Herbie... from what i was reading on the WS org site... toms are pretty cold hardy. I personally have never WS'ed them yet... but maybe i'll do them the next time I WS [hopefully tomorrow or the next day]
I'm WSing every veggie that I would normally grow under lights inside.
The veggies that are best "direct sowed," or that don't like their roots disturbed, will be either direct sowed later on, or WSed now, in place, with a cloche or jug over the emerging seedling for protection.
My goal is to WS as much as I can, outside, and from now on...
i kind of like the idea of starting my seeds indoors. i only have room for bout 9 or 10 ten gallon containers on my deck so i don't have much trouble with indoor seed starting but beczuse i got involved in this winter sowing i will give it z shot. i'm only gong to use one milk container and i will put four or five tomato seeds inside and will see what happens.
The only veggie I grow is tomatoes. I don't sow them until spring, around late March, when weather starts to warm up a little. Some people do sow them in winter but they can be killed by frost and we get frost here for a long time.
Yes, Jnette. When I did tomatoes, I used a milk jug and regular WSing methods. I just didn't sow until around March. I do all my tender annuals late like that- March, April, even early May. I have to be honest and say I have lost some tender sprouts to frost when I sowed them early, so now if I have tender sprouts I do give them extra protection. For a mild frost I'll just flip the top of the jugs closed and cover with a sheet. A few times I've put them in the unheated garage overnight when temps were going to the lower 20s. Trudi advises against bringing them into a heated house.
Many WSers say they shouldn't be coddled and protected but I don't buy that. Why leave them out there to die if all I have to do is throw something over them?
Anyway I used the wintersowing method, but in spring, a couple of years ago for my toms. Last year spring was so cold, cloudy, and wet, I did them inside under lights. If the weather had been better I would have done them outside.
Well, if I wait until late March or April I will plant them in the house under lights. My season is short enough without having to start over because I lost them. I have a portable greenhouse I can put them out in May.
I think everyone has to do whatever they feel comfortable with. Whatever is best for them.
If you're not too confident of the technique giving enough time for them to grow, maybe you could try some inside and some wintersown for comparison. Notice that I'm not in a much warmer zone that either Jnette or Herbie (I'm zone 6a) but it worked for me. Last year I lacked the confidence to wintersow them only because it was the coldest, wettest, grayest spring of my life. But when I WSed them in '08, they were much smaller then my store-bought ones when planted out but caught up quickly and produced fruit at the same time. They got over 6 feet tall by late summer
That's what I'm afraid of with the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant--that spring will be like last year. I only do a couple of each (only have room for veggies in containers) so I think I'll start them inside.
No Karen, I'm not saying enough time. I am saying losing them thru a late freeze after they come up. That could set me back pretty good and I normally would plant them in the house in late March and April.
I can see where you are right if they don't freeze they would catch up because they would be acclimatized before the ones that would have to be hardened off prior to setting them out.
If we have frost after they're sprouted, I cover them with a sheet or blanket. If we get a really hard freeze, I put them in the garage overnight. I treat all of my tender plants like that, including zinnias, marigolds, etc. Most of the time it's not an issue, so it's not much of a problem for me.
Last spring, and even early summer, was just so cold. There was never a drop of sunshine. I don't ever remember a spring and early summer like that in my 57 years. I barely ever watered anything last year. Normally watering becomes like a second career for me. It never felt like summer until August.
I know I'll have to cut them open to retrieve what I plant, but I didn't really intend on keeping these. I can get these collected all year long. Just wasn't sure what the best use for them would be. But, I'm thinking on those zinnias and maybe even the marigolds.
Tall and floppy? Huh? (As in "stretching"? Getting tall and lanky with long internode spaces?) I've not seen that in wintersown zinnias. I see no reason why it should happen. Are the tops of the jugs open, and are they getting some sun? When will you be planting them out in your zone?
I do pinch zinnias, whether WSown or store bought. Usually they're in the ground before I do that, though.
I don't want zinnias that flop. Are they so weak they can't hold their heads up, or are their heads so big and heavy? That's weird. You've gotta want zinnias awfully bad. Why don't you get the wires that hold them up? What do they look like in your garden?
Maybe you aren't giving them deep enough soil in your WS pots. With those deep things I would fill them up to 1/3 to 1/2 full of soil. JMO : 0)
I always thought that leggy seedlings were the result of inadequate light. I've not seen it in my wintersown ones. The natural light outside is better than fluorescent lights inside. That's why I asked whether they were getting any sun.
Pinch those zinnias. Pinching zins always gives a better growth habit.
Guess I was thinking more like top-heavy Karen. That there wasn't root deep enough to anchor them as to why they were falling over. Guess if the root was still in place and they were flopping that would be leggy.
Conditions are different for WSown and indoor ones. WSown ones in an open jug can lean over from heavy rain or extreme wind if the jug is already open- that's why I asked if the jug is open. Too much fert (N) can also cause excessive growth, as can too little light or too much heat... I guess a picture would help.
Linda needs to give us a better description of her "floppy" zins, or a picture. And knowing the type of zinnia would help, too. Some have a neater growth pattern, some wild looking.
K & J,
I sowed seeds in seed starter trays outside last Spring. Never did get a chance to plant the zinnias in the garden. By the time they croaked (still inthe seed starter trays), they were tall and lanky. I think they'd have made it if I had just put them into their containers. It was all my fault. And yes, there was wind and rain that contributed to them keeling over...
Thanks for the feedback. I'm thinking I'll go ahead this weekend and sow those seeds in the tall water dispenser jugs.
I have separate packs of the giant Zinnia Envy and Fuschia, and another pack of smaller mixed Envy & Fuscia. One is big blooms, the other is smaller blooms, same colors.
I know other people have done that but I've never tried. I can't think of anything that would stay put through the wind here, so never even considered it. We have enough trouble keeping a roof and siding on the house, so I can't imagine half a pop bottle staying put. Maybe a really long stake thru the opening would work, but I just don't see me bothering. Besides, I'm not well organized enough to plan that far ahead. I'm more the plunk and run type.
Also, in the thread that Terese linked, the poster was using those thing as cloches to protect seedlings through winter. She lives in NC, myostosis is hardy to zone 3...
Here are a few pics of my yard, taken a couple of weeks ago. Here the green blanket is all volunteer seedlings, probably 95% larkspur, that came up in fall. I've already culled a lot, they were replaced by new. No cloches for these babies, they have survived weeks of single digits and teens
I don;t know why it wouldn't work. Say you have a 10" pot. You want to plant a carex of some kind in it, a Calabrachae sicl, a Blackie sweet potato. Lol, and put a cloche (milk jug) over the top of the carex.
I started this before you posted Karen and lost it.
Love the pic of your yard Karen. I was looking at the neighbors on the other side of the fence. They have pampas grass planted with other real tall stuff in between. What is the real tall grass do you know/??
I had pampas grass in Seattle years ago and it was soooooo dirty. Nasty stuff. I don't think I had any, but looked like something rats would live in.
I might try to direct sow some hardy annuals directly in their containers in April or so, just need to keep the critters off (and the cat off the keyboard lol). I'm also going to direct sow my sunflowers and cover with something to keep the bunnies off til they're bigger. And maybe any beans or peas that may be in bunny range. Or maybe a ring of chicken wire. Whatever is in easy reach as I am lazy.
To grrrlgeek, just put some bird netting over them loosely. the little animals don't want to get their feet caught in it. I had squirrels eating my tomatoes. I put that plastic stuff around them and that put a stop to that.
The first time I was just strolling out to check things and I was afraid the poor thing would strangle before I got my gloves. The second time I tried with gloves on but couldn't get hold of the netting. I didn't have my sleek and fab Atlas gloves yet. They were the real small ones, so maybe young'uns. Never caught a chipzilla stuck in it.
I bet you could winter sow tomatoes safely. I planted Silentz two years ago, and it came back from seed last summer to the point where I was weeding tomatoes from the garden on and off all summer! Especially in jugs I bet they would wait for it to be safe to sprout,.. or perhaps even in the ground.
In fact, if anyone wants any 'Silentz' like offspring and lives in SE WA, I'm sure I'll have zillions again this year. The ones I did let grow were so vigorous and large that I know some tomatoes fell underneath and remained unharvested- seeding the ground for this season.
Years ago I lived in NY. I started tomato and peppers from seed on March 15, (mid-March). I have lived in Nebraska, and now Wyoming and still start them mid-March. WS, as I understand it, is mainly for seeds that need stratification and takes a long time to germinate, such as perennials. Nothing is gained with WS tomatoes or peppers. Both are tropical plants. They also need warm temperature to sprout.
This year I am WS Iris and Clematis seeds since they both need stratification and time to sprout. I am also doing Daylily seeds as a trial though I have them germinating easily in the house after a cold treatment.
Here they are in individual plastic containers with moist peatmoss, then placed in a bin on the north side of my house.