I'm kinda curious about y'all's Winter Sowing methods. Are the containers (with soil and seeds, I presume) left inside larger containers, stacked all together like that? If so, could you please explain to me why you do it that way? Are there holes in the tops and bottoms of each container for drainage and for nature's moisture to gain access?
I've done Winter Sowing before (this will be my first year not doing any), and I did it quite a bit differently. I used many different types of containers, but predominantly milk jugs (the universal favourite, I think). And mine were scattered all over the deck out back, getting plenty of sun, but that never posed a problem. Basically, I just "contained" the soil and seed to keep the critters out, but otherwise exposed them to the elements like they would be were they just ... naturally sown out in the wild (for want of a better way to put it).
Here's a couple pics of my first year of WS'ing; the results completely filled 2 brand new beds.
1: one view of many of the jugs; newly-bought plants on the railing. (those are in my "container shady garden" out back now)
2: A couple brand new babies in a couple milk jugs. I don't remember now what they are. ;)
3: These pots were also used for WS'ing; I covered them with heavy plastic (held in place with rubber bands), and then slit holes in the top for ... there's a word for it but I can't remember it at the moment -- hate when that happens! Respiration? No, that's not it! Ugh!
Anyway, I'd love to learn how you guys do yours, and why. =)
Speedie, guacamole sounds good, I'll have to sow some Avocados...lol.
Blomma's the expert on this 'container method'. Seeing how this is my first WS experience I can only tell you what I did and the thought process behind it. I used a lower quality grade sowing medium (mixed with garden soil) for the bulk of the fill, well moistened.
Added an inch seedling soil-less mix, well moistened, then seeds, (pre-soaked ones that needed scarifying). I covered the seeds with the required amount for the specific seeds (some seeds are just pressed into the soil-less mix).
Spritzed the tops of each completed container with fungicide and closed individual containers and stacked in a larger one.
The double wall construction moderates the wildly fluctuating temperatures but still allows natural freeze and thaw cycles. The moisture added is hopefully the exact amount the seed will need to germinate when temps are favorable. Because the containers are sealed, no more water has to be added or drained for the duration.
blomma wrote:I am far from an expert, just learned by trial and error for 50 years.
Yeah, well, I call that an expert...at the very least a pro! Good work Blomma, lot's to be proud of there. I have minimal space to plant out and plan on growing on begged, borrowed, rented or purchased land just for the sake of growing things I love...I'm tired of space limitations.
I also combined grit with my mixes for the Delosperma because it's a succulent. I still have high hopes, I'll let y'all know the results.
Here's my list:
Agrostemma-purple and pink mixed (I swear I will sort the colors this year!)
Onion-Rosso Lunga di Tropea
Aquilegia-some fragrant varieties
Calendula-resina, Art Shades, Radio, and some seeds I saved from plants I liked last year
Campanula-carpatica, cochlearifolia, medium
Consolida-blue only, white only, and mixed
Delphinium Blue Mirror
Coreopsis Quills and Thrills
Lychnis-variegated version of L. coronaria alba, Angel Blush, and plain coronaria
Gaillardia-double-flowered annual variety. Sunburst?
Impatiens balfourii and glandulifera (just in case they don't reseed, they normally do)
Centaurea-some annual varieties
Chenopodium-Epazote. I'm pretty sure it'll reseed from last year, but making sure.
Nicotiana mutabilis, alata, and sylvestris
Papaver-Drama Queen, Pepperbox, gigantea, Persian Star, Edge of Night, Lauren's Grape, Feathered lilac, atlanticum, dubium, plus others I don't remember.
Poncirus trifoliata, Flying Dragon
Salvia sclarea "Piemont", horminum Blue Monday
Verbena bonariensis and rigida (it reseeds but I want more)
Viscaria "Blue Angel", plus mix of Viscaria from last year
Viola-assorted colors, plus more labradorica between some rocks I moved last year
Sedum-assorted varieties--Oracle, Lizard, hispanicum
I WS in flats, I am too OCD for the milk jugs. Feel free to mock me. lol
I got the Poncirus at JL Hudson, and they sprouted well with WS, and some were curlier than others, I kept the three curliest seedlings and gave the rest away. My pit bull puppy "took them for a walk outside the pot" in the fall--wicked thorns and all. So, I'm starting over.
Thank you guys for the explanations, that's a really cool way to do it, and one I'd never thought of before. I guess that many years of experience and trial-and-error would definitely make you an expert Blomma, even if you are too modest to admit it. :) And I whole-heartedly agree, your method is MUCH more attractive than the "jugs and pots all over the place" method that I've used. DH was always sooo happy when Spring arrived and the deck got cleaned up again.
I'm sorta curious (always with the questions!); I thought one of the ideas of Winter sowing was to allow nature to stratify/scarify the seeds for you (with the frost/thaw cycles) so that you don't have to nick and soak and all that before the seeds are sown. Don't you just make more work for yourselves doing all that before sowing them? I mean, it's gonna happen anyway if the seeds are outside over-winter, right? I always thought that was the purpose of Winter sowing; to make less work for us and just let nature handle that stratification stuff. (I am a tried-and-true lazy gardener, can you tell?) ;)
This is cool, learning new ways to do stuff, thank you all for having patience with me while I learn. =) And yes, if you picture a 7-year-old in the classroom with her hand raised, asking the teacher "But, WHY!?!?"... that's me! =)
You're right Speedie, nicking and soaking would seem redundant if WS does it all for you. I have some seeds with special requirements -- double stratification. Instead of leaving these varieties out in containers for one warm cycle and one cold cycle I sped them up and warm/moist stratified for the required period and then I put out in the snow for the cold/moist.
I do have a milk jug with Lily of the Valley seeds that will be outside for the duration of the double cycle. I don't want to risk losing them to critters or insects.
Thank you for the compliment. Depending on the type of seed, the reason for soaking is to remove the inhibiting factor that is in the seed coat that prevents sprouting. Every seed have that to one degree or another. This soaking and rinsing treatment is to remove the seed germination inhibitor present in the seed coat. Outdoors, the fall rains and melting snow in winter do the same thing over a 3 to 4 month period in order to break dormancy.
The seed inhibiting is nature's way of making sure that seeds don't sprout in unfavorable conditions to allow their survival. Generally speaking, hardy perennials takes longer to sprout than annuals. That is the reason why gardeners have to try to mimic nature with all sorts of tricks. But, as always, there are exceptions.
Soaking also softens the seeds coat to allow easier passage of moisture to the embroye. Usually overnight soaking is sufficient. For hard seeds such as iris, it is not. With some seeds, nicking first is required. Hibiscus, and morning glory seeds comes to mind.
And if that is not enough, many tree seeds and some perennials have a double dormancy. Without going into too much details, the flunctuating temp have to be repeated twice to break dormancy. Tree seeds can take 1+ years to sprout.
That is a really excellent website, Blomma, thank you for sharing it. I wish there were links there to just the articles, I could get lost for days in those articles. ... but, I digress. ;)
I'm learning a LOT here in this discussion, thank you guys for bearing with me. So, the "double dormancy" seeds require both scarification and stratification, which can, in nature, take 2 years or longer to germinate... if not for the Loving Gardeners' hands... Am I understanding this correctly?
That may explain why my Pieris Japonica "Dorothy Wycoff" seeds did not germinate the first year I Winter Sowed them using the "traditional" (Milk Jug Sitting On The Deck All Winter) Winter Sowing method. I'll try to do some searching around for more info about those seeds when the internet is not so slow. (Dunno why it's acting so bogged down this morning).
Thank you again for putting up with me and my questions here; I am enjoying learning new things! =)
For the seed that is super hard to germinate, I WS in pots and make sure they're well-labeled and hold them over 2 years. I got a mandrake seedling once that way. It germinated late, and wasn't large enough to overwinter with any amount of mulch.
Mipii, I was thinking the same thing; those micro-climates can make all the difference in the garden world. You can also assist in 'creating' a micro-climate by doing like Mipii said; if you don't already have warming rocks, add some; you can install other, more hardy, plants to provide protection from the elements while still allowing sunlight through. (open growth-habit shrubs -- perhaps a Forsythia along a South-facing wall? Maybe a nice Lilac, which requires a good heavy-duty cold in order to bloom?)
I've done something similar in my Western-facing front bed. It gets full sun there, so I sneaked a few, more shade-appreciating perennials behind/amongst the Jerusalem Cherries and Otto Luyken, and they are thriving happily. :)
Celen, no I am still WS. My iris seeds are still outside in a bin on the north side of my house. They won't sprout until spring with 50 to 70 degrees---if it ever comes. Right now they are under 4" of snow.
Wow some great lists ↑up↑ there!! I had initially planned on setting my jugs out Jan. 1 but ended up getting it done way later, Feb. 27! I also edited my list of 100 down to 59, with the majotlrity of them sown in your run of the milk milk jugs, and a few 2 liters for the ones that are notoriously resentful of transplanting or having long taproots.
I took some pics with my iphone lens stuck right where the screw-on cap should be. So far, 25/59 jugs have germinated! I'm hooked for good now! With these higher temps (70-80) I've realized I need to water them once or twice a week, especially the ones that get a little more sun.
Thanks Celene, I only want drainage holes if I absolutely need them. Sealed containers with the perfect amount of moisture added at the onset...kind of like the DINO method. At this point it's a wait and see if I screwed-up thing.
Robin - thanks, I'm such a proud mama right now! Yes those pics are from over a week ago, some of them have really taken off since then, especially the balsam. I used a 1/2" bit in a power drill to put four drainage holes in each jug.. one hole in each bottom corner. I would think that the containers would need to have drainage or you'd end up with soggy soil and possible rot. It seems like a lot of the failures I've experienced with gardening in general, not just WS, are due to watering issues. Either I over-water, under-water, don't provide enough drainage, provide too much drainage, do I add rocks to this crock and not another, blahblahblah, see I am constantly learning what NOT to do, school of hard knocks LOL
Celene, that's a good idea to use the soldering iron for adding drainage holes to already-planted containers. I hope your sprouted flats do okay with more snow headed your way.. I assume your flats have lids? Sorry, I know that's a stupid question, I am just very visual, and I imagine some of my sprouts would be pressed up against the roof of a shallow lid. Two mystery plants in my perennial mix are already a few inches tall!
Speaking of, my next hurdle will be trying to determine when is the right time to take the tops off my jugs. Is it a weather thing, to keep the seedlings from cooking inside the jug? Or is it a size thing, where the plants are literally outgrowing the confines of the jug (roots and/or tops)?
I only have tiny sprouts, but they've survived with actual snow cover. The first year they did not die, I was amazed. I use regular 1020 flats with clear lids, and I move to the taller "greenhouse" style lids when the plants get bigger. If it's super cold, I may throw a layer of bubble wrap over the flats. Having the seedlings already in cells is easier for me.
Oh Celene, you had to go and say that... I'm going to dismantle my containers and check now, although I'd have no idea if the seeds have rotted since the temps here aren't anywhere near germinating temps yet.
Lol Becky, hard knocks is the school I went to too, live and learn...and learn...
Celene, I can imagine it's very tidy looking with the flats. I like the visual I'm getting..
Yes Robin, I'm kind of a dunce here at the SOHK! Lol! I almost roasted all my jugs to death! And a few jugs look like they'll literally burst open if I don't plant them soon! Ai ai ai never enough hours in the day..
Okay here are my worst jug busters! Lol first is the perennial mix, I think I see a lupine in there? Second pic is the impatiens balsamina, I really can't decide where I wanna plant these.. Anyone grow them before?Do they look better as a group or peppered here and there among other plants? Last pic is ipomoea quamoclit, red cypress vine.
Ha, not good yet, only half my jugs germinated. And aside from this freak cold front we are experiencing today, temps should be back up in the 80s again this weekend. Hardly the weather for winter sowing LOL
But hooked, yes I am! And my first WS 4 o clock came up this week, so I may get a few more jugs to sprout after all :)
Robin, it didn't need to be wintersowed, but I had so many seeds I wanted to try. I looked up each one in various WS databases and made a list of everything that could handle this method of sowing. I still have about 40 packets that could have been WS but they are more the native varieties and my "weeds" I love so much.. They are getting their own "wild" bed later this year.
Mine reseed as well, but this year I purchased some seeds for fancy flowers--spotted and swirled. They're good to fill a blank spot in a bed...where a perennial is sleeping or creeping, filling in after spring ephemerals, etc.
Celene, I learned to pair complimentary colors by consulting the color wheel. Since peach is a combination of orange and yellow, according to the color wheel, it would look best paired with a bluish purple. Maybe hydrangea, mainacht salvia or purple delphinium would look good. Ornamental grasses look good everywhere, and you can't go wrong with white flowers also.. They go with everything.. Like the little black dress of the plant kingdom :)
StillPlaysWDirt wrote:Like the little black dress of the plant kingdom :)
LOL, perfect description!! =)
Yes, the colour wheel is the perfect way to see what colour combos we like!! You could do like Still says and use complimentary colours (those found on the opposite side of the colour wheel) - blues/ violet-blues would be on the opposite side of the wheel from peachy colours. Or, you could go with a couple adjacent colours, to create a harmonizing 'flow'. Or you could use what they call the 'colour triad', using 3 colours that are evenly spaced around the colour wheel... so for your peach colour, there would be a blue/green and then a "hot" pinky-purpley-violet.
The fun part of it all is that there is no "wrong" answer, it's just... whatever you like! =)
Cytf, love the WS lettuce, reminds me of healthy fast food :)
Juhur, you should be happy! You are a seed germinating machine! LOL
Pic time! First one is my jugs that need potting up already, next is the jugs that sprouted, but either waiting for more sprouts or they're still too small to handle. Last one is all the jugs that are left, I'm still waiting for signs of life.. Wouldn't you know some of my "most wanted" are sitting there doing nothing, giggling quietly whenever I walk by..
SPWD (Becky) ( my first glance was ; Wow what I set up you have !!! ^_^ ) could not get near that many here ,lol When they all grow though , there are very few satisfactions that compare !^_^ Seems that happens frequently to me also , the one (s) you want most seem to not happen , only disappointment in seed starting ..
My devices and machines , are like yours , jugs and cans , people here were correct the jugs worked better this time .. That above and some onions is about all the success I have really had ,, slow happening year for me ,here .
Aw Ju, well at least it's early season for you still. Seems I missed the early planting and may have a lean garden this year (veggie harvests anyway..). What to sow now is the question? You know, I'm second in line to get the robin next!!!
SWPD (Becky) I thought I answered this , I must of missed something , O h , Yeah ,, and that Robin is Flying (C- Heavy ... I am trying about all I can deal with
Some for me , Bunches for Butterflies ..
Alfalfa , Buckwheat , today , Moved a Spicebush , that is not looking to good , to a more (hopefully) favorable location . things are coming along , With more to come ,
A few in the Wintersow cans look okay , but overall , that failed this year , Looks like a Scabiosa , Campanula , and perhaps an elderberry might be all ..
Do have a clematis cutting returning though ,, yea ...^_^
Yes the milk jugs worked great, and my family drinks 4 of them a week so I'll start saving and scrounging them in October or so to get my 100 for next year. I used 2 liter coke bottles for the ones that are notorious for disliking their roots being disturbed, or have a long taproot.
I did learn that gorilla tape is the way to go if you don't plan on opening up the container much before it's time to flip your lid. I was able to re-secure it afterward, but in my opinion, it was way too sticky to work with. Will just use a boxcutter to slice the tape on the container next time.
What kind of butterfly plants do you like? Any and all? We have so many wild milkweeds here. Asclepias asperula I think? Maybe asclepias viridis, can't remember right now. Anyway, if you like I can send you seeds this summer. They are host plants for monarchs so I'm happy we have thousands of these plants all over the place so far this year. One year we had so many butterflies they hung on the branches of one particular tree so thick, the leaves appeared to have an orange, autumn-like color. This was before their numbers declined :(
That is Syrica , my garden )in my Avatar .This year , mostly weed viewing for Butterfly host plants. I am finding a few ,usually more than I need ..
I will be back to talk type more . I want to read zones before I answer ..
StillPlaysWDirt, I had a good chuckle about your jugs are just giggling as you pass by , you are really funny. I usually have good luck with lettuce every year. Out of the 12 jugs I sowed only 3 do not have great results.One of them I got 4 Basil seeds to sprout but I am pleased with that because I just plant them between my tomato plants to warn of bugs.
Well I spent the last 2 days dividing WS jugs.. Some for me to keep, and some to share with other DGers at my first Roundup in a few weeks :))
So far, I've done 36 Hibiscus coccineus (18 each of white & red), 10 salvia coccinea 'coral nymph', 10 salvia azurea, and 6 orlaya grandiflora. Have tons more to do, but figured I'd get the roundup offerings a headstart above the others.
Some of these plants were so easy to WS, I still can't believe I waited so long to try this out, great success :))
I did Hibiscus too and was really surprised to see a few germinating, because I read on the net that they are suppose to be sowed in spring.Well I am happy to have a few to give to my garden club friend .
Getting ready to winter sow this winter (newbie).
Blomma, you say you store your winter sowed seeds in garage or shed til they sprout...don't they need the rain/snow during that time? I was especially interested in yr flat boxes stacked in large bin. Would you explain if these stacked flat containers have holes for drainage or do you find that moisture contained at planting time remains consistent in closed containers?
Thank you in advance for yr advice!
Valal - once you try it, you'll be hooked! After last year, I'm totally hooked and ready to go again this winter! I waited until the end of January last year and it worked great, but this winter I plan on doing them in the beginning of January to allow them to grow a bit more before the grasshoppers show up and start eating all my plants!!
Memays - nice list, I've grown about half of those and want to grow about half of the rest :))
Some of the seeds you marked "SS" can be WS (at least for me, here in N. TX). I would WS the monarda, vitex (these take a while), cypress vine, and salvia (is it s. coccinea? I did s. soccinea and s. azurea via WS last year and both worked great). Is the senna you're trying S. Alata? I think, keyword: think, so don't quote me on this, I think senna alata might need to be sowed indoors or wait til after last frost date.. It's a borderline hardy plant here.
There is a wintersow list of times to plant seeds around these threads on seed starting someplace , I would think if you are still having cold weather you could still plant ,
I am colder than you , here Poppies and Morning glory and several can still be planted ,
Have to see if someone can find that Wintersowing link ,
Lets see , here is one nearer to your zone , other side of the country , but nearer ,,,
I have the same problem, mhf- I got busy with an ill relative after Thanksgiving, and just never did it. Now it is springlike, it's not clear we will have much more cold weather here. I thought I might still do it with a detour into the fridge and freezer, a sort of half-wintersowing. I have been out doing yard cleanup in a tee shirt, and everything is sprouting. I guess we might as well try, then report back if it worked.
Here are photos from my yard last week:
I long to see some blooms in my yard! We are buried under 3-1/2 feet of snow...3" expected today ( a dusting!!!) But they are watching a big potential storm for the weekend. I think you could still WS but if seeds need cold stratification, you'd better do fridge for those to be sure...definitely not too late for any others