Why didn't I think of that? Wintersowing tips

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

This is my second year of wintersowing and I'm feeling more confident this year. Last year a lot of veteran wintersowers held my hand from afar, of which I am so greatful for. My goal this year was to only plant 36 (1/2 gal)milk jugs but this becomes an addiction and a challenge. I checked all of my 83 containers this morning and all but 12 have germination. Some I just sowed within last few weeks so I didn't expect germination in them yet. As I was browsing over past posted messages and/photos of wintersown jugs of others..that appear to be so neatly organized, I pick up some useful tips just by looking at photos and think to myself "Why didn't I think of that?". At looking at some photos, I find I can make it easier on myself to write the number of the sown jug up by the neck in large print/circled in bold black marker, instead of down lower. Just have to make sure when I do my handwritten spreadsheet that that number on the jug matches handwritten name of seed planted, and the inside plant marker matches. So far I haven't had any mis-matches but expect a few, because I even mentioned that on my handwritten copy. I am sure we can all learn from others just by looking at wintersown container photos. One thing I will not do next year is set any containers/crates on the concrete slab/breezeway because I think it gets way too cold there. Even thought they get light, those that I sowed 12/30 are slowly germinating. Some still haven't popped through. Next year I will do less. Now hear this, Pippi21 LESS in 2012! You all remind me in 2012 that I said this! Less ins 2012!

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

haha, too funny. 83? That makes me feel a little better. I started 100 tomato plants indoors and I only need 6 for my garden. Less in 2012 for me, too.

Carmel, IN(Zone 5b)

Pippi and Cathy4: I am in awe!!! I need only 10 tomato plants, and currently have 50 that have sprouted.

Only 12 WS jugs, but that will increase to about 50 by the time I get my annuals started in a few weeks.

I feel like a slacker here LOL

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

Mom, don't be impressed, I always get carried away when I start my veggies, wouldn't want anyone to be without.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Pippi -- i write the number on the top and bottom portions of my containers... then once the lid comes off permanently, i still know what the # is... made that mistake only once.

about half my containers i've put plant tags in too.

Columbus, OH

My lessons: I'm with Pippi. Start less. If my sister or my neighbor Jane or my gardening friends want me to start something, tell them to keep that pack of seed and get themselves a milk carton. Nor do I need 80 gazillion seedlings to trade. Limit to one gazillion, tops. Cathi, don't feel bad, I will grow 10 tomato plants, at least two of which are variegated and semi-ornamental, but I also started about 100 (indoors, not WS).

I know everyone loves milk cartons, I like flats much better. I'll use all flats next year. Newspaper pots rocked, I thought they'd disintegrate, but they didn't. Tape the lids to the flats. Use all 4" pot inserts in the flats, except lettuce and greens.

I wish I had a warmer place than cement, but that's what I've got. At least it's protected.

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

OH man ,I just realized ,Ive only written on the top 1/2 of my jugs..Better get some markers made !!! ive got 50 ws jugs1st time,hoping for the best..We will see.


Ive made oragomi newspaper pots that disinegrated fast,4 layers,I made 3 inch square an stapled them.dH might be makin some for me soon..LOL They are fun to make,I didnt have directions ,flew by the seat of my pants ,worked out well.

Columbus, OH

I'd love to know how to fold them. I'd actually prefer square pots to round!

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

Lets see if I can write directions ..LOL

Make 6x6 squares makes 2 inch,9x9 3inch
You are just doing folds now
fold in 3rds both ways ,this will give you a square in the middle of your fold lines.
Now make corner to corner folds both ways.
recrease all your folds,i think you will see how to fold it now,then staple them,we staple the corners of the paper before we fold , holds them together better while making the folds.

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Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

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Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

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Columbus, OH

Thanks so much for posting photos! That looks like origami even *I* can do!

Carmel, IN(Zone 5b)

Wow--that is impressive! Thanks for sharing this idea and such great directions. Even though I'm usually "craft impaired", I think I might be able to pull this off.

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

soo glad I could pass this along.

Cowden, IL(Zone 5a)

Thanks for the newspaper pot idea! I'm sooo doing that next year lol

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I've been saving paper coffee cups to give plants away in, but those look broader and shallower - a good thing.

I especially like the idea of giving plants away in some thing that will crumble fairly soon: some non-gardener who might otherwise have let them sit in a 3.5" pot until they died, may be motivated to get them into the ground before they spill mud on the floor!

Corey

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I have sent pots and pots north to Fairbanks with friend down visiting. Have mailed them too. Unfortunately my mil doesn't pay much attention. When I say blue poppies must be on the north side as the south side of the house will cook them up there --- well, south side it was and they all died. Will try to bring her some plants this year and plant them myself. I gave away almost all my extras last summer so not sure what will be left. I also like the paper cup idea. The ones I mailed I put the roots in plastic sandwhich bags and just laid them over on their sides. It's only a two or three day trip north, so that works.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I gave up and brought some of my WS containers into the garage. I am so afraid of losing all the nice poppy seed a DG'r sent last winter. In one day, with the warmth, they are popping all over. I will try again next fall and be much more careful. I feel like 'doubting thomas' bringing in the pots, but.....

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

stella -- out of curiosity.. what are your temps still like?

here in Wisc, we've almost been plunged back into winter... no fun at all. hopefully this weekend is supposed to warm back into the 50s... but i'm not having any fun at all.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

In coastal WA, the claim is that we'll get up to 65 tomorrow, for the first time this year.

Corey

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I think we are finally getting some of your icky weather. It was cold, windy, wet today. Struggled to 45 today and was 34 last night. It usually gets to about 50 in the sun if it is nice, but still fairly cold at night.
I was so happy that our weather was pretty nice for us considering what has been going on down south

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

OMG its 81 degrees this am ????? Whattt ???? this weather Is Freaking Me Out !!!
it has been 40 degrees all week long
I had poppies popping 4 weeks ago in my ws`d jugs,and we have had only a day or 2 of warmth an sun ,been cold and wet for weeks again.All my jugs are doing fine more things popping now even tho its been so cold,poppies are 4-5 inches tall doin well in thier lil greenhouse.

stella ,Id put them right back outside,It might not be too late ... We have been right back in winter all most ,cold enough to freeze the birdbath over nite. The milk jugs are protecting them..Unless you planted tender annuals ,if you planted perennials they should be fine..I think you are being over Protective of your youngins..LOL

This was my 1st year ws,very cool not worring about the jugs ..Other than water,only had to water once so far,that should be changing soon.


The origami pots are fun to make also ,use as many layers you like,they most definitly degrade very well...

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Partly overprotective, Hugger, and partly just plain impatient. This morning the coldframe the containers are in was 37F. So I am sure it never get below freezing. There has been much growth in the indoor greenhouse in the last two or three days, so maybe now that they are germinated they can continue on their WS way. Would be nice. Hardening off is suchhhh a pain. I pretty much have growth in all but the flats I laid out in the garden last fall. I am sure that when I melted off the ice layer, or in some cases even physically removed it, I removed the seeds which were laying on top. Bummer!

So, today, back to the CF for my babies. I don't have a lot of room so will remove the two flats of failed (maybe) poppies to make room for the ones that are germinating. I wish we had spring and summer four times a year instead of once. Well, I guess that wouldn't work, but just once a year is a long time to pay for a mistake.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Okay, they are all out in the cold frame except for two six-paks. We shall see what we shall see. It is up to a whopping 43F. :(

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

Well our waking up to 80 was very short lived..Temp dropped as fast as it came up ...back down it went.we have been consistantly in the 40s and wind.Saturday was partly cloudy very windy but much warmer.Ckd my ws jugs doing well,because the jugs are doing thier job since its been soo cold and not much sun for weeks,lil mini greenhouses,cool weather has kind of helped ,I have not had to open any of them yet.

Hardening off is a bit of a pain ,but a short pain,I throw lanscape fabric over them to shade them when I start to bring things outside from under my lights.

so the ones you wintersowed in Flats are not doing well,I could see maybe they were a bit too exposed to the elements ,soggy,then losing the seed with the snow cover ??where as in the jugs more protection,from getting too wet??Kind of guessing,Im a newbie too. im sure I have some failures in my 50 jugs ,live an learn..i know I tried things that were not a good choice,we will see..soon..LOL.

Heres to hoping for spring Soon...

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

So you throw the landscape cloth over the containers. I would be afraid to do so on regular plants for fear of breaking delicate stems. Yeah, putting those flats out, especially with no holes was not the brightest idea. Helps if you READ the ^&$^% manual -- and all the very good and clear advice that is to be found here. I just wasn't paying attention. But I am saving my milk jugs and such for another go this fall. I guess it is just painful to have to be patient. I see the stuff in the garage growing so well and then look at my guys outside .. heavy sigh. I know in the long run the guys outside WS will snap into spring faster and stronger, but... And I do need to replant the seedlings as they are coming up in clumps, partly due to over seeding and partly due to the containers rolling and dumping all the seeds in one spot. So I guess it is repot, then back into the cold frame. They won't grow very well all jammed like they are in each pot

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

You need to read back over Trudi's website. Everybody has HOS(hunk of seedlings)you don't need to replant those seeds..just plant the HOS like they come out of the jug, not need to try to divide them. Mother Nature will do it for you. We are all inpatient the first year we WS. This is my second year and even thought I feel more confident than last year, I am still having some questions, especially on flowers I'm trying for the first time and I'm not familiar with. We are all heavy handed seeding, especially the tiny seeds. I have made a note on my handwritten spreadsheet on the tiny, fine seeds. Portulaca was like dust, I could see where the seed was falling so they will probably not be as successful as last year. We've had so much rain and that has hendered growth a lot. It is in low 80's but the sky is starting to show signs of a possble storm coming up. This is the frustrating part.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

Thanks Pippi. It is encouraging to know I am not totally nutso. It is also hard to imagine that it is 80F in Maryland. We are struggling to hold 49F here. I read that is you mix your teeny tiny seeds with a fine sand and then spread, they tend not to clump and the have no problem coming up through the sand. I will follow your advice and just let the guys grow in their pots. I have read the HOS thing and that is actually what I did when I brought in one of the poppy pots. Just took little hunks and put them in 6 paks. I was going to use my fine little scissors to weed out the crowd, but you are saying to just plant them outside in those clumps. Then it's survival of the fittest? Makes sense to me. And much easier on me and the seedlings that trying to separate them. Thanks again.
Mary

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

Great advice Pipi gave you HOS,you didnt have drainage,oh not good... live an Learn sadly...An we are all a lil Nutso....So you are not alone...LOL..so whats in your garage tender annuals ??? I dont let the fabric touch the plants ,I put all my flats out on sawhorses and wood planks then I attach riser sticks to the planks.then I can roll the fabric up when i want them in the sun.
Survival of the fittest is where Im at too I dont like to thin ...LOL..makes me sad...LOL

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

I have planted portulaca, Livingston Daisies, sweet pears, short and tall marigolds, snapdragons. I also planted a bunch of poppy seeds I got last winter from another DG'r that are quite different from what I have. If I only get enough to get seedpods, then I am gold for more. I also keep my dahlia and gladiola corms and tubers over the winter in my garage. I have propagated about 27 small plants, then just let the 'mama' dahlia tubers grow out. I still couldn't resist buying some short dark dahlias, procyon, glodahlias etc. Really love those dahlias. Am trying to propagate a hardy carnation but may not work.

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

are you warmming up there yet ?? We are finally on a warmming trend but a very wet one for a few more days it looks like anyway.hope it warms up for you so you can set the plants out.

(Mary) Anchorage, AK(Zone 4b)

the sweet peas I planted in the cold frame on 4-7 germinated yesterday. Can't remember if I gave them a little warm snap in the garage for a day or two and that is what got them going or not. I don't think so. Will be interesting to see the difference in how they look as compared with the ones I grew in the garage. It was 42 when I got up (5:45AM) so about five degrees warmer than yesterday. And about six of my fish finally came out of hiding. That is always a good indicator of warming trends. Hope you haven't gotten the brunt of the awful weather I have been reading about down south.

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

Im up in the north east corner of Indiana ,we have gotten bursts of storms ,nothing like Tenn and Kentucky,More rain today,im going to sow more seed today in containers,sunflowers an zinnias,would like to direct sow,maybe later today if the rain stops.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Maybe I too should do some Zinns.

only problem i have is... I have no idea when i'm coming home next. i was thinking 2 weeks... but with teh cost of gas, i dont think i can do it every 2 weeks.

I think I have about 75 containers ... and not many annuals at all. I think I only did on marigolds .. but I did take a lot of seeds to Wisc - either to "spring sow" or direct. still undecided.

all the containers that are out there now are just soaked.

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

i havent ck mine yet today,had a lot of rain allday all night wednsday.i have not watered them for a while,hoping they are not drenched.i sowed some sunflower seed,trans planted blk eyed susan vines into pots, didnt get as much done as Id liked to yesterday.Im going to direct sow what ever I have left !!!! that could be interesting.Our wet lands are wayy full today..

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Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

Tam, I had plenty of drainage and air holes but it has rained so much here since March. I had to add more drainage holes because of so much rain.We had the March winds during Feb. March and April we had so much rain and we are expecting at least 2 or 3 days of rain this coming week. I still have WS seedlings to plant out. Today, I let them alone and let them air out while I tied up two clematis vines that should have been done a few weeks ago. I didn't realize they had grown so much. I dug up all my ice plant as it had spread into my rose bush and garden phlox, I planted some marigolds, dianthus, and gladiola bulbs and a potted plant of pinks that my friend, Chris bought over yesterday. Oh, transferred the last of the portulaca WS seedlings to a small pot where they will stay and C asked me to pot her up some of the ice plants if I dug it up. I potted her up about 6 or 8 pots and threw the rest away. I bet I'll find some more growing that I missed pulling out. That was about 3 yrs. of growth. It's in the sedum family so it's easy to root.

Hopefully tomorrow after church or Monday, I will plant the others out or give them to the plant sale on May 7th.

Something is wrong with my Comtesse de Bouchaud clematis. I hope I don't lose it.



Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

ice plant ? winter hardy? what color.?LOL...My ws jugs still sitting in the garden??? Should go look at the weather for today,I need to bust some butt getting things done,WEATHER PERMITTING..IM sick of saying that...Geez

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 6b)

The ice plant my daughter bought back from the beach about 3 yrs. ago. It was pretty when it bloomed but after 3 yrs. it had began to spread into my rose bushes and my garden phlox. Couldn't have that. My gardening friend(Orchidfancy)was here for lunch on Friday and when I told her that I was going to dig some of it up, she asked me to save some for her. I potted up quite a few pots for her and threw the rest in the yard waste bag to be picked up Monday. I'll guarantee I probably didn't get all the roots and some of it will pop back up in a few months. It's in the sedum family and spreads.

Tam, I still have at least 25-30 HOS to put in the ground. Some I am intentionally allowing them to grow more before putting them out. Am about running out of planting room for them so this year, they are getting plunked wherever there is room. The shasta daisies and columbines are ready to pop open if the sun will stay out and warm up a few days but we're expecting at least showers/rain several days this coming week.

Wished some of these WS seedlings were big enough to donate to plant sale this coming Saturday but they aren't.

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

boy I hear that,my plant sale is the 14th so ive got 2 more weeks ,fingers crossed...so is the ice plant pink or yellow? it must be winter hardy up to zone 6 .Looks like it might clear up a bit later ,hoping to at least get outside to work today ,even if its a little bit,I ll take it.I have not planted but just a few things in the garden soo far....

Carmel, IN(Zone 5b)

I finally managed to get a nice enough day to open up some of my jugs. The calendula, corn cockles, chinese houses, shungiku and foxglove were full of seedings 3-4" tall. I didn't want to take a chance on planting them in ground yet, though, as we're still in for some pretty cool nights, and are still 2 weeks away from our last frost date.

Hugger--what kind of plant sale? I've been busy getting ready for our Master Gardeners plant sale on the 21st. Finally was able to get some perennials potted up yesterday, and all of the herbs are just waiting to get outside to be hardened off.

The calendula and shungiku I WS'd will be used not only in my garden, but up at our 4H fairgrounds in the herb beds.

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