I'm sure all of my questions have been asked and answered time and time again, but there are soooo many threads, and they seem to go hither and yon, and after almost an hour, I've decided to give up on that and just ask my questions. I'll understand if no one wants to take the time to answer something that's been already been answered, but here goes...
Can you winter sow both annuals and perennials?
Is there a minimum amount of time that seeds require to give them a good start before they need to be potted up?
Can you mix seeds when sowing, or is it better to use separate containers for separate varietes?
How many seeds do you plant in a gallon jug? (I have trade packets that have 20 - 30 seeds in them. Should I just scatter them across my soil, or is that too many/too few?)
Does one use soil free potting mix as when seed started in the house, or do you use soil ala Ma Nature?
Thanks for any help you can offer. I just decided to do this today, and now that I've decided to do it, I want to do it NOW! (Yoiks!)
Can you winter sow both annuals and perennials? YES! I've done both and they do well. You can even do veggies.
Is there a minimum amount of time that seeds require to give them a good start before they need to be potted up? To give them the best start, you probably should wait until they've got 3 or 4 sets of real leaves on them. That way you can see them after you've planted them and they're less likely to be eaten.
Can you mix seeds when sowing, or is it better to use separate containers for separate varietes? I would not mix seeds. I can only imagine what a disaster that would be! LOL I'd use separate containers for each seed.
How many seeds do you plant in a gallon jug? (I have trade packets that have 20 - 30 seeds in them. Should I just scatter them across my soil, or is that too many/too few?) Last year, I unloaded the whole package across the soil. Not a smart move as I had way too many seedlings crammed together and it was hard to thin. Lost many when I transplanted, too. This year I'm doing 5-9 seeds per jug.
Does one use soil free potting mix as when seed started in the house, or do you use soil ala Ma Nature? I use an organic potting mix. I've used soil from my garden, but that grew tons of weeds.
Oh, thank you so much for clearing up these issues for me! While I was awaiting a response, my neighbor's son cut down my 8 jugs and put holes in them for me. Now I am ready to fo.
Just one more question, further on: Is there a minimum amount of time that seeds require to give them a good start before they need to be potted up? To give them the best start, you probably should wait until they've got 3 or 4 sets of real leaves on them. That way you can see them after you've planted them and they're less likely to be eaten.
So, having answered the "minimum" issue, that begs the "maximum" issue... Can they just be left in there intil one is ready to pot up, or do they need to be removed when they get to a certain point?
My first plants grown in milk jugs were still there in Sept and the looked alright when I planted them out. This year I hope to overcome my scepticism and plant more containers. I want to try milkweeds, echi's, delphiniums, primroses, but I am already behind. I always start daylilies outside when it warms up or inside in peat jiffys but I may risk some seeds in winter sown containers.--------------------Weedy
I had one jug of dill and one jug of a white rock rose. The dill went crazy but I never got around to planting it, so it died. I totally forgot the jug and left it on the patio behind some stuff and found it last fall. It was sprouting! LOL The white rock rose never did do anything. It also stayed out on the patio and started growing after a string of 100º+ days and some fall rains.
One other thought, and I'm not sure everyone agrees on this, but if one wintersows the seeds, the seedlings are supposedly strong enough to go right into the garden with no interim 'potting up' process.
I never find it necessary to pot up seedlings, but maybe others do? I just use the HOS (hunk o' seedling) approach.
It's really not such a big deal since I'm just experimenting with a few things. I already have peas up in the garden, and lots of babies under growlights...kohlrabi, brussel sprouts, escarole, cabbage, Elfin Impatiens, tomatoes and a few misc other items. Next year I will winter dow earlier and see what happens going through the natural process.
It will be fun to see what does meander along, though!
Thank you for starting this thread! I, too, was getting bogged down wading through the other discussion. That said, I'm a WSing convert as of this season. In fact, I think I have the unofficial title of "WSing Cheerleader of 2010!"
Everything I started came through beautifully. Since I'm in a different Zone (9a), I'm getting ready to plant everything I WSed in January. I'm only doing veggies, 'cause I just never got around to sprinkling the flower seeds -- shoot!
Anyway, WSing is the easiest, singlemost productive seed germination process I've come across, and I don't ever want to go back to messing with lights inside again, with the exception of starting my bell pepper plants inside in January (a total timing mistake -- but a great mistake since my peppers will grow like gangbusters when they do get outside -- They're topping off at almost one foot and are about to start throwing blooms already).
I SOLD 7 of my WSed bells yesterday, and the buyer is still commenting on how healthy the seedlings are! Hoping to WS a LOT more veggies for $$ next season, only to break even on my own gardening expenses -- which means I'm selling those seedlings real cheap!
Check your local Starbucks or any other coffee shops in your area. I was hauling off milk jugs in large garbage bags, 20 at a time...
Here's another NEAT picture for your Winter Sowing inspiration!
P.S. I agree with Steph about the number of seeds per jug. Based on my experience with the tomatoes, I'll not plant more than 10 seeds per jug in the future.
STEPHANIE: You should enter that picture in the photo contest this year. Trust me -- it's a contender.
I need to get more lights so i can keep some coleus for next year; i didn't realize there were no trailers from seed. An interesting thing I discovered with the coleus seeds--I planted them in a "peaty" mix (gardeners supply organic). One seed accidentally got in the next cell that was coir (for the "well drained" preferring seeds). It is at least 3 x the size of the others. i don't really like the peaty mix anyway--I got some free because I gave it a bad review last year (it had lots of sticks and stuff so I only used it to pot up) and it seems really heavy and crusty.
back on topic, I am woefully behind WS. I had planned to have everything out by today, and it ain't gonna happen.