis, NC

Here are some of my WS containers from last year:

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Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

Now I may seem dense here, but just to be sure.......

Are you sowing seeds in these containers , and then placing them outside to stay till spring when rowth will necessatate trransplanting into the garden ?? Sort of each one in it's own tiny greenhouse?

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Yes Sheri... that is correct. Mine normally go out into a pile of snow, or onto the patio and then get covered by snow... but yes, just like their own little green house.

Camilla, GA(Zone 8a)

No pics, but if it will hold soil, I will sow seeds in it..lol

Larkie

Kannapolis, NC

Sheri: You are right about them staying outside. Don't dismay; it does work!

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

and the recycle bin had potential greenhouses in it! Shucks....oh well, theres always next week.

Seems like I remember Scarlett O'hara holding up a fist full of dirt and saying something about land counting!!!

^_^

Billerica, MA(Zone 6a)

This is an experiment of mine I started this past november. It isn't WS in the same sense as talked about on DG and elsewhere but it's close enough that I thought I would share it here. What I've done in the first pic is bury a number of small pots. They're actually old, lined cardboard food containers I'd been collecting, about 3" wide x 3" deep, and have sown my seeds into them. In the second picture, I've coverd them with a heavy duty coldframe type screened box to protect the pots and eventually the seedlings. Not shown, is a glass cover which hinges on one end which I will use in late winter/early spring as seeds begin to germinate. I'll be able to open and close the glass lid as necessary depending on the climate. The pots are easily removable and as the plants become too tall for the screened box they will be planted and/or protected individually. Still have some things to work out I'm sure, as I said it's an experiment. But taking it to this point has been so simple and hasn't cost me anything as all materials including potting soil was already at hand.

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Lakeville, MN

I don't have access to milk jugs. Or 2 liter jugs.

Could I buy some of those sterlite containers with lids and use those? I could plant lots of stuff in those as they are quite large.

They are pretty cheap when on sale. Three or four bucks.

Please let me know of alternatives that really work.
Thanks very much.

Kannapolis, NC

Hampton: The large plastic tubs that spring lettuce mix comes in (Sam's Club) makes a good container and it's nice and deep. So do the plastic fruit/veggie containers and they already have holes for drainage. I've kept some of those for WSing this year. Someone has used the large plastic jugs that pretzels come in, also from Sam's Club or Costco, and others are using plastic bags, but I haven't tried that method yet. Please read through previous WS posts and you'll get plenty of ideas.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

I don't start ws until mid March. Here's a pic from last year

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Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO(Zone 5b)

Hamptonmeadow, I love Lakeville - used to live in Apple Valley! Hit your local Starbuck's or Caribou Coffee and ask them to save their milk jugs for you - I am sure they won't care if you raid their recyclables. Our Starbuck's (just one) has gotten me close to 100 jugs in less than a few days. If you get them the same day, they rinse out quickly and have no odor at all. Sam's has great boxes to put them in to hold them so they don't blow. Hope that helps.

Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

I use paper egg cartons for things like poppies,larkspurs and nigellia...there in there you just can't pick them out in the line-up. Meant to get a close up of them...forgot...cold out there.

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Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO(Zone 5b)

Oh my gosh, Bigred, is that your PERSONAL greenhouse? I am envious! You'd never see me if I had one like that! Have to go work on 100 milk jugs in the kitchen this morning - they are dry and ready to be drilled, cut and boxed. This has been so much fun. My first time - I've read every thread I can - just pray it works! Merry Christmas this week! Cynthia

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Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

ya know that ice cream commercial..."Eat all we can and sell the rest"....("Plant all I can and sell the rest")so I can support my habit of needing more seeds and plants....LOL

Actually it's more like "All the children have shoes except the cobblers" 'cause it seems like I'm so busy growing and selling I don't have time to work in my own yard. Now that we're no longer doing a big market garden,I can put that time into getting some of these lovelies into my flowerbeds.

Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO(Zone 5b)

Amazing greenhouse - I am truly envious! You have a long growing season, too, don't you? Yea for you! I am ready to get my containers outside in the next month. Placed my last seed order yesterday - ready to go!!

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

well....T O D A Y issssss, Dec 21st... winter solstice

I've got my accumulating bags of containers in the basement.... though i've got myself into a huge 'fix the chipping' paint project goin on... so it will be in Jan by the time i get to sowing.

Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO(Zone 5b)

Me too - mid-January is my goal as I don't want to rush - I want to enjoy every single moment of it!

Kannapolis, NC

Cynthia: Great pic. Is that you and DH? Handsome couple. Winter sowing DOES work. I had my doubts, too, particularly when the temps would get down into the teens or snow would cover the jugs and I would think, `No way am I going to get anything out of this.' Have faith. You'll see. You'll be doing the happy dance come spring!

Kannapolis, NC

Here's a collage of my WS efforts:

See all the sprouts?

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Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

In your photo, it looks as you have something spread over the top of your containers or is it just the way the light was? Looks like it might be vermitculite from the picture. Egg cartons are so shallow, I'm surprized things will grow for you in them. I've heard of people planting inside an eggshell but the eggshell was inside like a clear plastic container that once held cupcakes from the grocery store. I'm amazed at all the different versions of WS containers people come up with. I guess if we look in our refrigerator, we'd be able to find many more. Today, I pulled my DH's gin bottle out of the recycle bin, washed it out and put it back in the crate to be cut and used. It's as large as the 1/2 gal. jugs we have. Just a different shape neck to it. So if I didn't get it completely clean, the plants might be happy in there! LOL!

Cynthia (N. Kansas C, MO(Zone 5b)

Hemophobic, yes, that is the REAL Santa and Mrs. Claus - the only problem is the costumes fit, LOL. That wasn't so funny. Prepared 144 milk jugs in the past week for 16 women coming to my BYOS party - (Bring Your Own Soil) - so tomorrow I start on my own milk jugs, yippeeeee! Can't wait, can't wait. I loved your collage too - I can't wait to see if mine will look near so great!!

I hope to do the happy dance for sure!!!! After all the money I spent last year on buying plants at $8-15 each, it'll be great to grow my own! Did I say, can't wait? Can't wait?!!!

Here are my boys in their Christmas outfits.

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Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

pippi,
I assume your asking me....yes,that's vermucilite. I never use potting mix to cover or sow my seeds with/on top of. I only use egg cartons for annuals that don't like root disturbance and can be planted out at a small stage.

The greenhouse was a Wal Mart parking lot greenhouse. It got blown over in a bad windstorm so they had to replace it. My DiL worked there so she called me to see if I wanted it. Heck yea I wanted it. It cost me all of $100 bucks and only two spans were bent and not useable so I only lost about 10 ft.Had all those shelves and sliding panels on the lower sides.It's not heated but still works prefectly for winter sowing.

Kannapolis, NC

Bigred: You really scored with that GH. I'd love to have one of my own. No hope of that any time soon.

Cynthia: Cost is the very reason I decided to try the WSing. I spend a fortune every year on established plants and just couldn't justify any more of that kind of waste. I can truthfully say that the only money I spent last year was on mulch, bulbs, a couple of new hydrangeas and miscellaneous gardening supplies, like plant markers, paint pens, etc. I got some wonderful new plants that are now established and participated in this year's piggy seed swap, so I have even more wonderful new seeds to WS! Yeehaa! Yeah, I'm doing the happy dance already.

Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

I actually have 2 GH that size. I don't use the one in the back yard any more for other than storage and pot washing station. It's home made and tearing it down would be too much trouble and would be a waste because it wouldn't come down easily w/o destorying the materials and we like to recycle building materials.

Kannapolis, NC

I've even saved the clear tops of CD stacks (large ones) to use in combo with plastic bags or plastic wrap for the covering. They're sturdy and deep!

(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN(Zone 6a)

Does anyone know anyting about a cold frame? Does it work under the same principle as the WS containers?

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I know there are some who use a cold frame. They're around somewhere...

you can always try doing a search ... use the term "cold frame" and search the WS forum... you should find some posts and you'll see who uses this option.

Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

I've made and used some jerry-rigged ones in the past with success. Best and easiest thing I've ever used was low poly tunnels I made from my tomato cages and plastic sheeting. Worked for containers or direct flowers and food crops.

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(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN(Zone 6a)

I read something about coldframes. From the info I found, I know less now than I did before reading it LoL I'm kind of special like that. I'll stick with my WS

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

Anita..Tom over at gardenweb.com has a great hoophouse set up that he made himself. Also he made his own plant cloner. He post as Token on that site and he's very knowledgable, creative and willing to share information with other gardeners. Tom's blog is www.Seventhstreetcottage.com.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

http://seventhstreetcottage.blogspot.com/

I've been on this guys site before. very nice.

Barnesville (Charle, GA(Zone 8b)

What kind of Pens do you use. I use a sharpie and it fades. What is best pen or pencil that is not affected by the sun.
I sa several milkjugs that are beautifully labelled but do they fade??
I am using 2 litr bottles. But do have a couple of milk jugs.
Thanks

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

some say pencils do just fine.

I use paint pens... though i have found one is better than the other. I bought a "red" thinking it would stand out more... it faded.

I guess if you have already marked them, just keep the writing out of the sunlight.

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