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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)
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. ;)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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...
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!
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.
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.
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 :)
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 :)
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 :)
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
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 :)
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!
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