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Winter Sowing: Why didn't I think of that? Wintersowing tips

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Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

March 25, 2011
3:06 PM

Post #8449942

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!
cathy4
St. Louis County, MO
(Zone 5a)

March 25, 2011
5:40 PM

Post #8450278

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.
mom2goldens
Carmel, IN
(Zone 5b)

March 27, 2011
2:57 PM

Post #8453943

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
cathy4
St. Louis County, MO
(Zone 5a)

March 27, 2011
4:57 PM

Post #8454236

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

tcs1366

tcs1366
Leesburg, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 31, 2011
4:22 AM

Post #8462063

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.

Celene

Celene
Columbus, OH

April 10, 2011
5:01 AM

Post #8484430

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.
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 10, 2011
5:19 AM

Post #8484455

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.

Celene

Celene
Columbus, OH

April 10, 2011
6:14 AM

Post #8484619

I'd love to know how to fold them. I'd actually prefer square pots to round!
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 11, 2011
6:49 AM

Post #8487184

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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huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 11, 2011
6:50 AM

Post #8487191

2

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huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 11, 2011
6:52 AM

Post #8487202

3

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Celene

Celene
Columbus, OH

April 11, 2011
8:03 AM

Post #8487403

Thanks so much for posting photos! That looks like origami even *I* can do!
mom2goldens
Carmel, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 11, 2011
3:34 PM

Post #8488362

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.
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 12, 2011
5:45 AM

Post #8489576

soo glad I could pass this along.
nohren4
Cowden, IL
(Zone 5a)

April 12, 2011
8:20 AM

Post #8490043

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

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

April 12, 2011
11:04 AM

Post #8490393

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
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

April 22, 2011
8:59 AM

Post #8513356

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.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

April 22, 2011
4:48 PM

Post #8513934

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...

tcs1366

tcs1366
Leesburg, FL
(Zone 9a)

April 22, 2011
5:46 PM

Post #8514050

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.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

April 22, 2011
5:49 PM

Post #8514057

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

Corey
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

April 22, 2011
8:54 PM

Post #8514431

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
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 23, 2011
3:11 AM

Post #8514651

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...
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

April 23, 2011
9:17 AM

Post #8515298

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.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

April 23, 2011
1:43 PM

Post #8515695

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. :(
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 24, 2011
6:14 AM

Post #8517007

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...
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

April 24, 2011
9:19 AM

Post #8517334

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
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

April 24, 2011
12:31 PM

Post #8517647

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.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

April 24, 2011
8:28 PM

Post #8518663

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
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 25, 2011
6:15 AM

Post #8519053

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
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

April 25, 2011
9:43 AM

Post #8519128

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.
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 26, 2011
5:13 AM

Post #8521052

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.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

April 26, 2011
6:53 AM

Post #8521257

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.
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 27, 2011
4:48 AM

Post #8523513

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.

tcs1366

tcs1366
Leesburg, FL
(Zone 9a)

April 27, 2011
5:44 AM

Post #8523655

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.
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 28, 2011
4:44 AM

Post #8525700

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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Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

April 30, 2011
5:24 PM

Post #8531022

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.



huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

May 1, 2011
3:39 AM

Post #8531630

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
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

May 1, 2011
4:44 AM

Post #8531698

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.
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

May 1, 2011
4:49 AM

Post #8531704

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...
mom2goldens
Carmel, IN
(Zone 5b)

May 1, 2011
6:30 AM

Post #8531837

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.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

May 1, 2011
9:22 AM

Post #8532232

It was 32F here this morning. I am leaving my jugs and flats in the cold frame which was 29F!! but not hit with the frost covering the yard. The higher temp is from an outdoor thermometer that has a wireless reader in the house. It sits on the front porch so I think get some heat from the building. On the other hand the bottom of the pond was 46F. Fish are happier.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 2, 2011
11:20 AM

Post #8534738

I FINALLY saw a few tiny Penstemon seedlings emerge from some WS pots in tubs.
I had given up all hope for Penstemon this year!

I guess the warmer weather, translucent lids, plus full sun on the tubs, getting it all steamy inside, is GOOD for some seeds. But I may cut the vent holes bigger.

Corey
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

May 2, 2011
12:21 PM

Post #8534844

Since mine are in a 24"x48" cold frame (metal shell with plastic cover) it has these nice little zipper vents on top. It gets over 100 on a clear sunny day and they are on the east side of the house on my deck. I have had to pop the entire tops some days. But was only 29F in there this morning again...
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

May 3, 2011
4:07 AM

Post #8536238

Ive not seen my penstamons yet either,The Phoenix Magenta I planted last yr Is dead... =( it was soo pretty...booohoo

Celene

Celene
Columbus, OH

May 3, 2011
5:10 AM

Post #8536339

I have to dig in a LOT of sand here to get penstemons to survive our clay.
huggergirl
Columbia City, IN
(Zone 5b)

May 3, 2011
5:42 AM

Post #8536398

oh it was planted in amended soil,very well draining ,but very exposed to the west winter wind.Im thinking that was it.. =( maybe ?
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

May 3, 2011
7:20 AM

Post #8536633

I haven't given up on my penstemon. Plants on a slope, well drained, facing a westerly wind BUT covered in snow for months.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 3, 2011
8:54 AM

Post #8536828

My ambition was first top get them to germinate. Success!

If some survive long enough to get into the ground alive, I'll be delerious.;

If any survive the slugs long enoguh to flower, I'll be flabbergasted.

Come back next year? You guys have high expectations and/or green thumbs.

I'm still learning, and every day is an adventure.

Corey
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

May 3, 2011
9:01 AM

Post #8536843

Cory, you crack me up. You are also much more ambitious. I bought small plants so I rather short-cutted (hmm, not a word?) your process. but I would think that if you can germinate, plant, and repel slugs, your plants would be better suited to survive your winter. They would he 'home grown' so to speak. Which I think is the whole idea behind winter sowing. This was my first year (which I may have mentioned) and I made about every mistake you can make, plus a few I thought up on my own. heavy sigh. Making plans for corrective action this fall.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 3, 2011
9:23 AM

Post #8536879

>> This was my first year (which I may have mentioned) and I made about every mistake you can make, plus a few I thought up on my own. heavy sigh.

That sounds like a challenge! "My mistakes are bigger than YOUR mistakes!" (If only you knew what a huge boast that was!)

We should start a forum, or at least a thread somewhere, to see who has made more and bigger mistakes than anyone else. Do beginners have an advatage in such a competition because we dunno nuttin' yet?

Or do long-timer gardeners have an edge becuase they have been making mistakes for YEARS and have had time to cover ALL the bases?

Someone consoled me that "real gardeners" have all killed lots of plants because they keep trying new things and pushing the envelope.

I'm not sure if I want to start from seed mainly because I'm cheap, stubburn, like a challenge, or all of the above. After I spent three years and got ONE Delphinium out of it, I started looking wistfully at potted Delphs at Home Depot and Lowes ... but that would be like admitting defeat!

I was also trying the think of how to word some thread topic like "Where did YOU learn to garden?" I've noticed that almost everyone has their own way, and wonder if we each just have random preferences, or if they are inherited, or actually best-practice for our local regions.

Or perhaps gardening and cultivating the soil is like a Rorschach test, and how we grow plants reveals a lot about our deepest psychological quirks.

- Some of us love to re-use plastic discards.
- Almost everyone salivates at the thought of piles of manure.
- When I foolishly boasted about having a "seed box", I learned that quite a few people have seed drawers, seed closets and even a whole seed ROOM!
- Some people have ziplocks and scissors with them at all times, and will scale walls and raid churches for a mature seedhead or cutting.
- The Dumpster Diving Divas (all praise to the D.D.D. brigade!) would go shoulder-deep into dumpsters to rescue a potted plant.
- Some people plan with graph paper and calendars! I wing it.

What does it mean, Mr. Natural?

I am guessing that "vegetable people" tended to learn as kids, from parents, and "flower people" are more likely to have picked it up by trial, error, books and Internet. Just a theory.

In my case, Mom did all the gardening, from annuals and roses to veggies. My job was only turning the soil, weeding, mowing, composting and burning leaves (sigh! I wish I knew then, to compost them!) So now, when confronted with a seed or bulb, I literally don't know which end is up. Dad had a special garden task. He would come home late from work and commuting, then take his martini with him to gaze over the garden and pronounce it Good. The Lord Of The Manor. I think we should all remember to take time to perform that important function: appreciation.

Corey
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

May 3, 2011
9:33 AM

Post #8536900

I think you made a bunch of good points. I can't grow vegies and my Dad didn't grow flowers, only vegies. And I am not a planner, I just dive in and do it (in spite of being a retired accountant and controller). With predictable failures. Like you, I hate to admit defeat ($650 worth of dead bearded iris and three years of rot attest to that fact). But I keep trying. My Dad is long gone and we never really overlapped in our gardening so I couldn't get any hints from him. As for Mother -- my first garden was a little 6x8' plot with among other things gladiolas. That was 50 years ago. I was so proud of how my stuff grew; my glads were beautiful. Came home one day and they were all gone. My Mother had cut them all and put them in a vase on her table. I doubt I need to explain how this affected me. MY flowers. MY one shining moment -- gone.

Drat Corey. You wax too philosophical. And you do it quite well. yet another heavy sigh

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 3, 2011
9:48 AM

Post #8536928

>> my first garden ... I was so proud
>> Came home one day and they were all gone.
>> My Mother had cut them all and put them in a vase on her table

Yikes - I forgot that gardening could be traumatic. Not very respectful of your "turf"!

One of the biggest arguments (more like a browbeating) I had from my DSO occured after I joked that I would "someday" forgive a guest of hers for pulling a tall, fancy, decorative weed by my driveway that I had been admiring and watching thrive and start to flower. (She and I lived separately and it was MY yard.)

It turned out that she (my Significant Other) had pulled that pretty weed, and was QUITE sure that I should THANK her for that and that if I DIDN'T it was MY fault and NOT hers ... on and on at some length. I was (apparently) very guilty for objecting at all, and then REALLY guilty for not promptly apologizing for objecting.

Gee, if I had known that SHE had killed my favorite plant in that yard (too small and temporary for a garden), I would have KNOWN better than to complain about it!

But not as traumatic as your story.

Corey
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

May 3, 2011
10:29 AM

Post #8536998

Umm, I would have to vote for you. If she thought it was a weed, well, okay. But it wasn't , it was meaningful to you, and as such might not require an apology for the pulling but certainly required an apology for the hurt her 'innocent' action caused. She was the proximate cause of your unhappiness and therefore should have focused on your disappointment, not on winning the 'who's wrong' argument. Ahem. Get a grip Mary. Traumatic, maybe not. Vastly unhappy making (understandably so) YES!

Keep your hands off if you don't know what you are doing and it ISN'T YOURS!!!

okay. i'm alright. i have said my piece on behalf of gardeners everywhere.

:)

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 3, 2011
11:43 AM

Post #8537140

I kind of suspected that wanting NOT to be seen as the transgressor was her motivation for accusing me of whatever my sin was. Viewed in just the right light, kind of like an apology!

Like "I wouldn't ever destroy even a weed that you treasured if I knew you wanted to keep it ... so it's YOUR fault!"

She just didn't stress that first part, since I should already know it,
and perhaps had to stress the second part, since I didn't pick up on it right away.

And we had a history of her urging me to kill any weeds that neighbors might object to.

(I should emphasize that 99.999% of the time, she's the most scrupulous person with the highest integrity I've ever known. And she puts up with a lot of unreasonableness from me, I'm sure. So why do I tell the "exception" story? I don't know. Maybe becuase she just left on a trip and I won't see her for a while.)

I'm still learning about how to do relationships: after all, I'm only 58.

Corey
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

May 3, 2011
3:55 PM

Post #8537632

Rick, since you mentioned Delphiniums- I had bought a pack of seeds last year and put them in my fridge to chill for awhile- forgot all about them and found them about a month ago- planted them and here's what I got! They are Pacific Giants- pretty little seedlings.

Thumbnail by JoParrott
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

May 3, 2011
4:13 PM

Post #8537681

A mere child.

I Deno- d penstemon Husker Red, left in in the frig for 40 days, and lo and behold, they sprouted. Happily, I tenderly placed each seed in its own cell, watered, cooed and prepared to wait for the next sign of life. The VERY NEXT DAY when I was out my DSO called and said, "You'd better come home right away!" The 3-tiered shelf complete with lights I'd rigged up on the city windowsill had FALLEN OVER!!!! Flipped over the table in front of it and landed on the floor. Poor man tried to clean up but thankfully realized I might like to edit the wreckage before he got too far along.

Luckily some of the more advanced seedlings had been taken to the country just the weekend before, and many babies stuck to their soil, so all was not lost. But my penstemon and heuchera, barely sprouted seeds, were spilled out of the cells into one mess. After I finished cleaning up the worst of it, I carefully scooped up what may or may not have been the remains of my patient efforts and stuck it in one container. This was a month ago.

Meanwhile I read somewhere that Husker Red is hybrid, not true from seed, so I ordered a plant. Today, for the first time, I can identify the 6 mystery sprouts as penstemon 5, heuchera 1.

Tragedy...or victory?!

Pam

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 3, 2011
5:32 PM

Post #8537833

Pam,

>> The 3-tiered shelf complete with lights I'd rigged up on the city windowsill had FALLEN OVER!!!! Flipped over the table in front of it and landed on the floor.

>> Tragedy...or victory?!

Triumph in adversity! I'm impressed by the rescue technique. Next someone will say "I found a few cells left after the cat ate my seedlings and put them into Tissue Culture, and only 3 months later, I have a plant (or 500 plants).

It was surely a victory for your DSO that you didn't blame him for it. On the other hand, did your compost heap mysteriously double in size later that night? ;-)

I've been thinking of trying the Deno method for penstemons this summer, but first I'll see if any others emerge from their WS hibernation. It's good news to me that they sprouted In your fridge, since the outdoors still seem cool or cold at night.

Corey

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 3, 2011
5:40 PM

Post #8537846

JoParrott,

Pacific Giants were my first Delphiniums ... or at least, the fiorst and only variety that had a survivor. I like the artsy seedling leaf shape, but so do slugs. They LOVE them!

This year I put out a lot of beer saucers and have only seen a few slugs per day instead of armies of them.

>> I had bought a pack of seeds last year and put them in my fridge to chill for awhile- forgot all about them and found them about a month ago- planted them and here's what I got!

I think that refridgerators are pretty humid environements, especially the vegetable crisper drawer, which INCREASES humidity. If those PG delphs sprouted becuase cold mosit stratification broke their dormancy, the fridge must be pretty humid.

On the other hand, some seeds that "need stratification" sprouted for me before I knew that "stratification" was not just a misspelling of seed startification, as in "starting seeds".

I've been told that yes, there's always a percentage of seeds that are "easy", and cold-moist-strat just increases the % and speed of gemrination. Also, some species lose their dormancy as they age. So they say.

But I decided not to store seeds in the fridge unless they were delicate, or I wanted to keep them for many years. I store them in screw-lid plastic jars with dessicant inside (silica gel). And I fiddle, trying to be sure that I don't dry them out TOO much.

I like to fiddle.

Corey

Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

May 3, 2011
5:58 PM

Post #8537879

Corey said: On the other hand, some seeds that "need stratification" sprouted for me before I knew that "stratification" was not just a misspelling of seed startification, as in "starting seeds".

I just howled when I read that. I thought it meant you were supposed to nick or cut the seeds. Have you ever tried to nick a snapdragon seed!! Can't be done and if it could you wouldn't have any fingers left.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 3, 2011
6:29 PM

Post #8537956

Thank you! As always, when I manage a good joke, "it just came out of my fingers". I wish I could make up things like that!

Corey
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

May 3, 2011
6:40 PM

Post #8537986

Rick, I ordered some Sluggo Plus online after reading that it will kill pillbugs- It's expensive, but I fight slugs & rolypolys all summer!
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

May 3, 2011
8:52 PM

Post #8538426

'did your compost mysteriously double in the night?' Very funny, Corey. But isn't more compost always a good thing? LOL. Maybe I should have said my few survivors were Phoenix rising from the ashes.

Startification-- brilliant! Makes perfect sense to me.

And the cat that eats seedlings belongs to someone on a different thread. She only WS's now because of it.

Mstella-- ouch!!!
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

May 3, 2011
9:22 PM

Post #8538501

Pam, I would have howled had my tables 'turned' as yours did. I can only imagine the pain of seeing all your wonderful work upended on the floor. Hope there were many many survivors. I WS'd some poppies in too shallow a container and they were drying up too fast. All sown together and couldn't figure out how to get them out without just scrambling them, so I got a wide rectangular spatula and divided them like cutting a cake, then scooped them up and placed them gently on a pot I had prepared with deep damp soil. Voila! I spritzed them to try to direct their roots downward. I don't have but those few from seeds that got rolled when the wind took my containers and played nine pins in the back yard. Combat gardening at its finest.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

May 3, 2011
9:49 PM

Post #8538570

Very similar feelings, I'm sure. I read about your tumbled tots before mine toppled. Terrible!

I couldn't even write about it at the time in the gardening journal I'm attempting to keep. DSO felt so sorry for me, I had to put a good face on it at the time. I had really pushed the envelope on balance and weight. I had just re-arranged things yet again to make more room. I had trays going front to back on the shelves, sticking out in front several inches, with a couple of heavy hanging-type pots of petunias just starting to bloom on the top shelf. He was sitting there at the other end of the table with the paper having his second cup of coffee, and nearly had a heart attack when the thing crashed down.

But gardening where you do is enough of a challenge without the other tribulations.

So how are your poppies doing now? I guess I shouldn't worry about transplanting mine if you got away with that!

tcs1366

tcs1366
Leesburg, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 4, 2011
4:39 AM

Post #8538745

I had not heard Husker Red is a Hybrid... i have my doubts...

I grew it by seed back in 07 i think... all the lil volunteers that pop up [all over] look identical to the 'mother' plant. I've resorted to dead heading to keep the babies at bay... though i still find them in the oddest places. even though they are one of my favorite plants.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

May 4, 2011
4:57 AM

Post #8538769

I must have mis-read. Anyway, my plant will bloom this year, and the babies can take their time.. But now I'm confused about something else: if it so readily self-sows, why are the instructions for germination so complicated? Several sites list the requirements for Husker Red separate from other penstemons, so I got the impression that it was finicky. Not so?

Pam

tcs1366

tcs1366
Leesburg, FL
(Zone 9a)

May 4, 2011
5:06 AM

Post #8538784

I have not seen that to be the case. I've never had issues with it. they WS just fine - i've always done mine early, like Jan/Feb, so if they need cold strat, they get it. ... and self sow freely. 2nd yr bloomers though... but worth the wait.
Oberon46
(Mary) Anchorage, AK
(Zone 4b)

May 4, 2011
8:34 AM

Post #8539098

Pam, the poppies I just moved by spatula are alive but too soon to tell if they will take off. the others I salvaged and hos'd are doing very well. I know if I can get even one or two plants I will be up to my ears in seed. They are amazingly forgiving and have a great desire to thrive despite my ignorance.

I can surely identify with your balancing act on the shelves. I had a piece of pegboard laying across a 5 gallon bucket on one end and a sterlite box with water in it (left in the garage after I pulled the pumps back to the pond -- the pumps can't be let to get dry seals) being a couple of inches too short. I watched the balance very carefully expecting any day to place that one pot too many or too heavy in the wrong spot. I pulled it all apart yesterday, got better supports and redistributed. But I am maxed out for space. I look each morning in dread of damp off. I have lost one or two babies with three true leaves but I refuse to admit it is damp off. Was thinking I might spray with a fungicide as a damp off preventative. Might work. From here to May 30 is a race against -- well, trying to grow in a garage under conditions that are not very good for plants.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 4, 2011
2:09 PM

Post #8539733

This is just a theory. Maybe "self-sowing" is easier than starting indoors because only 1/10th of 1% of the seeds need to live to "re-sow freely".

If you Deno'd every single seed that fell off every plant in your gardden, you could have a very poor germination RATE and still have hundreds or thousands of seedlings - or hundreds OF thousands.

Or maybe it helps them to undergo months and months of stratification, and some sprout in the fall and some in the spring, and some 2, 3 or 4 years later.

Just guessing.

Corey
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

May 4, 2011
8:57 PM

Post #8540576

Do you use peroxide in the water for your plants? That pretty much eliminated damp off for me. I use self watering trays, so it's always a strong possibility. I found this link on anotner thread on DG:

http://www.using-hydrogen-peroxide.com/peroxide-garden.html

.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 5, 2011
12:38 PM

Post #8541784

Thanks for that link! The distinction between 3% and 35% H2O2 is not always made by people suggesting how much to add! (Oh, well, what's a factor of ten between friends?)

I haven't used it yet because I don't have a bottle.

For preventing damping off, I did find a big difference between soggy, wet, peat-based commercial seedling mixes, and fast-draining pine-bark-and-grit seedling mixes.

Corey

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