It's hard to find time for serious wintersowing in the days leading up to Christmas, so am thinking of just a token wintersowing to celebrate the solstice - kind of like going out to look up at stars at night.
One genus that has always benefited from wintersowing (and which I crave intensely) is primula, so will start with Weezingreens' trade of Primula japonica and a crunchy lettuce she sent me. I will water the seeds in their medium with a solution of 1 - 2 Tbsp hydrogen peroxide (H202) and 1 gallon of water.
The strength of H202 in this recipe is about 3% or 3.5%, and will try to buy it from a local pharmacy. For further discussion of the H202 method, please read: http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/423028/
It doesn't take too much time to sow a couple of containers of seeds and put them outdoors to begin the Winter Soltice celebration.
I'm also going to start some Lettuce seeds, but also Aquilegia (Columbine), Hollyhocks and Poppies. They all need a very long growing period.
You might want to experiment with half of your seeds in your water/hydrogen peroixde solution soak prior to sowing in your container and half without the soak and see if there is any difference. I want to try aspirin water on half my seeds this year and the other half without it. Phenomenal results with using aspirin water on seedlings and plants. Why not start with seeds?
Hiyaa, so happy to meet you. I will be winter sowing for the 1st time this year thanks to the above mentioned website. I have a question though. On the wintersown.org website they have a link at the bottom to wintersowing in ziploc baggies. Now in all the photos of these, the tops look to be all the way open on both the ladies baggies and pop bottles. I thought that it was really important to tape the tops back on the bottles (& the drawing instructions for the baggies shows them zipped almost closed). It sure seems easier to leave the tops off, but makes sense to put em on too. Either of you have any comments on this? I am so excited to try this method. I always get griped at for all my seed starting parephenalia all over the kitchen/utility room each winter, so this will keep most of it outdoors. Yeay!
Hi Keyi! Welcome to Wintersowing! Congratulations on taking that "leap of faith" and wintersowing for the 1st time!!
This is copied from the wintesown.org website:
"Take your flat and slip it into a baggie or zip bag. Close the baggie with a twist tie or knot, or zip the bag shut. Take a paring knife and make a few slits in the bottom for drainage and make some slits in the top for the air transpiration too.
If you use a ziploc bag you can keep that zipper open a bit and make just a few slits to the top for air transpiration. Easy!" Is this what you were referring to?
As for 1 litter bottles, you should leave the tops OFF, so that Mother Nature can provide your seeds with moisture (in the form of snow or rain) for you. If you don't get any moisture from Mother Nature, then please add some to your bottles, so your soil does not dry out.
I'm excited for you! What seeds will you be sowing first???
Ah ha! This is just the bunch I was lookin' for! I have some seeds which I want to wintersow. The problem is that it's not winter all winter here. If I put them outside, at some point our temps are going to go back up into the '80s and they're going to germinate and then get zapped by a cold front coming through. So I'm wintersowing in the frige. Since mother nature will not be raining in my frige do you think I should cover with baggies and mist once a week or so? Other suggestions? This is my first experience with this. Also, can you tell me about the aspirin water? I've read about the peroxide soak on another thread. Glad to find some people that acknowledge Winter Solstice!
I'm going to w/s this year too, but I think I will wait until January! I had found another thread that was about w/s http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/560437/ . I'm glad to have found a bunch of you. I still wish we could have our own forum. It would definitely make life easier in finding all the threads.
If anyone is interested in an excel spreadsheet on what plants can be wintersown, I have a download link on my website http://www.lakehousecreations.com/winter_sowing.htm . It's grouped by zone and is wonderful! I got it from another garden forum dedicated to wintersowing. Between this one and the other, I'm happier than a pig in muck!
Hi NematanthusNut! Glad you found the Propagation Forum and Wintersowing thread!! Here is a link that addresses gardeners who don't get snow in the Winter (no shoveling for you) and how to go about WSing in mild climates. Hope this helps! http://www.wintersown.org/wseo1/It_Doesnt_Snow_Here.html Misting your containers once a week in the frig is an excellent idea. You don't want your seeds to dry out!
As for soaking your seeds in aspirin water, try experimenting with some of your seeds that have been either soaked or sprayed with this solution and another group that has no treatment. Plant as usual and observe when they germinate. Do they germinate more quickly than the seeds that were not treated this way? Do you have a higher germination rate with aspirin water? How do your seedlings look compared to the untreated group? Please report back and let us know.
Happy Winter Solstice planting!
Hi Anitabryk2: The great thing about WSing is that you do it when it is convenient for YOU! Since your in zone 6b, you should have great WSing weather! WS'ers are REALLY happy when it snows! I wish we could have our own forum too, put the powers that be at DG decided that we should remain in the Propagation forum. Spread the word...let your gardening friends know where we "hang out"!!!
Thanks for the wonderful link to the Excel spreadsheet on WS plants. Don't forget, what doesn't germinate for one person MAY work for another. Lots of other variables as to why the seeds didn't germinate.
Hiyaa Shirley, nice to meet you too. Here's a photo from wintersown. that I'm referring to about leaving the bag open. Hers all seem to be open all the way and the bottles aren't covered. But elsewhere on the site it says to tape the tops (shoulders, not the cap) back onto the bottle, and zip the baggie closed with just a few holes or an opening. Total odds to each other.
I got the free seeds from there, plus a ton from here on DG, plus ones I saved from my garden. So hopefully I'll have tons of happy healthy seedlings!
Here's my list of the purchased seeds that I want to try. I haven't added the ones that I collected yet to my spreadsheet. I figured I'd do that when I'm ready to start. I'm really excited about it too! I have 2 big bags of MG potting soil and also a huge bag! My girlfriend has supplied me with gallon jugs - she has 3 boys and a husband that drink her out of house and home. I figured I would start in January with hardy plants; February my Lentin Roses should start blooming and March I would w/s my tender annuals.
Ageratum Blue Danube
Basil : Bush
Begonia Dragon Wing™ Hybrid
Begonia Wings Hybrid Mix
Brachy Blue Brachycome
California Poppy Aurantiaca Orange
Chocolate Orange Rudbeckia
Clarkia elegans Royal Bouquet Mixed
Columbine McKanna's Giant Mixed
Courgette : Kojac
Dahlia Heirloom Border Species
Delphinium (Larkspur) ajacis Kingsize Scarlet
Eschscholzia caespitosa Monarch Mixed
Evening Primrose : Apricot Delight
Evening Primrose : Lemon Sunset
Gazania Daybreak Pink
Gazania Tiger Stripe Mix
Godetia amoena Fruit Punch Mixed
Gomphrena Globe Amaranth Mix
Heliotrope Dwarf Marine
Impatiens Wild Thing Hybrid
Lavatera trimestris Dwarf White Cherub
Lavatera trimestris Silver Cup
Lisianthus, Matador Blue
Lisianthus, Matador White
Lobelia Crystal Palace
Marigold Boy Series - Boy O' Boy Mix
Passion Mix Osteospermum
Pentas Butterfly Sparkles Mix
Peppers, Sweet Antohi Romanian
Phacelia dubia Lavender Lass
Portulaca Sundial Hybrid
Prairie Sun Rudbeckia
Rudbeckia hirta Chim Chiminee
Rudbeckia hirta Gloriosa Daisies
Rudbeckia hirta Kelvedon Star
Rudbeckia hirta Rustic Dwarfs Mixed
Tithonia rotundifolia Arcadian Blend
Tomato : Gartenperle
Tomato : Heirloom Box Car Willie
Tomato : Heirloom Brandywine Pink
Viola - Psychedelic Spring
Zinnia Star Series - Starbright Mix
Thanks for the picture, Mich! I've never WS'ed with just a baggie before, but it obviously works! Just make sure your baggie is deep enough to hold enough soil so it doesn't dry out. Do you already have snow on the ground? Ours is melting quickly, but more is on the way!
You purchased some great seeds, Anita! It's wonderful that you have a continuous supply of gallon jugs from your friend's family. Are you planning to share some of your WS seedlings with her?
Orlaya grandiflora is a new one for me. I'll need to Goggle to find out what that is!
No, sorry for the confusion, the photo is from wintersown.org. I am trying to find out if whomever actually took the photo and submitted it to wintersown left everything open like in the photo. It's a link at the very bottom of each of the wintersown.org pages. There are diagrams on how to cut the bottom of the baggie for drainage and then it says to zip it almost closed, but in the photo, they are all the way open. The bottles too.
whatever container you choose [baggie, milk jug, soda bottle, roaster pan] needs openings on the bottom and top. The bottom ensures drainage and the top ensures air circulation and 'watering'. This is what allows the maintenance free aspect of wintersowing.
The whole process is supposed to mimick Mother Natures way of propagation - without the worry of seed eaters or growth in unwanted areas.
Today was my first day in winter sowing. I thought I would do it last year, but I didn't. I used roasting pans form The Dollar Tree for
three large batches of various poppies, a party size vegetable tray of sturdy plastic with a top, and some salad containers from the salad bar. I planted poppies and hollyhocks. Next I will plant several types of foxglove and Shasta daisies; then I will start planting the other seeds from valueseeds.com and trading and buying. I want to grow primulas, delphiniums, iris, etc. etc.
The bag trick is very good. This spring I came across some landscapers planting petunias at the entrance of an apartment complex. They gave me the pots they came in-all that I could carry in two trips! They are about 6" tall and 6" across. I just put one in a ziplock seal bag and it fits perfectly. The pot itself stretches the bag out enough so that I won't have to prop it open. I will put drainage holes in the bag and leave a little area unzipped or put holes in the top too for ventilation.
We are having unseasonable cold weather here in Richmond and it will last until the end of the year and beyond so I am starting now.
Robin: Is this the 1st year that you've used baggies for WSing? What size baggies are you using and how much soil are you putting in each baggie? You are so lucky to have a wonderful "snow blanket" to protect and water your seeds with.
You're right, Anita. Make sure to have sufficient number of holes at the bottom of your container or bag for drainage. If you start with a few holes on the top of air circulation and "water", they can always be enlarged later as your seedlings grow taller.
Welcome Gloriag! Congratulations on getting a head start on your WSing! Great suggestions for cheap containers at The Dollar Tree and I also purchased lots of seeds from http://www.valueseeds.com Terrific prices!! I've also used containers from the salad bars. Just remember to fill them with plenty of soil so that they don't dry out...I found this out the hard way one year! Most of mine dried up to quickly because I didn't add a sufficient amount of soil to the container. Learned my lesson!
It's freezing cold in Maryland too! I'm getting all my containers and bottles ready with soil and seeds. Can't wait to put them outdoors!
Don't forget to mark your containers/bags with an identifying number or name of your seeds, unless you like surprises! I found that duct tape works the best and doesn't come off easily when it gets wet. I use a pencil or laundry marker & put a number on the bottom of each container which corresponds to a log that I maintain on an Excel spreadsheet. How do you keep track of what you've planted, germinates, blooms, etc.?
Ah, winter sowing! Getting ready to start my 5th year!
keyi - the pic you refer to is a teeny bit confusing. When it was first posted, if remember correctly, the gardener was showing how well her WSed seedlings had survived a freak snowstorm. She'd begun to open up the bags and bottles because they'd begun to show germination.
When the seeds are first sown, you do tape the top halves back onto the bottles, and zip the baggie closed ( with drainage and air holes) Once the seeds start to germinate, you can either open the zipper bit by bit or slowly enlarge the holes in the plastic. Easy.
Quoting:The bottom **holes**ensures drainage and the **open** top(s) ensures air circulation **to prevent fungi and damping off problems** and 'watering' **by letting in the snow/ melting snow**. This is what allows the "maintenance free aspect" of wintersowing.
I'm looking forward to WS'ing for my first yr too, for same reasons as Anitabryk2 - no green house and not enough room or money to set up a system in the house. How long in advance would you WS tomatoes, if you were me?
Thanks PVick for clearing up a bit of confusion when WSing with baggies. Do you remember what size baggies this WSer used? WOW, 5th year WSing! You have lots of experience!! Could you share with us some of your successes and failures???
Thanks Shirley1md! I think the WSer used the gallon size bags, but smaller bags should work just as well.
I'm a container gardener, and my garden is an 11th floor terrace. I love growing things, from seed especially; I don't have the space inside for even a simple light setup, and used to just start a couple of tomato plants and maybe a marigold or two on a sunny windowsill. Winter sowing was tailor-made for me..
I've grown so many plants over the last 4 years, stuff I'd never heard of before. Way too many for my little space; I give most of the seedlings away to friends. And I keep plenty too!
It's difficult to point out specific successes and failures; one year, a particular seed will germinate and grow well, another year not so good, yet another year ... zip. Over the years, I've had varied success with just about any seed I've sown. I'm "into" flowers right now (there are so many!), but I do grow vegetables as well - tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, spinach, scallions, etc.
My most glaring, absolute failures are trees and hostas. Three years running, and nothing - absolutely nothing. But I know it works, because people all over the zones report success. So I'm trying again this year - eastern redbud, japanese maple, crape myrtle and a mixed bag of hostas. I am going to get those darn things to germinate for me!!!
What am I going to do with trees on my terrace? Dunno, I just want to see them grow a bit. But I can use the hostas.
Suzi - in your zone, you should be able to start your tomatoes in late February - early March. That's when I do mine. By the later part of May, I've got some very sturdy, 1½ to 2 ft. plants to plant out. Mine get planted in an EarthBox - only two plants, but that's more than enough for me and my space. I think you'll be very pleased with your efforts.
My husband winter-sowed last year...I thought he was nuts - I thought in the back of my mind "they will NEVER germinate!!" I was wrong! We got 4 delphiniums and 3 shasta daisies from it. I think he put about 80 different seeds in a 10 inch diameter pot - it was a bit crowded- and I didn't know what he planted, so we couldn't identify all of them before some got crowded out. I am definitly trying again this winter.
I have been reading this thread since the beginning but haven't participated because I hadn't read the links yet.Well I did today and I am all hyped up.
I love the idea of starting on the Winter Solstice!I will be on an airplane at 6:00 AM on the 21st headed to SanDiego.I will take a small flat of poppies with me and leave them with my friend and see what happens.She is not a gardener.
I will start my own sowing the night before (just like Jewish holidays start the night before).I also ordered a whole bunch of seeds from value seeds.I have a small green house that is not heated and have winter sown in it, covering the flats when it gets very cold.We have snow here once in about 10 years.So I guess I have been winter sowing for about 5 years.
Thank you SO MUCH for your wonderful WSing photos, PVick!! What an inspiration to all WSers!!
Perhaps your eastern redbud, japanese maple, & crape myrtle seeds need more than one Winter to germinate. Perhaps they need another complete year of warmth and cold before their seed coat breaks open and they begin to germinate. So, don't throw out your containers!!! I can see you training them into beautiful Bonsai one day!! What direction does your balcony face? Do you receive morning or afternoon sun?
Hi, got2Bgreen! So happy to hear that you're going to give WSing another try! Do remember to use duct tape and a laundry marker on the bottom of your containers to indicate what you are growing OR you may have some new surprises!
Welcome, downscale_babe! Glad you joined in!! What are you planning to WS this year?
Wow PV, what a great series of pics. What an inspiration. Only a few more days to sowing day. I've gotta get labels done tonight. I'm going to do mine all in 1 gal. ziplocs and 1 litre bottles, and a few nursery pots and 2 sleds that the kids don't use anymore.
Great pics! Did you soak the seeds first +/or use else anything on them, like aspirin water or messenger?? Inquiring minds want to know!
Part of me says try lots of things... part of me says no, just a few so can keep good records. Prob LOTS of dif kinds of tomatoes, some onions, some flower seeds, couple other things, not sure. Won't know for sure till do it! I will for sure keep track in my DG garden diary to make sure I know what to/not to change next yr too. ~ Suzi :)
Supposedly, you don't have to do anything to the seed. No striations, soaking...you are letting mother nature do it. The freezes and thaws, snow and rain and sun are what take care of the things that you would normally do if you were starting the seed under lights or in a greenhouse. That is why you normally can't start alot of the 'tender' annuals and tropicals with the w/s method.
At least that is how I am understanding the whole process.
Shirley - Thanks for the timeframe you start yours. Hmmm sounds so delicious. I am not sure if I'm getting any more fruit trees this year or not. Therefore, don't know how much I can spend on the seeds... yet.
Anita - I realize that. However, someone on one of these threads mentioned possibility of using some aspirin water to start them and I thought that it sounded good too. Have to water them with something when first start anyways. And if do, and compare them with the control of just reg water to start, might be significantly better. Plus, would want to keep up the experiment and water those same ones with aspirin water every so often during summer.
Will def have to put the nametags up high where I can see them, not like last yr when tried a bunch of dif toms. Back was out most of summer, couldn't bend down to read any of the labels. Besides, darn weeds covered them up... LOL But, most of them were very delicious. The one grape tomato wasn't though...
I am off to working on my spreadsheet of the tom seeds, and some other seeds that I want too... LOTS! Gotta have a good list so know what to pare off, right?!
Whatever happened to the tom RR we were going to have?? ~ Later, Suzi :)
I have one question...forgive me if it has been answered...why put any bag on top of the conatiner if the container has good drainage? Here is Houston it seems to be easier just to put them in pots and see that they keep most. Is there an advantage to the baggies I'm not understanding (there is MUCH I don't understand!LOL).
I certainly plan to participate, I've already started alot of things outdooors in seed starting trays. Alot of our native plants like stratification too.
dmj1218: The baggie on top of the sown container is like a greenhouse. Just add a couple of holes in the baggie for air transpiration. It's just that easy! What are you wintersowing?
BriarRose74: I was the one who posted the thread on the use of aspirin water. I plan to mist/water half of plants with aspirin water and the other half with just plain water. I'll let you know what happens!
I think the tomato round robin might have been on the Seed Trading Forum.
Shirley - I thought that might have been you with the aspirin water. Do I remember correctly, 3 aspirin to 1 gal of water? I realize it wasn't in this forum, but I was just lamenting that it fell off the radar when I was so looking forward to it!
Are you going to continue watering them with the aspirin water throughout the summer too? Just wondering. Part of me wants to try the aspirin too... ~ Suzi :)
I've got lettuces, spinich, broccoli, stocks, penstamens, native Texas Columbines, Blackberry lillies, poppies, snaps, sweet peas, and eachinacea going already. I'll find some more stuff for the solstice. Just think of all us gardeners doing the same thing, just HAS to bring us good luck!
Debbie, your climate is about like mine and maybe even a tad warmer. My hope is renewed that I can do this. I'm from Tennessee where there was a "real" winter so I wasn't sure about winter sowing in this zone. If we cover to make a greenhouse, are they going to get too warm? Do you keep your flats where they can get any sun or in the shade to reduce the heat on the 70 to 80 degree days? I'm going to stick a few in the frige also just to see what happens.
I think what I did with my seeds by Fall planting was similar to
Winter Sowing so I jumped in, hope I'm not too far off.
Here is a photo that I took today of some of my seeds outside.
They include Yucca, White Oak acorns, Chinkapin Oak acorns,
Hollyhock, Japanese Wisteria, Bur Oak acorns, Persimmon, Redbud,
Dogwood, Thornless-Honeylocust, White Ash, Baldcypress and more I'm sure that aren't coming to the top of my head.
All my seeds are seeds that I collected from local plants this Fall. I usually get my seeds from public places like parks, cemetaries, anyplace I can get to and not be under suspicion.
I've had good success in past years with all of the above with the exception of Yucca, Dogwood and Hollyhock, this is the first year that I'm trying them. My seed-boxes I either made out of lumber, bought from Wal-mart or found in the trash. The ones in the photo on the left are those under-bed clear plastic storage totes from Wal-mart for $3.44 apiece, I have 12 of them scattered around. I re-use them if I can keep the mower guy from hitting them!
I've got the flats out on the back brick path going to the garden. I didn't put anything on top of them. Everything is growing real well. The Hinckley's yellow Columbine I planted in October now has two or more true leaves and are about 1 1/2 inches high. The lettuce has slowed down but the spinich is growing well. I would say they have sun about 3/4's of the day. I was having to get out there and water them but lately it has rained enough to keep them moist. My Blackberry lillies got zapped by frost but I'm assuming since they are perennial they will return? I got these seeds in trade and have never grown them before.If it looks like its going to really freeze hard--I will bring the Hinckley's yellow Columbine in (native Texas plant--rather "pricey") and also my stocks. I think stocks have one of the best smells of any plant and only grow down here in really early spring.
Guilty as charged, Suzi! I'm the one who posted and started the thread on aspirin water. Yes, I plan to spray/water half my seedling & plants with this solution and will continue throughout the Summer & Fall. It's best to re-read the articles that were posted on the other thread, as it gives you the correct proportions of asprin to water ratio. I'm afraid I may misquote it if done from memory. Lets talk about aspirin water and its effects on our seedlings & plants on the aspirin water thread. I don't want to confuse anyone thinking that aspirin water is necessary for wintersowing...it's NOT. Here is the thread on aspirin water http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/560762/ .
dmj1218: You're WSing some wonderful seeds! "Just think of all us gardeners doing the same thing, just HAS to bring us good luck!"...I couldn't agree more!! BTW, Happy Belated Birthday to YOU!!
Holly: Here is what http://www.wintersown.org says about WSing in warmer climates.
"You don't need snow and ice or freezing temperatures to Winter Sow, you just need the season called Winter, and where you are Winter isn't a season that is long or bitterly cold, it's milder and gentler...and you don't have to shovel out from a snowstorm. Lucky you!"
As well as, " Which seeds can I sow?"
"You can sow almost any annual, and most certainly all biennials and perennials that are suited to growing in your warmer zone. Look for "sub-tropicals" when you search for seeds, you can even try a few tropical seeds too...but if you don't have confidence in sowing tropical seeds then hold back some seeds to start inside, compare the germination and learn from your efforts."
"As your Winter is so very short I would suggest placing the seed flats outdoors where they will get direct light only in the morning or afternoon, brilliant overhead sunlight at midday might can be too intense causing the air inside the flats to super-heat which will "cook" the seeds...bummer." I hope this answers your questions.
Hi Anita: I'm delighted that there is growing interest in aspirin water, but lets talk about it on the other thread. Thanks :~)
Welcome to WS, Shortleaf! It appears that you've gotten a head start! Fantastic!! You have a very impressive list of seeds that you are sowing!
djm: Your Blackberry Lilies are perennials. They should return next year. Why are you bringing in your Columbine? They are hardy perennials too. Shouldn't you plant these in the ground if they already have their 2nd set of leaves? If you WS'ed them, they already are hardy & use to the temperatures outdoors.
berrygirl: Do you have any problems with birds, squirrels and other critters helping themselves to the seeds in your containers without a cover? What percentage of seed germination did you have? Did you have any problems with the soil in your containers drying out? I'm not critizing, I'm simply asking questions.
dmj: Glad I figured out what the "1218" meant! Hope you had a wonderful birthday!
All your seeds that you have sown are great! Remember that there are "variables such as viability of the seed - type of container - moisture - temperature - growing medium - etc., all contribute to the success or failure of winter sowing. You are encouraged to experiment, push the limit and take the "Leap of Faith".
Here is a link to a blank spreadsheet that will help you maintain a comprehensive list of the seeds that you have wintersown. Just change the year to reflect 2005-2006. You can add and/or delete columns and then re-save the spreadsheet. Do whatever works for you. http://mywebpages.comcast.net/mamrudd/blank.htm
Ok, outside they go...sans greenhouse covers for some, under patio w/ baggie covers for others. By the way, this has nothing really to do with winter sowing but...my mango seed has sprouted!!!!!!!!!!!!
I had 2 mango seed sprout and start to grow, but they both developed a black fungus in the propogator, fatal. I have kept 2 more, this time left the outer shell on, they have dried, which isn't supposed to happen I think, but I may try them, this time put the end in water for them to sprout - maybe when it gets warmer!
I have heard of the winter solstice sowing, some live by the seasons, but it would have to be a hardy plant. They say you should plant garlic on the shortest day, harvest on the longest, well the harvest bit might come unstuck in colder climes.
I forgot to "watch" this thread and promptly forgot it- LOL!
No, I don't have problems with animals eating the seeds or the containers drying out. We never go too long in between winter rains here in Ga anyway. I couldn't give an exact estimation on germ rates but I can tell you that I always have full sprouted containers come Spring. In fact I have better success at wintersowing than at Spring.
Okay, I didn't get even close to all the seeds sown that I wanted to, but did do daylilies and iris. Then spent time cleaning out the greenhouse frame (no cover due to a storm last spring) I think every leaf and twig in the neighborhood landed in there over the summer and fall!
keyi: It's okay that you didn't sow all the seeds that you wanted to...you've got all Winter and Spring to sow your seeds! Glad that you did sow your Daylilies and Irises!! Sorry to hear about your greenhouse, but thankfully you don't need it for wintersown seeds!
budgielover: Please go to http://www.wintersown.org and READ, Read, read! Especially the page about wintersowing in warmer climates.
That was the page I was referring to. I thought maybe somebody was doing something different from what I do. With the exception of very fine seeds, I start my seeds in flats year round so I don't waste garden space on non germinating seeds.
I didn't do a Soltice planting, as I haven't had time. I have a nice long weekend next weekend and plan on doing a few then. My thought was to plant the hardier stuff in January and the less hardy stuff in March [especially the ones with a short gemination time]
Quoting: My thought was to plant the hardier stuff in January and the less hardy stuff in March [especially the ones with a short gemination time]
You're absolutely correct, Anita. I always start the seeds that are the hardiest and take the longest to germination in December or January. Then in February, I ws seeds that are perennials, but have a shorter germination period. In March, half hardy annuals, veggies such as tomatoes & peppers (sowing these will be a new experience for me) and finally in April, time to sow tender annuals. Please realize that I am in zone 7 and adjust your wsing according to where you live. Some of you might be able to push the season even further!
I totally forgot about sowing my Daylily seeds...so thanks for the reminder!
Help! being a little over zealous this year I winter sowed almost
28 containers,now 6 already sprouted (looking very happy)
what do I need to do to save these little guys.its been
in the high 70s the last few days.I put them (containers)
in a shadey spot knowing that we have warm weather
every week or so.what can I do about the rest of the containers?
Had the same problem with seeds sprouting. So far, I have hollyhock, Prairie Sun Rudbeckia, marigold and convolvulus popping up. Just bought 6 shop lamps and a metal shelving unit to overwinter seedlings in the basement. May have to expand my operation, however. I didn't expect germination so soon. It's been so warm, the little seeds are getting confused.
DigsGardening,I put all I had popping out in the hoophouse
with any luck they will survive,I`m moving the rest to the coolest place I can find.maybe old man winter will rember us here in
Ga,and send us some cooler temps...
Great minds think alike. I have a hoophouse, too and as soon as I can transplant the new seedlings to cell packs, I'll put them in there to grow. Just came back from a Master Gardener meeting and the speaker gave a possible cause for our weird weather. He said that we are in a "neutral phase", neither "la Nina or el Nino", climatologically speaking. We should expect weather extremes this winter, maybe even some frozen precipitation. I noticed that my hydrangeas are leafing out also. Oh well, we'll just have to deal with it.
We've indeed had very strange weather in 2005. 2006 seems to be starting out that way too!
Since you both have a hoophouse, you're both very fortunate! Sometimes seeds germinate early due to weather fluctuations. Some may die off naturally...others will germinate and grow into plants. It's Mother Nature's way of saying, "only the strong survive"!
Thanks to you both for your encouragement. This is my first year at wintersowing and I have enjoyed getting my hands dirty. I've wondered what I was going to do in the spring when all of the seeds germinated at the same time. At least this way, I'll have time to transplant some before the rush.
Digs, with that prediction I think I'll wait and see. I have very little space to put plants, especially for a time-line from now until planting time. This sounds like such a good idea and wish I had known about it in prior years. Here's a pic of sedge which looks happy in it's first winter. Hope he makes it. Joan
Digs: Wintersowing is the perfect solution because it keeps gardeners very busy sowing seeds even in the dead of Winter! Wintersowers are NEVER bored!!! Plus, it's very affordable, it allows us to have plants that otherwise might be very difficult to germinate & grow, plus it saves us money in the long run!
Please DON'T feel rushed! You've got all Winter to sow! When the time comes for planting out your seedlings, cut open your containers, extract out a "hunk" of seedlings and plant them in your garden. You don't need to seperate them one-by-one, unless you want to.
Joan: You can wintersow whenever the time is right for YOU! However, don't forget that some perennials such as Asters, Columbine, Dianthus, Hollyhocks, & Poppies need a longer germination period than others . Or you could just sow annuals, if you prefer.
Even if you don't have a lot of planting areas in your garden, you might want to consider growing annuals/perennials for hanging baskets, planters, family, friends and neighbors...the list goes on and on!
Did you grow the Sedge from seed? It looks very healthy & I'm sure it will come through the winter just fine!
Shirley1md ~ Sedge was bought from a nursery early last Fall so it had a good long time to get established. I have some Cosmo and Malva seeds which were sown later on and I'm hoping they've not all turned to mush as they were sent to me by friends. Morning Glory seeds scattered here and there, but more as an experiment.
Thanks for starting this thread. It has been most interesting and informative. Will keep it on the watch list to see what develops.
Thanks so much for all the info for this newbie. I've never planted from seed before and going to try it this year. I was told to get sterilized soil for potting. Is there a difference in bagged soil you get from say Walmart or Lowe's? What soil should I get to plant my seeds in? Any help is appreciated.
This'll be my fourth year winter sowing. I use mostly 2 liter bottles, gallon milk jugs, and 2 1/2 gallon water jugs (my personal holy grail of winter sowing containers) when I can find them. I usually start sometime in February. Preferably right in the middle of a snow storm...seems right, somehow. Right now, I'm not terribly organized...I've got bags of soda bottles, etc. stuffed wherever I can find storage. I'll hopefully get started soon.
If anyone new to this concept is interested...I cut the bottles in half, punch holes in the bottoms. When I've got the dirt wet and seeded, I work the top halves back on to the bottoms, without the cap. With milk jugs, I cut it in half, but leaving a hinge. Then I punch two holes (one on the top half, one on the bottom) and use twist ties to secure them together. That's one way to use up all of those twist ties I can't seem to throw away.
Then I stuff them outside along my garden pathways and let them fend for themselves. Come Spring, voila! My own personal nursery.
Welcome to Wintersowing, CRS!!! Choose containers that will be large & deep enough, as merryma explained in her message, so that the soil will not dry out. I made that mistake my 1st year. Also, please don't purchase cheap potting soil because it will turn to cement by the time you are ready to plant your seedlings. Go with a brand name, such as Miracle Grow, that you know is a quality potting soil.
maryma: I love the way you keep your bottle halves together! What a creative idea!! I never thought of that!! I've been using duct tape on all my containers. You learn something new everyday day!!
I had trouble keeping the seedling mix moist when I used it, so just stick to potting mix now, like Miracle-Gro or Pro-Mix (or whatever is avail in your area). Regular potting soil can get heavy and compacted; you might want to mix in a bit of perlite to aid in drainage.
Twist ties? I must have 2,000 of them. And don't even get me started on my elastic collection... ;)
On the soda bottles and milk jugs, I tried duct tape the first time. Worked great all winter until it came time to try to take it off...what a project! It almost had me in tears. The twist ties work nicely on the jugs...just the right amount of ventilation. On the bottles, sometimes it's a little work to get the tops on. Half the time I end up with bend in the middle, but the plants don't seem to mind. Also, if I have them cut completely in half, they store a lot better. Stacks of bottoms and stacks of tops. I can get about 2 garbage bags of bottles stacked in a small corner until I need them.
Yes, soil depth is extremely important, from my experience. I fill my containers to the hightest point I can until it's level with the edge. So that's about 6 inches on the bottles, which settles to about 4 inches in Spring. This works best for me, as I'm not as diligent about watering and planting out as I'd like to be. ;) This lets the sprouts sit in their containers without doing too much damage to the roots. And if you're trying this for the first time, wait until you see the root systems on these babies! Amazing!
I tried the cutting method on my soda bottles when I first started, but it was an awful lot of work. I figured there had to be an easier way. Then I tried just "smushing" the top back on...if you get the right angle, it goes on as if it was never cut and (bonus) no tape! :) I'm pretty sure either the cutting or smushing way won't work on milk jugs, you're right, too flimsy.
However, the best thing about winter sowing is there no right way or wrong way to do it. Just experiment and sometimes you come up with a better way to do things. Every year, I tweak my "method" to save some work. Sometimes it work, sometimes it doesn't...I tried labelling on the bottles themselves...worked great until I took the tops off. I had a heck of a time trying to match up the right tops with the right sprouts. Sheesh! From now on, I use old mini blinds cut up for seed markers. If you write on it with a "heavy" lead pencil, it stays through everything. And they can be used to mark your sprouts when they're planted out. I found some markers out there this spring from the year before...still legible.
I've been leaving a hinge on my soda bottles and milk jugs. That way the two halves fit perfectly together and you won't have to try and match them up. For the labeling, I write a number on the bottom of the container with a weatherproof Deco Art pen, as well as, on the side of the jug. I then match the number up with a list that I maintain of my wintersown seeds. When it's time to go outside to see what's germinated, I'll just stick my list in a clear plastic sleeve (report cover) to keep it clean & dry.
I like that idea of leaving a hinge on them! Thanks. I used mini blinds and a grease pencil, I wrote the number on both sides top and bottom of the lable and then I wrote the number on the top on each corner (3) and I just wrote it once on the inside, I'm not going to lose those #'s! And I'm gonna watch'em like a hawk lol If I ever get them all done lol
Shirley - I found the aluminum foil tape in the "heating and cooling" section of the local Home Depot. I believe I paid about $6 for a 50 yd. roll of it - been using the same roll for 3 years now, and it's only about 1/2 gone. The tape is about 2" wide; I stick it right on the side of the pot/flat, or on the pieces of blinds that I sometimes use for labels. Stays stuck and legible until I want it off, then it peels off easily.
Thanks Anita! I'm going to order from them tonight!
PVick, thanks for making me look in Home Depot's "Heating & Cooling" Department...don't usually go to that section. I'm definitely going to check it out! I like that it stays stuck , legible, and peels off easily. Great attributes!
BTW, lots of my Lupines have already germinated!!! Hurry up Spring!!!
Nope, aluminum foil tape as in aluminum foil tape. Well, I suppose it is a duct tape type - says it's used "For Foil Jacketing Insulation". It has a paper backing which you peel away. Really works well ...
I can't believe winter has actually returned to Long Island!! We actually had snow with 28 degrees!! It's been in the high 50's the last two weeks. I was beginning to worry about the containers that I had sown already!
How much snow did some of the other New Yorkers get?? I am also assuming that the others on the NE Coast got this storm system as well.
Thanks for the link, PVick. Now, I know what it looks like, but still would like to see the "tape backing".
Anita, we didn't get snow in the Mid-Atlantic. Instead, we got VERY blustery winds for the past two days. The wind was so strong that it knocked over my wooden garden bench! We had a little bit of precip late Friday night into early Saturday morning, but it was in the form of rain. At least I didn't have to water my WS containers!
Sorry for posting multiples, but it did not seem like it was going thru, and I didn't see them on the board! My bad ...
Nancy - I'm scaling my sowing waaaay back this year. I've started a few perennials and tree seeds in the last couple of weeks; will go through my seeds for the zillionth time to see what else I want to sow. I'll continue sowing right up to early April.
Anita - I woke up this morning to a sprinkling on the terrace. Maybe an inch fell here in Brooklyn overnight, but it was COLD! It's 17° now, with a wind chill of 0°. Brrrrrrrrr!
PV: Thanks SO MUCH for your photos of the front & back of your foil backed tape! What do you use to write with on the tape? Can a ball point pen or pencil be used? Does the etching stay legible all winter long? Does the writing ever fade? I assume that this tape can be used in all types of inclement weather, as well as, in the hot sun.
Bbrrrr! Robin!! You're making me shiver just reading your post!!!
You can write on it with anything - I use an old mechanical pencil that has no lead anymore. As long as it has some kind of pointy tip, whatever you use will just etch the writing into the tape.
Yes, it can stay out in all kinds of weather and the writing does not fade - I've got some empty (read "dirty") pots with these labels that have been sitting outside since 2003 and I can still read what is written, clearly. Granted, my garden may not be exposed as much as ground gardens, but it gets its share; plus ground gardeners say it works well for them too. Some folks fashion plant markers with the tape and wire.
The snow has melted here (sunny and COLD!), but the water has now turned to ice, and my terrace is an ice skating rink. Hope anyone who has to go out in these conditions is very careful ...
Hi All, I have been following this thread with great interest. I read the wintersowing site someone recommended but I am still worried about how this would work in my zone. I have containers and seeds all ready to go and it would be so nice to be able to do it this way because I just don't have the room or light source to have a bazillion little seedling pots hanging around the house. Most of the seeds I want to start are are veggies. I would like to do tomatoes, broc, cauliflower, spinach and some other things but it is slipping my mind right now.