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Hello everyone, I'm new to Dave's Garden and also to winter sowing. I just wanted to check with some more experienced winter sowers before putting my seeds outside! So today I:
filled my cut on 3 sides water gallon containers with 3 to 4" of pro mix that I wet before use. The water gallons have the small round top removed.
I cut holes in the bottoms for drainage. (Before I cut the 3 sides, or added soil!)
I labed, inside and out.
I placed seeds according to directions... covered lightly, pressed into soil, etc.
I am planning on taping them shut as soon as I get my duct tape! (tomm. am., I forgot the duct tape.)
I am in zone 7b, just outside of DC.
Seeds I've started so far:
Echinacea... Purple Coneflower
Echinacea Pow Wow Wildberry
Echinacea White Swan
Echinacea. Prarie Splendor
California Poppy, White
English daisy, Habanera Mix
Columbine, Origami Pink and White
Ca. Poppy Milk Maid Thai Silk
Aquilegia Dorthy Rose
Aquilegia Winky Double Rose and White
I"m not sure if it's too late or not for some of these. It seems like you winter sowers with experience know when to put out what seeds.
I'd like to winter sow:
French or Butterfly Lavender
Lupin, Dwarf Fairy Pink
Lupin Russell Noble Maid White
Garland Daisy Seeds... Chysanthemum coronarium
MilkMaid Butterfly Weed
Silky Gold Butterfly Weed
Hollyhock, Halo White
I'm not 100% sure if I should start these now?
I have some more tender seeds, that I think I will sow in the milk gallons in March? Anyone got a recommendation?
4 O'Clock Fairy Trumpets'
Purple prairie Clover Seeds
Bee Balm? Wild Bergamot
Penta Starla White
a Japanese Morning Glory
Cosmos Sonata White
Cosmos Double Click White
Clary Sage, Salvia sclarea var. turkestanica
Salva-Annual Clary "Blue Denim"
Lavatera "Pink Blush"
Bodegold German Chamomile
Benary's Giant White Zinnia
Benary's Giant Lilac
Marigold Vanilla Improved Hybrid
Sweet Pea 'Royal Family Perfume Cloud White"
Grass, Pink Paint Brush
Lambs Tail, Joey
Nicotiana, deep purple
Hollyhoch, Soring Celebrities, Lemon
Paper Daisy Acroclinum
plus lots of basil... lots
I sowed some Holly Hock Halo White today, and also Sweet Pea White... I also put a slip of paper, with the name of the seeds, inside a small baggie, (used for beads,) and slipped it up into the handle of the milk gallon. I read about a lot of peoples writing fading...
Welcome to DG. Joined myself in October. I've read a lot of the winter sowing threads and the sticky. There's also a winter sowing website. Perennials are done first. Annuals are sown later, when risk of frost has diminished. I started some containers in January, the hollyhocks sprouted in 2 weeks, despite the cold weather. The poppies have also sprouted. I planted my last containers of perennials today. DG has amazing information in the large variety of plant forums available. Wishing you much success with your winter sowing.
Out of the first bunch... the Columbines take a LONG time to germinate.
I only did them one year -- probably sown in Feb and did not germinate until June. so, dont lose hope on them... jsut leave'em be and they will germinate when ready.
the Silky GOld is an annual, but that's OK, it to will germinate when the soil gets warm enough. Just if any annuals germinate early and you are expecting a hard/killing frost, protect the containers... i draped a blanket over them for a few nights ... but I also found my silky golds this fall withstood a few light frosts in Nov.
As Cem stated... usually do your annuals more into March ... but i've had decent luck doing them in Feb... all depends on it you get a cold snaps in April or so.
Morning Glories will not withstand a frost... may want to wait on those
Lambs Tail, Joey... i never had luck germinating them
Zinnias will germinate in less than a week if you do them closer to spring... zone7, you can probably do them in early March.
I was having a busy day yesterday, my grand daughter was sick. I see I didn't post the pic with the duct tape... LOL.
I guess I will wait for March to do the annuals. I did do the Sweet Pea yesterday, and maybe the Lupins I have today? It's sooooo exciting to see all the plants everyone starts on this site. I think the sticky is very helpful. I was going to use potting soil, and then read about Pro-mix working better! Thank goodness. I'm just an anxious gardener, and WS is new to me. Is there a rule of thumb for more tender annuals? Like to start 2 weeks before last frost date or something? That's what I'm having trouble with. I am going to wait to do my herbs, at least a little while. My DH will kill me if my seeds don't start and I BUY plants in the spring!
This is very exciting for me. I have a dog, a cat, and a grand daughter, (2) running around, so in gallons outside is a big space saver for me. I have stayed away from some seeds that need cold in the past, it was a little intimidating. WS seems easy compared to that.
Thanks for the tip about the Columbines. I would have hated to throw them out, and miss the plants! I bought some from Bluestone last year, and they did very well for me. So I'm really hoping for these to get going.
Wild Bergamot you can do now... it will not bloom until second year and put it where you dont mind if it 'wanders' -- it throws A LOT of seeds and if you do not want volunteers thru-out the bed... dead head it. [Butterflies LOVE it, just like all Monardas]
There are a lot of annuals in that list, and some i have no idea what they are.
Annuals, wait a bit ... there is a "Mid Atlantic" Forum... many of those gals WS too... you can probably ask more "location" specific questions there... Critterologist is a good one to ask... she's in MD i think.
4 O'Clocks do not really like to be transplanted... either do it when they are very small, or just push the seeds in the ground where you want them to come up. and once you have 4-O'C's, you will always have them.
Grasses i've not had much luck with either - maybe i was too impatient and pitched them too soon.
Marigolds and Zinns wait on a month or so. they will germinate quickly once it warms up. Same with Cosmos.
do you have the latin names on these? they are much easier to look up that way.
If the Lav is a Perennial... go a head and sow it.
and look at it this way... when a plant is in the garden, at the end of the season, it drops it's seeds... they sit on the ground, in the elements all winter [hopefully not eaten by birds or critters] they sit on the frozen ground, possibly get pushed into the soil a bit - snowed on, rained on ... and they germinate when the temps / soil warms up. they usually dont rot. Just think of winter sowing in the same way... BUT they are in a mini green house, protected from the major elements [wont blow away or wash away or get eaten] -- they will germinate when ready.
the only seeds I ever had rot were -- i read the directions on the seed packet which said, Nick and Soak ... all those rotten - i think because they were softened before they went in the container/soil.
I do not do anything special to the winter sown seeds... and they do just fine.
Thanks for letting me know I could sow the Wild Bergamot now. It's so much fun, I just want to keep sowing more everyday!
I think I'll wait and do 1/2 the 4 O'Clocks when I do my other more tender annuals, and then start 1/2 direct sow when it really warms up. I've not done them for about 16 years, but these are very pretty... Select Seeds I think? Anyway I couldn't resist. It's funny how if I don't do a seed or plant for years; it seems like I am learning all over again!
I also have Huerchera Tiramisu and Caramel. Last year I had Morning Glory Black Knight as well! I really loved it. this year I am doing some pink and purple M.G... Lets see,
M.G. Split Second, and M.G. Murasakihige. I wanted to try these, the forms are new to me.
I WS'ed Nicotiana once.. the white ones. it did well, but I honestly didnt care for the 'lankiness' of the plant, so i think i pulled it... it was 4-5 yrs ago... i see i was given some reds and some purples in the seed swap .. so guess i'll be trying them again.
With WS you wont experience damp off.
not sure what happened to my Heucheras last year.. i've had success with them before.
as for the Peat disks... I've read that some people do use them for plants that dont like their roots messed with... so it would solve that. I also wonder... if you direct sow the 4-O'C's if you'd need to nick and soak -- they do have a pretty hard shell. the ones that sit out all winter - the shells get soft from being frozen and wet all winter.
you can always do it twice if you want... some now, some later.
again -- the only time it will be an issue is.. If you get a warm up and they germinate and then you get a killing frost in say April or so... but -- if they do germinate, and you are going to get a hard frost... just protect them on the freezing nights.
So- it is really up to you.
when is your approx last frost date? are you end of April or early May?
I guess I need to hit the net and find out how many weeks till bloom, for my annuals, and then figure out my growing season. One year I planted some veggies that needed a longer season than I had! Or started too late... I want lots of flowers!
[quote]Just checking are you guys using reg potting soil or Promix?[/quote]
Bluegrass, I've used everything from MiracleGro, to Promix, to Faffard potting mix, and a few others. I try to use a "higher-quality" mix rather than the really cheap stuff. I've had good luck with all of 'em. I do make sure that it's all container potting mix , not actual garden soil--mostly because the mix often has better drainage than my plain old dirt. But you have to wonder then how Mother Nature manages to sow HER seeds! LOL
[quote]again -- the only time it will be an issue is.. If you get a warm up and they germinate and then you get a killing frost in say April or so... but -- if they do germinate, and you are going to get a hard frost... just protect them on the freezing nights.[/quote]
TCS is right about the problems that a late Spring killing frost might have on germinating jugs--but as she says, you can protect them. A few years ago we had a late April frost and I just threw some cheap blankets over my jugs of germinating annuals for a few nights. The little sprouts were fine.
Where did you find the Fafard potting mix and how recent? I've been waiting for shipments to come in so had to resolve to use old MG again but this time I added perlite and a small amount of seed starting mix with it. I say you are hooked now..where will you put all these flowers if they all germinate? I'm in your area, I wouldn't count on those frost dates..unless we get a summer like last, with lots of rainy spring and right into summer temperatures. The calendar may say Spring on March 20 but the soil won't warm up until almost May7 or 10th. I have planted starter plants before May and they didn't make it or had a very slow start because the soil temperature was too cold..it was like shock to them.
Pippi, I Googled the Fafard potting mix website and found a list of retailers in MD--maybe one of these is close to you? You can then click on the "products" tab on this page and read about the different Fafard mixes. I've always had good luck with Fafard for all my containers--houseplants, Earth Boxes, patio plants, so I trust it.
But then, Miracle Gro has been fine when I run out of Fafard and use IT for my wintersowing jugs. Your "mix" sounds good.
You're right about my having a LOT of WS seedlings to plant--it takes me a while, that's for sure! And our soil here on the Cape doesn't really warm up until after Memorial Day so I generally wait till then to plant out WS seedings though they are already pretty well hardened off. As so many have mentioned, the WS plant-lets may be smaller than nursery-grown ones at FIRST but they catch up fast!
I love nicotianas and WS all of them. I have zero luck with starting them indoors, but they WS beautifully. I use Pro-Mix with something to prevent damping off, I dumped the bag into a couple of rubbermaid tubs or I'd check for you. I love it.
Penelope, mine are already WS'd. They reseed pretty well on their own, really. I just WS new varieties, or when I am not sure about last year's "crop" and want to have enough seedlings for a specific planting. Last year was my first time growing N. mutabilis, so we'll see if they reseed.
Hi Celene, I have Nicotiana alata and Nicotiana Perfume Deep Purple. I love nicotiana also, but last year the only plant I had was one I picked up at our local nursery. Do you think I could WS these today? Last year I had good germination inside, like hundreds, but then they all died off while very small... (damping off? fungus? I'm not sure why.) I am in Md., close to DC. I'm hopeful because of your success with WSing them.
New seedlings are often subject to “damping off,” a fungal condition brought on by excessive dampness. One unique and inexpensive way you can prevent this is by dusting the top of the potting mix with powdered cinnamon. You may be surprised to learn that this spice, which is derived from the bark of a tropical tree, has excellent anti-fungal properties. It won’t stop the disease if it’s already taken hold, but it’ll keep it from taking hold in the first place. Other household ingredients that work well against damping off are weak chamomile tea and powdered charcoal.