Beginner question about when to uncover

Richland, MI(Zone 5b)

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!

Garner, NC(Zone 7b)

I wouldn't uncover with temps like that. I don't do it until things are much warmer.

Richland, MI(Zone 5b)

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!

Bordentown, NJ(Zone 7a)

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?

Richland, MI(Zone 5b)

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.

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

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.

Richland, MI(Zone 5b)

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

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

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.

Richland, MI(Zone 5b)

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.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

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.

Richland, MI(Zone 5b)

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.

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

when the sun makes my car too hot, i open my WS seed containers for the day.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

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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