Hi there Etnredclay! I make my own "mixes" for everything I grow. For winter sowing, I use a little bit of top soil, a lot of compost, perlite, peat moss, and some composted cow manure. In that order, it's about a 1-4-3-3-2 ratio. (or there-abouts). I don't add fertilizer to the soil for winter sowing, I save that for the actual growing season, when I plant them out.
[quote="etnredclay"]Long time listener, first time caller... [/quote] Haaahaahaahaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That cracked me up out loud!! < =D
[quote] I've got seeds for Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Asters, Shasta Daisies, Painted Daisies, Gaillardia, Monarda, Verbascum, teeny tiny Sunflowers 18" tall, Agastache, blue festuca, and moss rose.[/quote]
Oh BOY, what a lovely bunch you've got there!! What variety of Agastache do you have? I've Winter Sowed some Agastache and they turned out really well; I've got Tutti Frutti, and before I cut them back a week or so ago, they got to be over 7 feet tall. Mine are really prolific bloomers, too, I LOVE 'em! And bees love 'em too!
[quote] Since I'm winging this, I'll winter sow a third of the seeds, direct sow a third after last frost, and save back a third in case of disaster. [/quote]
Good planning, I like it. Do you have a goodly amount of seeds for this?
[quote](((And does anyone else want to put an extra sylabol in Rudbeckia, making it Rud-I-beckia. like Echi-i-nacea?)))[/quote]
Heeheeheee, not me, I just call 'em "Black Eyed Susans". < =D (or, in my case, "Green Eyed Susans").
Oh yeah, (almost forgot), I've also got a slew of Alaska Shasta Daisies, and be prepared for them to come back bigger and better year after year. I had about half a dozen or so 2 years ago, and now I've got too many to count and they're FILLING up/in that driveway side bed very nicely! I keep collecting the seeds and spreading them further and further along, so hopefully next year (or the one after that), the whole bed will be nothing but them. That would be ok with me, they're full and gorgeous! =)
So, where did you learn about winter sowing? Here's a helpful place to learn a LOT about it: wintersown.org
That's the first place I went to when I started winter sowing a few years ago, and I had MASSIVE success. And don't forget all the great winter sowing threads here: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/coldsow/all/
It's Agastache rupestris 'Apache Sunset' - a first agastache for me but so pretty. SEVEN feet tall? Note to self, buy step ladder for garden deadheading!
I've got a small amount. But was going to plant each way at least twice as many plants as I really want. And I have a lot of patience and am leaving LOTS of room in the terraces to add veggies and annuals and more of whatever I like.
Love the shastas, they are so bright and happy against the dark hill and woods behind, even with full sun, the background is so important in flowers. My Coneflower Magnus is just dissapearing against the forest floor above them... so I'm putting in another terrace behind them and will make sure and plant something light colored to show off their dark blooms. Lambs ear or Dusty Miller or... something else silvery.
I heard about WS on DG last year. And thought EUREKA! Why didn't I think of this before?
But with a lot of family issues last winter, couldn't get to anything. Have plenty of clear plastic jugs, have seeds and more coming, and have the materials for the mix. Have the spot picked out. Have plenty of 2.5qts to pot them up. And the flower beds will be ready before spring.
I've got 3 dump trucks of materials coming -- my 19y truck can't go back and fourth to the landscape supply place for the money they charge for delivery -- $15/scoop, 9 scoops delivered for the price of 10. Sheesh, now I'm making a place for compost and another for topsoil right in front of the terraces -- temporary until I get it shoveled in the right place. But why didn't I think of this 20 truck loads ago???
Oh BOY you're really on a roll now, Wheeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! < =D Those beds are going to be soooooo happily ready for your new Winter Sown babies next Spring!! Did you remember to take some "before" pics of the terraces? That's always fun to do; "before" you filled it in with all your new grown-with-love babies, and then some "during" as they progress, and then "after" they're all flourishing. Such a nice feeling of accomplishment to see what all your hard work has paid you with. =)
Your next step will be to make sure that the seeds you're going to (Winter) sow are Winter sow-able. Some don't need the cold for stratification, and some downright don't like the cold for stratification and germination. That website I mentioned earlier, wintersown.org, has a really comprehensive list of what can be WS'n successfully, along with explanations of how to know if a plant/flower will do well WS'n and why. (example: flowers with words like "Alaska", or "Siberian", or "Mountain"... anything showing their natural environment that would indicate a cold climate. Also, look for phrases like "Needs pre-chilling", or "needs stratification", or even "seedlings can withstand frost", on the seed packets or in the (catalog) description. (there's a ton more clues and phrases to look out for on that website, these are only a few that come to mind at the moment). Those are the things that should do very well Winter Sown.
Of the flowers you listed, I have successfully Winter Sown: Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Alaska Shasta Daisies, and Agastache "Tutti Frutti". I could make some guesses at the rest of 'em, (like Asters and Monarda; those I would definitely think should do well), but they would only be semi-educated guesses. ;)
The next big question is: Have you got your space all picked out for where you want all those winter sowing jugs to be sitting out all winter long? Somewhere that will be safe from constant critter activity? =) Personally, I use my deck. DH doesn't much like how messy it looks all winter, and come March, he's like "OK, so now that the temps are above 40, can you move that JUNK off the deck now!?!?!" LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Noooo Darling, not yet!! < =D
Oh, I get the same comments from my DH when I have all my seed-starting on the back porch during winter. That is the best place for me, as I may not go outside in the snow to check on plants, but on the porch I can keep a closer watch on them.