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Winter Sowing: How Much Water?

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Forum: Winter SowingReplies: 32, Views: 13
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heathrjoy
Weedville, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 10, 2006
8:43 PM

Post #2035711

I just sowed 13 containers (YIPPEE!!). This is my first year wsing. I'm wondering how much all of you water your containters. I'm talking first watering when setting outside. My soil was premoistened from pouring boiling water over it a few weeks ago to sterilize it. After filling containers and placing seeds I sprayed w/ a bottle, covered seeds and sprayed again. I sprayed very heavily. Containers are outside, but not in their final destination. I'm wondering if I should water them more & how much, or if I should just let them go. All of my containers, including milk jugs, have plenty of holes in their tops.

If I should water, is it ok to water from the top? Any ideas about throwing snow on top of them and watering them that way? (read something here about the ions in the snow)

TIA for any help!
Heather
merryma
Auburn, MA
(Zone 5b)

February 11, 2006
2:21 AM

Post #2036558

Heather,
If your soil is moistened already (with your seeds sowed), there shouldn't be any need to wet it again. When I sow, I wet the soil until I see water come out the drainage holes. Then I sow the seeds. After that, it's out into the cold and snow, with no more watering. Since the soil freezes, it's not going to lose any moisture...until Spring anyway. One tip to see if there's enough water is to look for condensation on a sunny day. If you have that, then it's good. But, by all means, if you have snow, pile it on! It can only be good for your seeds. When the snow melts, it will water your containers again.

If you feel you need to water them, bottom watering is best...doesn't disturb the seeds as much. A mister works well, but depending on how many containers you have, that can take some time. I had about 150 bottles last year and, believe me, there was no way I was going to mist that many, lol! This year I've got about 30 done so far, but I know there's going to be waaay more than that by the time I finish. It's addicting, isn't it?

You really shouldn't have to worry about moisture until spring...although it depends on where you're ultimately going to put your containers. If they're on a deck or sidewalk, then you might want to double check for condensation. Otherwise, you can pretty much set them and forget them...as the saying goes. ;)
Anitabryk2
Long Island, NY
(Zone 6b)

February 11, 2006
2:53 AM

Post #2036616

I complete saturate the containers and let them drain - good test for those drainage holes - then I plant the seeds. Out they go and like Merryma says - if there's condensation, there's moisture!
heathrjoy
Weedville, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 11, 2006
6:41 AM

Post #2036966

I think I'll just pile lots of snow on the ones that are done and I'll water the rest to be done like y'all said. Thanks for all the info and tips! I wasn't sure how wet "wet" had to be. None of them were draining out the holes, so I'm sure they could use more water.

Thanks again!
Heather
articfire
St. Peter's, PE
(Zone 6a)

February 11, 2006
10:53 AM

Post #2037024

Heather,
You really want to make sure that you have adequate drainage holes. If you over water seeds and the soil doesn't drain properly you could end up rotting your seeds. I put my soil in a big bucket and moisten with water. Then I fill my jugs and let them drain. The soil should be the color of brownie mix just before you put it in the oven. Once I plant my seeds I set them outside and don't worry about watering til the spring. Then I keep a real close eye especially as the temps warm up. I agree with the posts above watering from the bottom is your best bet. I use a kiddie pool filled with water and set my containers in there. It takes no time.
Michelle
heathrjoy
Weedville, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 11, 2006
12:06 PM

Post #2037094

Thanks Michelle. I guess maybe I will soak them in a bucket for a few minutes...or in a cake pan. The ones I do from now on will get a good soak in the sink before heading outdoors.

The kiddie pool is a good idea, and I have one on hand (use it for bathing dogs in summer, lol). I just wonder how you keep it from freezing or where you dump all the water from it so you don't get a big wash out or a huge amount of ice? If there was some way to keep it set up w/out freezing that would be perfect, I just don't have a place to dump mine.
merryma
Auburn, MA
(Zone 5b)

February 11, 2006
1:03 PM

Post #2037194

Someone posted something about keeping the containers in cardboard boxes outside. That way, whenever it rained or snowed, they would get bottom watered, but the excess water will drain on it's own. I've started doing that this year.
articfire
St. Peter's, PE
(Zone 6a)

February 11, 2006
2:20 PM

Post #2037345

Heather,
I only start using the kiddie pool in spring. Once the containers have thawed and the temps warm up. Then I fill the pool with water and set my containers in to water. As far as outside in the winter weather I have a wooden trailer that I set all of my containers on and I have used our deck as well. I don't water during the winter unless the containers have completely thawed and I don't see any condensation. As long as you see condensation on your containers during the thawing period you are fine. But as the temps heat up outside your containers will need to be watched more closely.
Hope this helps!
Michelle
heathrjoy
Weedville, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 11, 2006
8:19 PM

Post #2038094

It helps a lot Michelle, thank you for the reply. I kept thinking the freezing water would ruin the plastic pool. I didn't want to kill the doggie-bath, they love it so much (yeah, right!!). I'll keep that in mind for springtime.

Does a cardboard box really hold water long enough to bottom water the containers? I didn't think it would. Never tried it tho. Whoever is using cardboard outside please remember that when cardboard is exposed to the eliments it deteriorates quickly...I learned this lesson the hard way!! :( The upper part of the box seemed fine, but the bottom part of the box had disintigrated...picked it up and the contents made it about 2' off the ground...just high enough to do damage to them when they hit the ground.

Has anyone tried the same thing with big plastic containers (like rubbermaid or laundry baskets) with maybe only one or two holes drilled in them? Just wondering about alternatives to cardboard.
merryma
Auburn, MA
(Zone 5b)

February 12, 2006
2:45 PM

Post #2039847

This is the first time I've tried the cardboard, so I'm not sure if it will work. I figure it'll hold water just long enough to bottom water, then drain out. I'm pretty sure it will disintegrate, but I think it will stay together long enough. I have some extra boxes (broken down) that I was using under mulch on my pathways...I never got around to finishing. So far, they're still in one piece and they've been laying on the pathway since Fall. If my container boxes even hold together through Spring, I think it'll work...then I'll use them to finish my mulching or build a lasagna bed...which is why I brought them home in the first place. But I will remember to pick up the containers individually rather than pick up the whole box. Well, I'll try anyway...:)

If you use plastic containers, I would think you'd need an awful lot of them. I remember someone posting about doing that, though. I think she had one drain hole and something rigged to plug the hole when she wanted to. But I can't remember how it was done. Something to think about...
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 12, 2006
7:02 PM

Post #2040520

Oh, yeah, the boxes sure won't be structurally sound by spring! But they work to corral the containers, and they worked fine for bottomwatering for me last year. I also discovered that ants love to nest under and between the layers of cardboard, so don't wait too long to get those boxes up, LOL.

The water doesn't have to stay in the box very long to water the containers... Even if a little water stays in for 10 minutes, that seems to do the trick. I also use nursery flats that have developed little leaks... I fill them with a good spray from the hose, then the containers get watered while the flat slowly drains. A laundry basket with a couple of little holes sounds like a great way to corral WS milk jugs!
heathrjoy
Weedville, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 12, 2006
9:38 PM

Post #2040805

If the cardboard works then I guess we don't need alternatives! I just really didn't think it would hold water long enough to bottom water them. Guess I learned something! :) I also think that cardboard would somehow look better than laundry baskets all over the yard, lol.
Shirley1md
Ellicott City, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 12, 2006
9:59 PM

Post #2040862

Do you think I have enough snow to water my jugs???? DRIP, Drip, drip...

Thumbnail by Shirley1md
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heathrjoy
Weedville, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 12, 2006
10:14 PM

Post #2040884

ROTFLMBO!!! Yeah, you may just have enough there to water them for a while! Everyone here was so hoping we'd miss that storm, I didn't have the heart to tell them I wanted it to hit us! It missed us...we got about 1" total. Maybe next time. I can't believe I'm wishing for snow.
BriarRose74
Moon Twp, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 12, 2006
11:08 PM

Post #2041016

Is now the time to say I hate snow?! Well, if gotta get it, let's let it work for us! Well, maybe in the next week or two I will get mine done and there should be more snow after that.

We got about inch or two here too Heather. Congrats on getting your 13 containers out!

Wow, you have enough snow for the rest of the winter Shirley!! ~ Suzi :)
heathrjoy
Weedville, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 13, 2006
12:09 AM

Post #2041130

LOL Suzi. I think this is the first time I've wanted snow and cold since I was about 10 years old and loved sled riding...or was hoping for a day off from school.
soulgardenlove
Marietta, GA
(Zone 7b)

February 13, 2006
12:45 AM

Post #2041189

heathrjoy
Weedville, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 13, 2006
4:33 AM

Post #2041660

Did the image of that much snow leave you speechless?? lol
soulgardenlove
Marietta, GA
(Zone 7b)

February 13, 2006
10:33 AM

Post #2041797

actually thats a picture of the snow on my brain...

Send snow here!! :)

Susan
heathrjoy
Weedville, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 13, 2006
11:56 AM

Post #2041884

LOL
BriarRose74
Moon Twp, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 17, 2006
6:46 PM

Post #2051580

Here's some more snow for you, LOL!! ~ Suzi :)
BriarRose74
Moon Twp, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 17, 2006
6:50 PM

Post #2051587

I never really cared much for snow either. Had to wear dresses to school till 12th grade. The cold always bothered me! Does my older DD also. Always complains that her knees hurt from the cold. She camps out on couch with blanket on her all winter long.

The suggestion of "move", ie down south, always gets the "NO WAY!" response though. Don't think I could handle the HOT Texas summers any longer though, and I would be camped out inside the couch all summer long, covered up cuz the AC would be on and the cold would bother both our knees... ~ Suzi :)
soulgardenlove
Marietta, GA
(Zone 7b)

February 17, 2006
7:08 PM

Post #2051631

:) !!

Susan
heathrjoy
Weedville, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 17, 2006
8:14 PM

Post #2051774

Suzi, you are one complicated woman!! LOL!!

But, I do know what you mean. Sometimes DH cranks up the AC here and I go outside just to get away from it. Just thinking about it gives me chills. brrrrr!
BriarRose74
Moon Twp, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 17, 2006
9:34 PM

Post #2051963

Have a portable AC here. It cost an add'l $78 in electricity the one month it was on, off it went. DD liked it on, cuz "too hot" here, according to her. But she still whined about her knees and I thought if she got out in the fresh air, it would be much better.

Heck, she was born in TX, but could not imagine her in 100 degree days on a continuous basis. I'd be broke from the AC and she would be on the couch, saying her knees were hurting!!

Where is she now? On the couch, watching tv and playing on the internet, knees covered up! Sorry, didn't mean to be so complicated... ~ Suzi :)
Shirley1md
Ellicott City, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 18, 2006
1:37 AM

Post #2052509

Would you believe that all that snow we received last week has already melted?! It reached into the low 60's yesterday!! My jugs were ONLY watered for one week with 17 inches of snow!
heathrjoy
Weedville, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 18, 2006
3:41 AM

Post #2052712

Hey, complicated is the ONLY way to be! It keeps 'em guessin'!!! lol

THat's a lot for one month. I'd have shut it off too!

All of our snow seems to be here for 3 days at most then all gone. I'm wondering if I may have to water some things before spring actually gets here.
BriarRose74
Moon Twp, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 18, 2006
11:39 AM

Post #2053025

Oh, I don't think the snow and rain are gone yet... We aren't about to get off that easy! Might have to water once or twice, maybe... but overall, WS-ing will be a lot easier and cheaper than buying started ones from nursery. ~ Suzi :)
heathrjoy
Weedville, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 18, 2006
11:53 AM

Post #2053049

So, so, so much cheaper!! I got up this morning and it's snowing. Just a bit so far, but enough. It is cold tho. Real cold. I still have some containers on my porch that have to go out into the yard so they'll get snowed on.

I'm still so excited about wsing! I can't wait to be able to share all the plants and flowers with everyone and tell them they were started outside in Jan!! Wonder how many will believe me before I explain wsing??? LOL
Anitabryk2
Long Island, NY
(Zone 6b)

February 18, 2006
12:52 PM

Post #2053136

the 'cheaper' thought is what got me into w/s'ing. I don't even want to say what I spend every spring!
BriarRose74
Moon Twp, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 18, 2006
1:47 PM

Post #2053257

I don't spend it, mostly! Only things I buy are fruit trees and berries, tomatoes and just a few of other things... That's why this yr will be different... LOL Lots of flowers, veggies, etc... ~ Suzi :)
Shirley1md
Ellicott City, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 18, 2006
5:53 PM

Post #2053778

No need to buy 'maters anymore...wintersow them BriarRose!

I'm with you Anita, I spend a small fortune on plants! My DH lectures me all the time about this! I now have ~87 containers on our deck and it doesn't bother my DH, because we are saving so much money, except for potting soil!
heathrjoy
Weedville, PA
(Zone 6a)

February 19, 2006
4:28 AM

Post #2055063

But still, buying the potting soil should still be so much cheaper. Whenever I'd plant I'd still be buying potting soil. When DH built my small gh and I saw the cost of materials I was afraid I was in trouble. Then when he said it was worth it since I spend twice that much on spring time flowers each year I was so relieved!!! Not saying how much either cost. lol

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Other Winter Sowing Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Winter Sowing Seed Swap .....part 2 alicewho 213 Mar 23, 2007 1:01 PM
Lessons learned for next year #2 zenpotter 256 Mar 23, 2007 7:56 AM
Milk jugs TurtleChi 99 Mar 19, 2007 12:20 PM
WS Poppies & transplant problems marie_ 100 May 11, 2011 4:44 PM
Database germination info bluespiral 6 Mar 5, 2008 12:23 PM


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