Please know I am not being sarcastic or facetious in asking this question. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around winter sowing in places with no cold or snow...
When did you sow the meconopsis outdoors and at what temps? Are they in cell packs?
They are a challenge and you should be proud!
I take no offense, we do get cold weather for several months during Winter, but not like yours, and we get snow and freezing rain. This past Winter we had a snowstorm that shut the city down for a week, because they didn't have the equipment to clear the roads. Some of the seeds that were first sown needed stratification, like the poppies and the delphiniums. I haven't done my annuals yet because we can have frost dates into April and sometimes May. I enjoyed the ws process as it gave me an opportunity to play in the dirt during winter and give my seeds a headstart. I now have plants almost ready to go into the garden that I did not pay a lot of money from at a nursery center. This is my first year doing winter sowing and I'll definitely do it again next year. I don't have room to start seeds under lights so this process worked well for me and as stated it was successful. Some of the poppies shown were sown in flats and the meconopsis was sown in an OJ bottle that was clear, with the top left off so that it would get watered if it rained or snowed. It was the last container to germinate although it was sown in early January, and I understand that poppies should have been sown in the fall. Some of the people in this forum live in TX, zone 8 and above and also winter sow as well. Best regards in AK, it was beautiful when I visited some of the cities several years ago, and the gardens that I saw were gorgeous. If you winter sow, which seeds do you use? Annette
Annette...Considering my mom is in Columbus and my brother is in Union City, I guess I should know you do get snow down there. Guess I just forget and think it's a one day and unusual occurrence. I didn't realize you'd get frost dates as late in the season as you do.
I also do delphs, poppies (no luck with the meconopsis, though), malvas, lavatera's and misc other's with variable success each year. The first year I ws'd, I put things out in January at 40° below zero. Seeds did germinate, but the novelty of that wore off fast so now I wait till March/April when we are still below zero at night, but in the 20-30's above during the day. Much more pleasant for me tromping them out in the snow...
I realized today, in my mind I equate wsing with burying the containers in snow for protection and for snow melt because that is how I have to do it, but that's not exactly the case elsewhere. I do know zones 7/8 ws and it just seems odd to me...LOL
Yes, we are able to grow some beautiful (and over-sized) flowers and vegetables up here. Seems each area of the country has been given it's own allotment by Mother Nature. Southerns long for delphs which almost grow wild up here and I want hibiscus, Bird of Paradise and all sorts of warm weather, long summer tropicals...LOL
I love the tropical plants as well, and grow those in pots, just to get my taste of home, I'm from Jamaica originally. I'll try anything with plants, and just overall love to garden. Say hi the next time you're in GA. Annette
Annette, this is your first year of trying Wintersowing? You could have fooled me. Just look at those beauties; those babies look like they should be put in the ground but like you said you may get a killing frost in late April or early May. Those sprouts really look nice and healthy and I'm so proud of your accomplishments. Folks, watch out for her next year. She's going to be competing in the zone wars! Congrats! I would say she's hooked!
I'm going to collect my milk bottles much earlier. I find they keep the moisture better than the flats placed in plastic bags and the seedlings have more room to grow. I used an old steak knife that was heated to cut my containers and this worked well. I liked the Miracle Grow potting mix, to which I added Perlite, but I need to sift the larger chunks in it. I think the seedlings would do better with less bark/debris in the mix. I would collect seeds earlier also. This was fun and I've got a lot of people who want to ws next year. I keep showing them pictures of the seedlings and everyone realizes how much money they'll save growing from seeds.
There used to be a thread about what the lessons people had learned from their first year of wintersowing and what they would do differently the next year. This is how we all learn, a lot of trial and error and experience. Wintersowing helps to chase the winter blahs especially when one lives where they get a lot of snow and ice and really bitter cold weather. Start collecting your milk jugs during the summer, if you have storage room for them. I have limited storage space but I found that I could store 9(1/2 gal size)milk jugs in one of those plastic milk crates. You can buy them at K-Mart, Walmart, Target, I even found some at the office supply places but at thrift stores. They can be stacked one on top of each other. I've read where some people continue to collect their milk jugs during the summer/fall and run a rope through the handle and hang them up in like a storage shed or garage. One thing I did was save the tops(caps)put a piece of dryer sheet inside and put cap back on, the jug stays clean inside, no spiders can crawl in, and they smell nice. I've even rolled up a few sheets of paper toweling and stored inside and put the milk cap back on until ready to use. When you see an old mini-blind at a thrift store or put out for trash pick-up..grab it. I was able to buy a brand new one at a Thrift store for $3..and I bought some of those milk crates for $1.91 at Value village store. You mentioned buying your seeds ahead of time. watch your dates on the seeds. You can order in Dec. from some of the seed co. I ordered back in Dec. from Crosman Seeds and they were packed for this year. They sell seeds at 1950 prices and all have germinated that I got from them. See if you can find thread I mentioned and you'll recognize some others made the same mistakes and learned the same things you have. Wintersowing becomes an addiction; I'm warning you. Teach others and it's even more fun. Look for a book called Seed Sowing and Saving seeds by Carole B.Turner. I just checked it out of the public library and found it to be wonderful, and in layman's language with pictures showing you how. Another great book is put out on propagation by the AHS..it's a bit pricy but it covers everything. I recently checked out from the library The propagator's Bible which I like. I'm going to look for some of these books at a used book store or buy used to save money. You'll become more aware of flowers and don't be afraid to ask a friend, neighbor or if you walk in other neighborhoods and see somebody working out in their yard and you admire their flower gardens, start up a conversation with them about their flowers. Good way to acquire new plants to start cutting from. Enjoy this new found hobby and share with others.
Thanks Pippi, I'm definitely addicted to ws. I even bought more seed yesterday that I'm going to sow on Friday when I have some time. I still haven't done my vegies yet either. Will be doing my last set of containers this weekend. This has been such a treat to learn a new gardening method, and don't worry, I've told many people about ws. Thanks for the book information as well. Annette
This is my third year of wintersowing, and it is just sooo exciting when it works! I couldn't resist sharing, and sending a "thank you" to all of you who have shared your pictures and info with me in the past. This first picture was taken in early February.
I think I sowed about ninety cartons so far. Most of them are flowers, with just a few veggies that I am trying. I also tried some seeds that I saved and some of them are sprouting! I can't wait for the rest of the snow to melt so I can peek in all of the cartons. We are supposed to have warmer weather for the next week and I am hoping that our winter is ending. It has been long and cold.
I'd like to try wintersowing some tomato seeds this week to see if it works. Yesterday I sowed the tomatoes indoors, under lights, and I have great luck with that.
I still need to do my tomatoes and peppers, I going to do those in flats since it's a little warmer here. It's been raining and chilly the past few days, but we should warm up again by the weekend. Hopefully, I can get the rest of the seeds sown by Thursday.
slopesower...what a nice, neat lineup of your sown jugs. What type of marker did you use on the outside..it is very bold and clear and easy to see from afar? Do you also number your jugs somewhere that I can't see them in the picture? I don't see any tape around them, how are they being held together or is it not visable in the photo?
Hi guys. I am a first year ws'er. Unfortunately I had the few I tried get rolled by wind. I retrieved them and put them in my cold frame sitting on my deck. At least they will stay upright. But what about water. i wet them down when I planted them in March, but with lids, they have/will dry out. I also left flats out in the garden with poppy seeds (including meconopsis) last fall. Can't find them now since I still have at least a foot of snow out there, more thanks to a big dump two days ago. Should I take off lids and rewater??
They look pretty dry to me. i will check. Big wind today and it even shifted my cold frame on the deck. Fortunately I have snow there and a big outdoor pot full of dirt so it didn't move far. I had my containers snugged against the back of the garage tucked behind a rock in the flower bed in front. Guess the wind just sort of swooped down behind. Should have known better. First year is for learning. :)
I have growth but sort of cheated. I took one of the little pots into the garage a few days ago, and spritzed it yesterday (along with the ones outside in the cold frame) and this morning I have growth. Predictably the growth is all on one side since the seeds got rolled there but IT LIVES!! I am so excited. I am leaving the others outside though to continue the WS trial. I have two containers of the type seed I took in, so it will be interesting to see what happens to the other one. Almost (not really) makes up for losing all my bushes including three tree peonies to mice this winter.
I also start seed in aerogardens. Went a little nutso several years ago and decided it would be just the berries for starting seeds in Alaska. It does work, but doubt it was worth what I paid for three of the darned things. I have the styrofoam inserts that allow me to plant 72 plugs per machine. Brings to mind the saying "more money than sense." lol
Hooray! We've had snow again, but I was able to get a good peek today, and only 12 of the 90 jugs don't show any sprouts. What's really exciting is that the seeds I saved last fall have sprouted both in the jugs and inside under lights. I am new to seed saving and didn't have much faith that they would grow. This gardening business is soooo addicting. I started a couple years ago with a few purchased tomato and pepper plants in a small plot and now my garden is about 1000 square feet. I am growing all of my flowers and veggies from seed, under lights, and wintersowing. And now I can't wait to start collecting more seeds. And, now that I am getting more confident with wintersowing, I can do fewer things under lights. It's so much easier.
Pippi, I used a paint pen from Michaels to label my jugs. I've been really pleased it. I've tried other things and the writing faded by the end of the season.
I punched a hole in the top and bottom of the jug and used a twist tie to hook them together. But, I'm wondering if I should use a wide tape of some kind to close them up. It seems like it would insulate them better.
the flats I left on the garden path finally came to light. full of ice and snow. I got two dug out and brought into the garage. drilled the holes I should have had last year and drained them but the soil is all jumbled due to the ice. One of the three I just upended in the garden and said 'fly, be free, go forth and multiply on your own." lol the other two are under the grow lights to further dry out, with a warming pad under one just to see if it makes any difference. All others are still in the cold frame that gets to 80f during the day if I have sun. Very interesting experiment all around.
I used a heated steak knife to do the holes in my jug and kitchen shears to cut them open. After the soil was moistened and the seed sown, I resealed them with packing tape since I didn't have duct tape at the time and the packing tape has kept them sealed going on 3 months. I agree with slopesower that a paint pen works the best, which I also got from Michaels, and the handwriting hasn't faded yet.
I guess I just have to be patient. We are still less than 30F at night for the most part, and yesterday it only got to 60F during the day in the sun. My cold frame heats up nicely usually but never got above 70 yesterday. nothing has sprouted. :(