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Article: Use the Winter Sowing Method to Grow a Rainbow of Annual Flowers: milk containers?

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Forum: Article: Use the Winter Sowing Method to Grow a Rainbow of Annual FlowersReplies: 25, Views: 228
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Poetinwood
Council Hill, OK

March 1, 2010
11:37 AM

Post #7596420

Hi Critter, I'm curious how you are using the milk jugs. top cut to 4" and taped back on; holes drilled in bottom for drainage, or not? Partially buried in ground? Screw off lid for ventilation; small amount of tape so as to remove top for ventilation? I'd like to try your best method.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

March 1, 2010
2:59 PM

Post #7596725

There's a link near the top of the article to a previous article I did that covers the basics of winter sowing, including what I do with my containers... http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/585/

Happy sowing!
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

March 2, 2010
9:11 PM

Post #7600315

I personally find 2 liter soda bottles easier to work with and control the amount of seeds sown, and you use less soil.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

March 2, 2010
9:16 PM

Post #7600333

I use those, also... depends on what I'm sowing. If I have a bunch of dianthus seeds or columbines that I know I'll want to split up, I like a gallon jug or even a big foil roaster pan with a dome... I can break out clumps and transplant them to pots or cell packs, then have nice sized transplants for the garden.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

March 3, 2010
2:44 AM

Post #7601128

Foil roaster with a dome. Where do you get the dome? I think that's a good idea. I use the smaller containers to try to limit myself as to how many seedlings I have to plant. I am wanting a bunch of snapdragons this year.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

March 3, 2010
3:29 AM

Post #7601235

The dollar store sells deep lasagna type roasting pans with clear plastic domes. :-)
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

March 3, 2010
4:59 AM

Post #7601450

Thanks. I will check that out. I have a few annuals I want a "lot" of.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

March 3, 2010
5:04 AM

Post #7601465

If you use anything a bit on the shallow side (less than 4 inches of soil depth), you should consider adding a pinch of polymer moisture crystals to your potting mix... using those, I've been able to winter sow in the same take-out containers I use to start seeds inside, with no more than 2 inches of soil depth (some watering with the hose is necessary).
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

March 3, 2010
2:38 PM

Post #7602062

The crystals is a good idea. Any tips on using the hose on tiny seeds and plants? I have trouble with them moving around too much.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

March 4, 2010
5:08 AM

Post #7603883

I often water mostly from the bottom, putting containers in trays (ones with slow leaks work great for this) or cardboard boxes... I can fill them up with hose, and they slowly drain, so the containers can soak up plenty of water but don't end up sitting in it. Larger seedlings do well with the fine "shower" setting on my hose sprayer.
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

March 4, 2010
3:31 PM

Post #7604182

I have done that also. Trays without the slow leaks are kind of a pain. Maybe I should just put some holes in the trays and keep them for watering. Cardboard boxes fall apart, but it does work.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

March 4, 2010
4:05 PM

Post #7604219

yep, cardboard boxes are just good for 1 season, and don't try to move them after they've been wet a few times LOL

I find the flimsier black plastic trays develop their own slow leaks after a few years and are then ideal for this... but it certainly works to just poke little holes in the corners. :-)
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

April 22, 2010
12:34 PM

Post #7727661

birder17 ~ I have W/Sown snaps outside in produce containers that blueberries came in and I covered the containers with produce plastic bags. As soon as they germinated, the bags came off. Once the bags are off, it is important to check the moisture level daily, especially if it is windy and/or warm. The smaller, shallow containers I threw out as they could not contain enough soil to keep the moisture in, but the slightly deeper ones are great. It takes quite a while for snaps. Sometimes you can take them inside after being outside and they will germinate faster...I am still experimenting with this as I like to be able to skip the hardening off process. I have calendulas, bachelor buttons, alyssum, lettuce, parsley, broccoli all growing outside on my shelves. Once they are large enough, I transfer them to cell packs.

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critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

April 22, 2010
2:16 PM

Post #7727849

Berry containers (with their larger holes) just seem to dry out too fast for me, but I've been able to use other shallow container by adding polymer moisture crystals to my potting mix (watering every day or two is still needed in warm weather).
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

April 22, 2010
8:20 PM

Post #7728871

Thanks, Jill.

Outside, I did not have any drying out problem, but inside I did. I scrapped the very shallow containers, and just use the deeper ones now. I lost quite a few in the beginning, as I am learning...still, since I am sowing so many, I don't feel the loss too much...a little..LOL ☺
In fact, I have a surplus of tomatoes...I guess I deal with it when the weather warms up enough to plant them. On relatively nice days, I take them outside for an airing, and then bring them in. A lot of them are in the cold basement under lights, and so far, doing well. Most of the tomatoes are now in 3" pots, as I transplanted them from the plastic boxes, into cell packs and then into 3" pots. I have a few cell packs that were sown later, since I did not sow them all at once. I am running out of room and that is why I am sowing what I can outside. Only when the daytime temps are 35 do I cover them at night, otherwise they are on their own and doing well.

Evelyn

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critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

April 23, 2010
5:46 AM

Post #7729474

pretty photo! We had some lovely snowfalls like that this winter... but I'm glad to see the warm sun this spring.

I always seem to end up with extra tomatoes also... if I want to be sure of having 2 plants of a variety, I sow 4 or 5 seeds... and then most germinate... and I have a hard time throwing out extras, so I pot them up! Somebody always wants them. :-)
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

April 23, 2010
2:19 PM

Post #7730707

Oh, Jill ~ I have learned a few things after I started this adventure of "reuse', since I could not recycle these items. The smallest ones I threw out, as they were way too shallow and dried up, so I lost quite a few, especially the ones in the house with heat under them.

The next thing I learned...they leaked all over, so I lined the bottoms with newpaper, as the soil got all over (in the house) as well as they might have contributed to drying as well. But usuing the slightly larger and/or deeper ones, those were quite successful, and I will continue with them until they wear out and/or run out...though not likely as we will continue to buy small fresh fruit...esp strawberries, now that there is a glut of them in the market.

So, the larger seeds can go right into cell pack and I can cover them...but I have tried these plastic boxes first with good results, not counting the others with not so good results...
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

April 23, 2010
4:10 PM

Post #7730919

Thanks for sharing your experience! I've got a stash of salad bar type takeout containers (about 6 inches square, holds just an inch or two of mix which is enough if I use the crystals and poke smallish holes), so that's what I've been using for indoor seed starting trays. Outside, this year I've just got jugs... but I've also used foil casserole dishes, and I've tucked things like berry boxes or regular pots inside storage containers (with holes in the lid and more holes a quarter inch up from the bottom for drainage).
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

April 23, 2010
5:19 PM

Post #7731050

What we folks without greenhouses will do, huh?
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

April 23, 2010
7:41 PM

Post #7731431

LOL... DH calculated the cost for running heaters & fans in a small greenhouse and told me I should just keep adding light shelves in the basement instead. :-)
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

April 23, 2010
11:04 PM

Post #7731970

OK, then I will grow ourside on the shelves, and when it is hot, I will grow in the nice cool basement, with more lights and more shelves, and a couple more fans to keep the air circulating as it is stuffy if the door is closed.

I will think of a green house, just in my dreams, but keep my feet on the ground during the day...☺
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

April 24, 2010
3:57 AM

Post #7732088

LOL
birder17
Jackson, MO
(Zone 6b)

April 25, 2010
6:40 PM

Post #7736868

Critter: read your article about winter sow containers. You mentioned "winter sow data base" forum. How do you get to that from "home"? There's so much to DG and I am learning more and more areas. I have a heck of a time figuring out how to find stuff.
Also, how do you enter information about germinating seeds on the "winter sow data base"?
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

April 26, 2010
5:17 AM

Post #7737806

I don't know if IB (DG's new owner) is continuing development on that database. I've got the link bookmarked; it's here: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/ws/ I don't think they've added a link to the home page yet. You can add a report at the bottom of a plant's PlantFiles entry.

:-)
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

April 27, 2010
9:34 PM

Post #7744108

Who is IB??(The new owner..?)
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

April 28, 2010
6:13 AM

Post #7744700

Internet Brands

:-)

There are threads in the DG forum about the changeover.

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Other Article: Use the Winter Sowing Method to Grow a Rainbow of Annual Flowers Threads you might be interested in:

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No Wonder birder17 3 Mar 2, 2010 9:16 PM


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