Only do Iris and daylilies now. Daylilies were started in the fridge November 2013. Likewise irises. The irises are in plastic box stored in unheated shed for stratification. They will sprout around April when weather warms.
Below are daylilies growing under light. Started with the Deno method. Yea, I know they are not WS but they where sown during winter.
Holy cow, that is a lot of containers in those bins, LOL! Sure is my style, though you outdid me. What did you sow in them?
Hint: I hope you aren't leaving the bins where sun will shine on them. Even in the winter it can get too warm in there and with the added moisture inside it is asking for disease to start. Otherwise it looks great. Place the bins on the north side of a building or in a unheated shed or garage until sprouting is noticed.
Below are mine from 2009. Now I place them in my unheated shed.
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.
That is quite a list of seeds. Hope you have lots of room for planting. Hibiscus, and Daylily are easy to sow indoors using Deno method. Delosperma is a succulent plant and the tiny seeds most likely will rot if left in a moist container all winter.
1] Hardy Hibiscus--with the Deno method sprouting in 2 days. Nicked, soaked overnight, placed in moist kitchen towel inserted in baggie kept at room temp.
2] Delosperma---mixed seeds in fine peatmoss 1 week in fridge. Sprouted in 1 week at room temp.
3 &4] Daylily---Deno method. Soaked overnight, placed in moist paper towel, inserted in baggie, stored in fridge for 3 weeks. Sprouted at room temp within 2 weeks.
All the other seeds you planted should do well as you have them.
Mipii, good explanation for Speedie. I am far from an expert, just learned by trial and error for 50 years.
The only correction I would make on your explanation is NEVER use garden soil with potting soil in an enclosed container. Potting or seedling soil is sterile---no bugs or disease. Adding garden soil, you undo the sterilization not to mention what garden soil contains such as bugs.
I used potting soil for the bulk of the container, then 1" of seeding mix to sow the seeds in.
My reason for smaller containers in a large bin is against critters, plus I don't like to mix different seeds in the same box. The soil inside the shoe boxes is moist and when covered should remain so all winter without added watering. The shoe boxes have drainage holes from a hot nail. Those holes will be needed when seeds begin to sprout since covers need to come off then moved to a sunny area. Watering will be required then.
I find I have more control over the seeds doing it this way since nothing can get at them and moisture will remain even. I have clay garden soil which isn't great to sow seeds in eenthough it has been amended with horse manure and eat moss.
I will add that a bin full of smaller boxes is far more attractive than milk containers spread all over. In addition, the seedling are easier to get at (with a small pickle fork) for potting up.
P.S. I think the word you were looking for was "ventilation".
1] Iris sprouting April 2011
2] Then potted in 6-packs
3] April. Moved to morning sun, still in bin.
4] Planted in open coldframe May 30, 2012
5] First blooms June 2013 at 14 months of age. I was thrilled.
I have done hardy perennials in the same way. Now I just sow iris and daylilies from my own crosses.
You are welcome. If I learned anything it is not to put all my eggs in the same basket. In other words, don't sow all the same seeds at the same time. Hold some back just in case...
1] 156 daylily pots in April 2012 acclimated to the sun before planted out.
2] Planted out. Photo taken in August 2012
3 &4] Began to bloom July 2013 at 14 months.
In general, it takes 3 or 4 years for both iris and daylilies to bloom. I contribue their early blooming to all the rotted horse manure I added Fall of 2011. I have had others that took longer to bloom. These below were growing next to the irises who also had manure prior to planting and bloomed early.
My daughter and son-in-law have 6 horse so I will never run out of manure. Lucky me.
You are welcome. I see that you are in Canada. Whatzone, regarding Delosperma. I have always seen that they are hardy only down to 5, I live in 4 without them dying over winter.
Have you grown them and did they survive in your zone?
As far as sowing them, I will add a it more in detail.
I used a plastic container, such as salads come in at Alberson's, though any will do as long as it has a cover. If no fine peat moss is available, break it up by rubbing the fiber in between you hands. Wet it, and spread it in the container. Spread your seeds over the peat moss blending it a bit but don't cover with peat moss. Just enough so the seeds are in contact with the moss. Cover the container and stick in the fridge for 1 week. Allow to stand in room temp until sprouting. The seedlings are so tiny at first.
When large enough (second suculent leaf) tansfer them in bunches to potting soil. Almost impossible to seperate the reason for the bunches. Let the strong ones survive and transplant those singly in 6-packs.
I have 5 different cultivars of Delosperma, yet only this one produced seeds that were viable.
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.
Surprisingly, I can grow Delosperma in my zone 4 in spite of the recommended zone of 5. I have several cultivars and the first year I grew D. cooperi (red iceplant) I took cutting in late summer, potted them and grew them in a sunny window all winter. They got a bit lanky but they lived.
In April, I started more cuttings to plant in the garden with the parent plant. I have also grown it from seed---a slow process. Cuttings bloom quicker, starting in June in my climate.
1] D. cooperi
2] D. "Mesa Verde"
3] D. nubigenum, blooms in July
4] D. congestum, "Gold Nugget" blooms in May
5] D. "Starbright"
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.