These are my winter seedling containers. I had great success last year with them so that's what I'm using this year. I cut the bottle in half, punch holes in the bottom, and put a few slits in the top half for ventilation. After I plant my seeds and water them, I put the top back on and pack the bottles into cardboard boxes. Then out they go into the back yard to face the cold. As things begin to sprout I'll remove the bottle caps so they don't over heat. Works like a charm. I had more seedlings last year than I could fit into my garden.
When all the kids were home we went through that size bottle a lot but don't even buy them anymore unless kids are coming home or lots of company. But..we do drink lots of juice from plastic bottles just like this only a bit smaller and I've been doing the same thing. I think it's great too.
Poppysue, Did you start them out in a sterile potting medium or with regular potting soil? I want to try this as I have been saving my cold drink bottles to use the bottom cut off part for potting up new plants. I have bunches of them.
tiG - I think I'll do that. I have some brugs in paper cups & it's not working out too good. We have tons of coke bottles - DH is an addict! They're recyclable here so I always save them to take to the redemption center. Think I'll cut a bunch up today.
i have always used those soda bottles, if memory serves me right... i first posted that in the thread of propagating Confederate jasmine thread.
i cut the upper 1/4 off the top using a blade cutter, then trimming off with a pair of scissors to smoothen the edges. using a portable drill, puncture holes on the bottom. wash the bottle with bleach and diswashing soap to sterilized the bottle. fill the bottom part with styro foam 'peanuts' - to prevent water log.
i make my own starter soil by premixing equal amount of perlite and peat moss with a teaspoon of superphosphate - enchances root and plant growth. premoist the potting medium prior to planting the seed or cutting. it has always worked wonders for me all the time.
seeds i often soaked in luke warm water for 3 consecutive days, changing water each day. w/in 3- 5 days, most seeds emerge as seedlings. don't forget to place the top on. after the seedlings emerge, take off the top cover.*smaller seeds i plant straight on the potting medium. depending on the seed's requirement for light: some i cover with starter soil, others i simply place on the top of the soil.
the cuttings, i plant with out the top to cover. w/in a few weeks new leaves emerge.
i do not have a green house, never had those special lights to grow. i am solely dependent using the plastic bottles as propagating medium. i simply place the bottles on the southwest window ledge for light... ma vie
You guys are all so clever! One suggestion: If you want to add holes to the bottom of a plastic container without splitting it, try a hot nail! I hold a 16 penny nail over the burner of my kitchen range (holding it with a pair of plyers!), then turn over the container and burn the holes in. It's fast and easy, and it doesn't split brittle plastic products.
WZ... u are right. u can also heat the end of an ice pick to puncture holes. i prefer the portable drill, cause it is easier for me that way. i collect the plastic bottles, cut, steriled in bunches. not one at a time. easier to stock them up and ready for use in the event it is needed. there is a lady around the neighborhood who collects the plastic bottle for me, and bring them in exchange of duplicate & easy plants for her to grow. she knew i do not drink soda pop, and knew i use these plastic containers all the time as regular pots for duplicate stock.
so far, i have never crack a plastic bottle yet! ma vie
Weezingreens... we sure don't want to offend the men. i do not know how much younger u are than i am. being an old lady as i, i still need a helping hand around lifting those heavy containers or pots. or even transporting those bulky garden supplies i have to keep stock at hand... ma vie
I sure didn't want to insinuate that men are unnecessary. I depend on my DH for lots of things, and he always helps me with my garden projects. I guess I worded it wrong.. what I mean is that it's nice to do things for myself without having to ask him to put a screw in the wall to hang a picture when he's busy with something else.
I'm 55, MaVie Rose and that seems pretty old sometimes when I'm on my hands and knees digging in the garden, then try to get back up! I don't know if you've lived more years than me, but I can tell by your postings that you are young at heart and your mind is as sharp as a tack. You've always got a helpful link to a website or good advice to share!
Weezingreens... am 58, a few years ahead of u ;). as Aimée, use to say... we are not old, but wiser LOL! i do prefer to post web sites for fear of missing some vital information. if not mistaken, sharing web sites is far better, the reader can always bookmarked for future references. i try to post the best site/s i can find, if possible. i like to help the best way i can. being born under the astrological sign of virgo, i guess i am focus on details - vital details that need to be known.
having been born and raised in the Philippines, i've been blessed to touched and wear lovely & fragrant tropical flowers or plants. i've been gardening most of my life. here in the US, it has been nearly 40 yrs.- totally different garden technique from the orient. it is sad to admit, before then, i have never find interest in botanical names until recently. way back then, i was content to know the common name of plants that are resident to Philippines climate cause i never knew i was going to be transplanted to the US. when i came here, i had hardship finding plants i had been familiar with... then the botanical names became mandatory for me to learn. i am glad cause the transistion, allowed me to acquire plants i've been familiar with.
it is always good to share information, from my point of view, it makes one's task less burdensome for other. in the process of sharing information, i also learn a lot too.
Oh, MaVieRose, how right you are. I know I have visited the sites you've linked, and many of them are earmarked in my favorites now. I'm amazed that you always know where to look for information. That is truly what knowledge is all about.. knowing where to look for the answers, since none of us can keep all the information we need in our heads!
I envy your history with tropical plants. I can see now why you do so well with the plants you show us in photos. I, too, experienced a drastic change in growing techniques when I moved to Alaska almost 30 years ago. I came from the midwest where the summers were hot and the winters quite cold. We could grow so many things down there that I cannot grow up here...at least, not without a great deal of effort!
As you know, I'm sure, there is a trade-off when you move to a different climate. In my case, I could no longer grow tomatoes, cucumbers, or sweet corn in my garden, but other vegetables that I used to have to grow in the cooler part of the summer only, are were fine all summer here. Now I can grow wonderful lettuce, Swiss chard, celery, peas, all summer long. Violas don't bake in the sun, my bleeding heart never dies back.
Another benefit up here is the lack of harmful bugs, fungi, etc, that plague the warmer climes. We get a few cut worms, root maggots, thrips, and of course lots of slugs, but they aren't those big banana slugs the West Coast deals with! I think we also get more vibrant colors in some of our blooms, perhaps due to the cool soil, the long days, or the kinder sun. In the two or three months we have to work with, it is Eden here.
I, too, am learning about the botanical names. It really becomes necessary as I branch out in my seed starting. This spring I started at least 6 kinds of primula, and different varieties of some of those. Without the botanical names, it could be very confusing later on. I've learned a lot here in Dave's Garden, and helping with the database is really good for me to learn more.
There are a couple other aspects of gardening I really want to learn about, should you see sites as you surf the net. One is pollination. I collect lots of seeds, but I'm never quite sure what can cross and what cannot. I guess I really need a sex education class in plants!...(not the carrots!)
The other is the life expectancy of perennials and the life cycle of biennials. This has always been a mystery to me. As I get older, I had to face the fact that I won't be here forever, so I've also begun to ask how old I can expect a plant to get? When should I start grooming a successor. I've never heard anyone say, "My columbine passed away this winter of natural causes...just slipped away in her sleep." They always say it winter killed. Don't some of these old gals just keel over from old age?
Thanks to friends in the garden, I know how to hyperlink now, so I'm going to follow your example and add a few in future postings. Thanks for sharing a bit of your history with me.
u've mention a too broad subject: pollination, need to narrow it down. here, see for urself what i mean http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&oe=ISO-8859-1&q=flower+pollination ... too much to look into, but i hope u can find what u really want. see, the time element i have to spend to specifically find the 'right place'? if u don't find what u need. let me know and i will look it up for u. right now need to do some 'work' around the house, least i get in trouble. ma vie
You know, you are right, MaVieRose. It is much too broad a query. At this point, I think I'm mostly concerned with cross-pollination...what crosses with what. How I can avoid it, how I can encourage it. Any suggestions on where to look for the life-expectancy of plants?
These questions are certainly not an immediate need. I just meant to keep them in mind, and if something related pops up, and you recall I asked, you could let me know. I,too, need to get to work around my house. It is morning here, and I have already been out to my shed to mist all my seedlings, but still have a basement full to do! I'm sitting here in my nightgown typing away when I should be fixing my breakfast and cleaning house! It's hard to leave the Garden!
there was no intensions at all to hijack ur thread poppiesue. senior moments often get me into trouble, but once reality evolves, i am back to track again. LOL! the yearning to give a helping hand beget the best of me.
Sue, how tall are the boxes you put them in? I guess the cardboard provides some insulation for the soil (root zone?) Great idea - next winter I'll try it. So far I've just been using regular cell packs in flats with lids - four flats at a time on our picnic table, then rotate them back into the GH after 4-6 weeks (I know that's not "REAL" winter sowing, but it's a start, LOL.)
MaVie! Question for you. When you mix your potting med. for starting seeds and cuttings you said to use a tsp. of super phosphate. I was wondering how much of the peat and perlite you used when you added the teaspoon. In other words, what balance of the three.
Do coke bottles look like that there? Here they are made of hard plastic (we have a recycle system with bottles, very neat), how much is there in one bottle? I wish we'd have 2 litre bottles, right now the 1,5 l is biggest one. And one of cheapest costs about 1,60 € (about 1,45 USD).
when using 12 oz. coffee can as a measuring cup; use equal amounts of peat & perlite; 1 tsp of superposphate*.add enough water to moisten the mixture [just moist, not saggy or watery] mix thoroughly till well blended. remember to use premoisted soil when planting.
superposphate, where i am situated is only available in nurseries, Home Depot or Walmart does not sell them.
Terry those are 2 litre bottles. I put them in boxes just to keep the wind from blowing them around. The tops of the bottles are still exposed. Last year I buried them in the snow but this year we didn't have any. We've had plenty of cold weather though.
I just took some cuttings today - weigela, honysuckle, and thyme. I cut a tall bottom & a tall top from 2 different bottles to make them big enough. I hope they root! I put them outside on my porch so I can keep an eye on them.
You can also use containers like
what cool whip comes in. Just poke
holes in the bottom and cut out a
large circle in the lid. Put
plastic wrap or some kind of
clear plactic over the container
and replace the lid. The lid will
hold the plastic in place. Poke
some small holes in the plastic.
This works good,right along
with the coke bottles.
Question here - as usual, I am way behind everyone else.
We have way too many cans here, not enough bottles. What about (and they're usually only a few dollars) - using the semi-clear plastic containers and bins that are sold. Not the rubbermaid, those are colored plastic, but the clear ones? Could those be half filled, seeds planted, then put out in the yard?
Sandra - those will work fine. I used some the size of a shoe box last year, with drainage holes drilled in the bottom. The bigger ones you could set smaller pots inside. You can use just about anything that will hold soil. I've used the alluminum cake tins that have a pop on dome cover. I've also stuck some regular planting flats inside a clear trash bag.
There was another thread around with some discusion about planting your pots and using a top layer of grit or pea gravel to keep the soil in place and seeds from getting washed away. I'll see if I can find it.
I love this idea -- made a papa version of poppysue's using a large gallon Dannon Water Bottle (a nice clear plastic) and used it to put my small paper pots in!! Works like a charm in keeping them from drying out so fast -- and helps keep them from flopping around as much. Thanks!
Great idea.. using coke bottles.
Plenty of those around and cheap!!!
Guess you could do the same thing with milk containers.
Do you do this with all seeds?
A little confused as I know you get some brutal weather.
Could I do that now in south jersey?
Forgive my ignorence, it goes with the holes in the head
Sandy: Never feel bad about asking questions around here. Everytime someone asks a "stupid question", the rest of us all gather around to hear the answer, too! Some of our best threads are like that. Everybody benefits when someone is assertive enough to ask a basic question...
Now having said all that, I'm not equipped to answer your question because I'm new to winter gardening! Poppysue or someone will pop in here soon and help you out.
Sandy, I don't do this with all seeds. Some of the annuals need a longer growing season so I start them indoors. I start tropicals indoors too. I do this with many of the hardy perennials and annuals. I just planted a ton of them yesterday ans stuck them outside in the back yard.
Poppysue got your seeds today and am ready to start planting. New to this so can I use this method for them. Would be easy to mark the bottles with perment marker as to what is planted. Do you soak the seed first and lay in on the soil. I want to do this whole thing right from seed to planting in the garden. Am I asking too much?? ♫ Ted ♫
Ted - you mean the daylily seeds? They won't need any chilling. I soak mine in water until they plump up and look like they've absorbed moisture. Some seeds take just an overnite soaking. Others that are more shriveled take a few days. If the water gets scuzzy or you notice any rotting seeds, remove them, and change the water. Then I plant. I planted them in coke bottles (one cross per bottle), And I kept them inside under my lights. Some will sprout in just a few days... and others might take a few weeks.
Yes - cover them with a ¼ inch of soil or so. I leave the cover on for a while with the bottle cap off. Once it looks like most of them have germinated I remove the cover. It just helps keep the soil moist.
Been playing around with that old bottle. Found another way to do one. Cut off the top portion just where it starts to make a bell shape. Carefuly trim it so you can insert it edge wise and rotate it inside the bottom until it is where ever you want it. Makes a good tight fit. Cut off too much and it will fall in.
I've been saving my large pretzel barrel plastic containers for the last year or so. DH keeps trying to throw them away. I think these would make great winter germinators. I don't think I'll get them going until later in the season, since our winters are so long...maybe after the holidays.
That sounds about right, Poppysue. I have noticed many of the germination requirements listed on the Tom Clothier site require a week or two of warm temps (indoors), followed by some freezing temps... outside in February, followed by refrigeration... March or April around here. I've just got to find that magic date to get the whole process moving.
I couldn't see the second link so this may be a repeat. Thompson and Morgan no longer have the original of this germination booklet in print but someone put it on the web. It is an invaluable addition to your references. http://www.backyardgardener.com/tm.html Jessamine
Well this is an interesting thread. Please tell me if I am correct. You use the coke bottles to start the plants that you want to sow in the spring or summer and you start them around Feb-Mar. They are planted in the bottles and left outside until the weather warms enough for them to sprout? What do you do then? Aren't the seedlings too small to direct plant outside? Do you move them to larger containers and keep the same method up?
They would probably be very hardy that way because they would be used to the cold.
Have you tried petunias? They take such a long time to germinate and grow that it would be nice to have them outside instead of inside.
I was also wondering...when you cut the coke bottle in half and then put the top back on, doesn't it just fall off when bumped? What do you do to keep it from falling all around? Tape?
sunnyskies, I'm sure Poppysue could answer you better than me, but here's what I think. The winter sown seeds will not germinate until they have adequate warmth to do that. By that time, your soil should be ready for transplants. If not, one can always transplant them into containers and cover them... such as a coldframe.
If you cut a pop bottle in half, you can cut slits along the lower edge of the top piece so as to allow it to fit over the bottom piece. It's a pretty tight fit, but I imagine some tape wouldn't hurt. I would fit the top over the bottom so that you don't get water building up along the seam.
I start most of my annuals, petunias included, indoors. As I mentioned before, the seeds wouldn't germinate until the temp of the soil in the bottle reached germination temp... 60's or 70's. I find the best seeds to winter sow are perennials that need special cold stratification. In warmer climates, annuals may do fine outside, but I'm not sure when you cold weather is over in Idaho.
Paridise, I'd strongly recommend clear bottles. You don't want a waterproof liner, since you'll need drainage at some point. Early in the spring, before the outdoor soil and air are very warm, the bottles will act as little greenhouses. You need the light.
Weezingreens, thanks for getting back with me. Now I get the idea! And how smart can you get over the "seam" idea. I always have to learn the hard way, so this time I don't! I am so ready for the new seed catalogs. I want to start planting!
Idaho is a little tricky about the cold weather. It may warm up nice during the day, but the nights stay cold for a long time. Tender annuals aren't safe here until the middle of may and then you still have to watch the nights. Nice in the summer though, the temps stay around 60-65 at night. Thanks, again
I haven't tried the coke bottles as yet. I've got some big pretzel tubs I want to use this winter. I'm going to wait until around February, I think. My climate has issues, too, sunnyskies. Our winters are fairly mild with some cold weather thrown in here and there. It rains a good part of the early winter, so having covers on the winter sowing is important. I'm going to use some good sterile starter mix with vermiculite. I thought about water crystals, but if you get too many of those, it looks like jellow salad! LOL!
sorry for cross pollinating :) - I just received the most wonderful package of poppy seeds from Nadi. How is the best way to propagate these (winter sowing in place, in bottles, in greenhouse or cold frame)? Thanks for all your advise and help! It's invaluable to me and forgive me when I repeat myself - sometimes between work and kids - I'm just a smidge forgetful!
mkeilers, what type of poppies are they? I'm guessing somniferum, and if that is the case, you can try spreading some seeds this fall and letting them come up in the spring, or you can winter sow them, or you can start them indoors in the spring, or you can plant them outdoors in the spring. If you have much seed, you could sprinkle some out in an area you will not be disturbing in the spring, then plant a few indoors in case they don't come up. Somniferum will probably re-seed themselves for you if you pick a spot where you won't be turning the soil all the time. Probably the best info would come from someone with similar climate to yours.
Karen, yes they do... but they'll last for 1 season! It gets windy enough here that I have to use something to corral my plastic containers. I also found that a cardboard box will hold water for just a little while before draining away, so you can splash water into the box with the hose and water your containers from the bottom (a good technique for warmer spring days when there hasn't been any rain for a bit).
Ooh, I like that carboard box idea. I've used old plastic dish washing tubs, but then if you get a hard rain, you have floating container...not a good idea. The cardboard will drain all on its own. And then I can use it instead of newspaper under my mulch in the spring. Waste not, want not. :)