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Winter Sowing: Beginner question about when to uncover

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Forum: Winter SowingReplies: 12, Views: 137
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kellydz
Richland, MI
(Zone 5b)

March 21, 2011
4:27 PM

Post #8441425

I did some wintersowing for the first time this year. Most of what I have read here and elsewhere says to uncover the containers once they germinate. Well I used a variety of containers and there are a few where something in it has germinated and a different seed hasn't. So is it better to err on the side of keeping things covered for the not yet germinated or go for uncovering for the ones who have sprouted? I am in Zone 5 so some days are in the 50s but some nights are still below freezing. Any help would be appreciated!
tggfisk
Garner, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 22, 2011
3:15 AM

Post #8442304

I wouldn't uncover with temps like that. I don't do it until things are much warmer.
kellydz
Richland, MI
(Zone 5b)

March 22, 2011
10:44 AM

Post #8443045

That is kind of what I was worried about but I am so confused because a lot of the established perennials in my beds are coming up too so I wonder if they will all die back with the freezing temps. I find the winter part of wintersowing easier than the spring part!
NisiNJ
Bordentown, NJ
(Zone 7a)

March 22, 2011
3:09 PM

Post #8443490

Are you sure you weren't reading about what to do when seedlings germinate indoors? That's the situation where you definitely uncover the seedlings after they germinate. This is only my third year WS (and on a very limited scale) so I am no expert, but I do think you keep the container covered until the weather warms up, especially since it's vented and is getting some circulation that way.

I WS'd tomatoes and a few germinated already. Now they are forecasting winter weather tomorrow! I'm not worried about the ones that haven't germinated yet, but should I cover the whole flat with a blanket since tomatoes are so tender?
kellydz
Richland, MI
(Zone 5b)

March 22, 2011
7:13 PM

Post #8443978

I think I read it a few times in various wintersowing threads. That once you see green to go ahead and uncover them. I know the reasoning when you sow indoors is related to fungus and too much moisture. But I don't know if that is also a factor with wintersowing. But I figured I would just keep the covers on for the next week since we are seeing a return to winter as well. And then I will check and see how they look after that. Trying to take a laid back approach to this since I was told that it what is best about wintersowing -- not having to babysit things.
cathy4
St. Louis County, MO
(Zone 5a)

March 24, 2011
10:58 AM

Post #8447387

Kelly, I'm zone 5 and I don't uncover right away, I leave them safe in their little jugs until the weather is warmer at night. The plants seem to know not to grow too much, they are nice and stocky when I finally take them out. I have things that have sprouted already, but we are in the 30s today with no sun. They will be just fine until mid April, our last frost date. Then I just open the tops, I don't plant anything here until the beginning of May.
kellydz
Richland, MI
(Zone 5b)

March 24, 2011
3:38 PM

Post #8447983

Thanks for the advice Cathy. It is nice to have a better time-frame to go on now.

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

March 31, 2011
4:16 AM

Post #8462052

Kelly -- i probably dont take the lids off completely until May. obviously -- weather depending. but by that time, our nights are not as COLD and day time temps are warm.

reading Kathy's post... our timing is about the same.. generally, the only thing planted out before early May is Poppies.

The past few yrs, we have not had cold snaps in May... I've been lucky [i guess] that i've been able to plant out at the end of April into the first week of May without too much loss.

This year i'll be planting second week of May -- just due to obligations -- i can't do anything until then.

But leave your lids on for another good month or so.
kellydz
Richland, MI
(Zone 5b)

March 31, 2011
8:20 AM

Post #8462519

Thanks for the response. I have lots of things germinating but it is still very cold here at night so I have taken everyone's advice and am leaving them covered. I am hoping to be able to do some end of April planting too but we will have to see if the weather permits.
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

April 4, 2011
4:57 AM

Post #8470585

Read back over Trudi's website and also others in the wintersowing forums. You need to also wait for two sets of true leaves before you plant out and warmer temperatures. Check your containers to make sure they are not dry. If in doubt, bottom water or spray water in them with a spray bottle. Bottom water is better. The soil in the flowerbeds or containers you're going to transplant into needs to be warm and in your area, it's not going to be warm enough for at least another month or even May. Follow the lead and advice of somebody that wintersows in your zone.. We all have a tendency to become impatient the first year we wintersow. "Been there and have done that!" It's a normal reaction.
kellydz
Richland, MI
(Zone 5b)

April 4, 2011
9:41 AM

Post #8471169

Thanks Pippi. I am not too concerned about the actual planting as I learned my lesson last year by planting a few nursery purchased plants too early. I am going to give my WS containers plenty of time to grow in their protected state before moving them to the garden. I did read through Trudi's site and I think I have a pretty good plan now. Definitely following your advice to work with the same general schedule as others in my zone.
6aseeder
Arlington, MA
(Zone 6a)

April 6, 2011
12:25 PM

Post #8476232

when the sun makes my car too hot, i open my WS seed containers for the day.
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

April 6, 2011
7:08 PM

Post #8477172

My california poppies and Patty's plum poppy is ready to come out of the jug, especially the Calif. poppies. They are really tall and almost crammed in the jug. I'm going to have to plant them out. I opened the milk jug open on Monday for a few hours or at least 4 hrs. and let it get used to being out of the jug. Did same thing this afternoon with Patty's purple plum poppy. I will keep the top of the milk jug to put over the plants at night if temps. drop.
I have poppies that I wintersowed in 2010 that have returned nicely and really growing. Does that mean the new seedlings will be okay during the daytime if temps are 50 and 60's and above. It was 82 on Monday. What a beautiful day but it got really windy with rain during the night and wee hours.

I think I read that Jill(aka Critter)doesn't start her wintersowing until the first week of Feb. or GroundHog's Day. Maybe she's got the right idea..Maybe I'll wait till Feb. 3rd,(my husband's birthday) to start next year(2012). That starting date will be easy to remember.

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Other Winter Sowing Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Winter Sowing Seed Swap .....part 2 alicewho 213 Mar 23, 2007 1:01 PM
Lessons learned for next year #2 zenpotter 256 Mar 23, 2007 7:56 AM
Milk jugs TurtleChi 99 Mar 19, 2007 12:20 PM
WS Poppies & transplant problems marie_ 100 May 11, 2011 4:44 PM
Database germination info bluespiral 6 Mar 5, 2008 12:23 PM


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