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Winter Sowing: The one thing I don't understand about winter sowing:

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Zeppy
Shenandoah Valley, VA
(Zone 6b)

February 21, 2006
3:09 PM

Post #2060452

is when to transplant the seedlings into their (permanent) spot? Some say transplant when the seedling's a certain size, and some say transplant at a certain date (for one's zone). I'm really at a loss. A plant which is normally sown after last frost date -- should this wait, or is it just a bad candidate for w/sing? I have looked through the threads and plant lists and it seems to me that many plants I would have thunk not good for w/sing have prospered: and I wonder, when were they transplanted? My last frost date is around May 10.

Sorry is this is something that's been addressed repeatedly. I really have been reading, but maybe I missed something.
plantzoo
Crivitz, WI
(Zone 4b)

February 21, 2006
3:46 PM

Post #2060528

Hi Zeppy...you are not alone. This is my first year at winter sowing.I have 25 milk jugs sitting outside in the snow. Right now the snow has covered them so I can't even see where they are...I have no idea what to do when the snow is gone (except to dance for joy) I want to get out there and start digging.
Hope someone will give us some tips on what to do next :0)
merryma
Auburn, MA
(Zone 5b)

February 21, 2006
5:52 PM

Post #2060827

I know...that was one of my biggest questions when I first started WS. Usually, by the time the seedlings are big enought to transplant, it's warm enough outside...those little seedlings know what their doing. ;) I transplant them when they have their first true leaves. I know, that seems early and they do look so vulnerable out there all by themselves (can you say...separation anxiety?). But they really take off once they're in the ground. You just have to make sure you water them alot.

When I plant them out, I use what's known as the "hunk-of-seedlings" method. I take a square inch of sprouts, dirt and all, and tuck them in the soil. Since I tend to sow heavily, there might be about 10 to 20 seedlings in the hunk. That's fine, since the weak ones won't survive.

Hope this helps...
plantzoo
Crivitz, WI
(Zone 4b)

February 21, 2006
7:00 PM

Post #2060939

Hi merryma,
That does help a lot. I thought they had to be brought inside and put in larger pots..then transplanted when they were a big plant outside.
I just didn't want a frost to get them later on.
Have you had that happen?
Anitabryk2
Long Island, NY
(Zone 6b)

February 21, 2006
11:32 PM

Post #2061499

that's what I was planning on doing Merry
missgarney
Cullowhee, NC
(Zone 6b)

February 22, 2006
1:44 AM

Post #2061842

Since I have lots of soil in each of my containers and they are in a cold frame without the lid for now, I was imagining that they would grow in their containers until they are ready for their permanent sites. For most of the seeds I sowed, that will be when a light frost is still possible. If and when they outgrow their lids, I'll put the lid on the cold frame if we get a hard frost. I made sure each container had a lot of soil. I don't want to pot these babies on, I'll have enough of that to do with my soil blocks from indoors.
merryma
Auburn, MA
(Zone 5b)

February 22, 2006
2:06 AM

Post #2061896

One of the things that I liked when I found WS was the fact that I didn't have to do that whole potting-up thing. I'm a bit of a lazy gardener...ok, a very lazy gardener. ;) I could start a few seeds, but I could never make that transition into the garden. I'm lucky I can find time to plant them once, never mind twice.

I've never had any get frosted that was already planted, but that may be because I never manage to get them in the dirt early. I'm usually fighting the sun and heat more than the frost. I think you'll find that the seedlings that like cool weather will sprout first and grow on. Anything else will usually wait til the right time...although with this crazy winter, who knows what those confused seedlings will do.

Zeppy, I notice you're in zone 6. I don't know how warm you are yet...my containers are still frozen bricks. If you're concerned about frosts, you can always wait a bit. As long as you water them, your seedlings should be fine in their containers. Their roots may be a little tangled, but that happens to me every year. I never seem to get to them in time. I just rip off hunks and plant them. Sounds painful, but they don't seem to mind.

Don't worry about asking questions...this whole concept is only a few years old. So you're not going to be able to go by books or seed packets. The only way to learn is to ask...and also this website. http://www.wintersown.org/ I

Three cheers to Trudi, who started it all!
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 22, 2006
6:06 AM

Post #2062634

Actually, the concept has been around for ages... but Trudi did a great job of describing & publicizing a method that makes it easy & readily accessable.

I couldn't quite put those tiny seedlings out into the wilds of my back yard last spring, so I transplanted a lot of them into flats & pots that sat around on my deck getting bigger as the summer went along... this year, maybe I'll be more daring.
Zeppy
Shenandoah Valley, VA
(Zone 6b)

February 22, 2006
12:33 PM

Post #2062915

Thanks, all! I feel much more peaceful now. I'm perfectly happy to watch my containers freeze and thaw, but putting seedlings into the cold ground seems scarier.

Folks around here winter sow (the chickens, etc., don't get the seeds then) and I've also heard it called snow sowing, which also makes sense to me. Some don't cover w/ plastic because they never did, but with a lathe or other screenlike thing to keep seed-eaters out but to allow sun and precip in. Prettier than plastic. Me, I'm using whatever I get my hands on.

We have a nice wet snow now. Next year I will either leave my more 'openable.' Hate for the seeds not to get that thick natural blanket.
LoraB
Billerica, MA
(Zone 6a)

February 22, 2006
12:35 PM

Post #2062920

That's right, critter.
I was chatting with my 84 yo grandmother this past weekend and was so excited to tell her about my new adventure in gardening. She started laughing and said she was doing something similiar 50 years ago. She said the hardest part was finding appropriate containers.
Lora

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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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