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WS Poppies & transplant problems

West Central, WI(Zone 4a)

Since last year, I learned the hard way that poppies don't like to be moved. So unless you're really good at getting your hunks of seedlings out of the WS containers and then into the ground undisturbed, you've got a problem.

Some people had brought up the idea of using the expanding peat 'thingies' (need to stay technical), but were discouraged due to the fact that they were likely to dry out too quickly. Then others reported that their newspaper pot experiments didn't seem to work as well as hoped.

I have two ideas, and need to know their chances for success. The first is still using the expandable peat pellet things. Would it work to fully soak them, and then scrunch them tightly together in a milk carton? My hope would be that this would help with water retention, yet still allow them to be separated without disturbing the roots. My second idea is similar, but would use the peat pots that you fill with soil. These could also be soaked until they are softened, and then scrunched together in the WS container. Would they melt together, or would they come out easily at transplant time? Or......could either of these methods be used if they were nestled down into soil, peat moss, etc?

One last thing.......as I search for appropriate WS containers, I was wondering if 'Press and Seal' plastic wrap would hold tight enough over the top of a container for WS? Would snow collapse it? Would the wind rip it off?

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Marie: this transplanting poppies thing keeps popping up and I'm feeling like a broken record. I had tons of beautiful poppies last year, all transplanted by hos, and I don't think I lost a single one. They were beautiful.

What about the ones you lost last year? Were they WS? How were they sown, in peat pots or peat discs? How big were they when transplanted? Do you know the date?

Mine had been sown in regular old potting mix and planted out hos, early , before the weather got too warm. It was WAY before the last frost date. My record keeping was very poor but I do have a record that I started planting out poppies on March 30. (Our late frost date is somewhere around May 15). They were transplanted with only 1 or 2 sets of true leaves, probably an inch or 2 tall. The taproots are not a problem at that stage because the roots are still small too.

Early transplant helps with weather, too,I think, because poppies don't mind they cold but have trouble with the heat. Early transplant lets them get established before the heat arrives.

Karen

Thumbnail by kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

mixed poppy

Thumbnail by kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

First two breadseed poppies

Thumbnail by kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

A third bed with a patch of poppies. I had 'em here, there, and everywhere.

OK, I'll shut up about the stupid poppies. But it really will work, I promise you!

Karen

Thumbnail by kqcrna
West Central, WI(Zone 4a)

I winter sowed my poppies in soil, in milk jugs. I had intended to plant hos but 'things' fell apart. I had pathetic record keeping last year. (I managed to keep track of when they were ws....and it ended there.) From what you've said, I let them get much too big before transplant. Now I know.

Thanks for the info. I hope that my poppies this year grow up to be half as nice as yours.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

They will Marie! I promise! They really don't mind the cold, they laugh at freezing weather and grow bigger. They hated the Ohio Valley heat, though. After they bloomed I was trying to let the seed pods mature, but they got so wilted and brown and ugly I couldn't stand it. They were falling over and smashing smaller things, as well as blocking the sun, so I asked my husband to dig them out and just trashed them. This was in June. I transplanted some heat-loving annuals into their places, but most of them really never took off because by then the weather was just hot for transplanting anything.

So I confess, after preaching the gospel on the glory of poppies, that I'm not even planning to sow any this year! I do love them, but I've sort of conquered that challenge and I have so many other things that I want to try, that I don't want to dedicate all that bed space to poppies. Maybe again next year.

Jump on the WS poppy wagon and you'll be glad. Good luck.

Karen

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

marie_ I am glad you asked that question I have ben wondering if I was goind to winter sow some poppies this year or scatter then on the snow.

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

Did anybody else notice the poppies' seedlings have the base of the plant above the soil? The 'crown' of the seedling was attached to the soil by a tiny root. I transplanted a bunch okay, but they do seem kind of fragile. I planted them slightly deeper than they were in the tray.
This was last year, btw.

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

Marie, I was reading another thread and ran into this.
http://www.wintersown.org/wseo1/Life_of_a_Poppy_Bed.html

Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

What I did last year is what I'm planning to do this year with anything that seems to be fragile or that doesn't like transplanting. I got the soil just moist enough to hold it all together (pretty much how I kept it anyway), then I cut away my milk jug from the soil and slid the whole thing into the ground after I'd prepared the hole. Sometimes I would break the whole one into three or four parts, but still kept the soil intact and only lost a few seedlings doing that.

West Central, WI(Zone 4a)

Pauline...thanks for the link. I think that I've seen it before, but for the life of me I could not remember where, when, or exactly what was done.

But back to the peat pot idea.....does anyone think it would work? Or....would it just be a waste of time?

Marshfield, MO(Zone 6a)

I was thinking the same exact thing today, about sowing some poppy seedings in the 3 inch peat pots, then putting the pots in some kind of container to seal up to hold the moisture, probably a large tray, like a kitty litter tray with clear wrap over the top, or something like that.

Marysville, WA(Zone 7a)

Marie, nothing that you learn from is a waste of time. Try it, also try scattering seeds wherever you want them to grow. Some may work, others may not. Try as many varieties as you can find so you will know what fits in your unique microclimate. I can grow (perhaps not too well) Argemone platyceras, a Mexican species, here in the NW, but never have any luck with most Meconopsis which seem to do so well in Alaska. Try different stuff till you find what works for you. Trial and error is what its all about. Good luck.

edited to add; there's a cool Poppies forum that might help too.

This message was edited Jan 23, 2007 2:45 PM

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

I tried a few seeds last year in peat pots. They were Bells of Ireland. I stuffed a bunch of them into a gallon milk jug. That was one of the few of my 80 containers that didn't germinate, or, maybe the only container. I did some Bells of Ireland into regular jugs which did great. I'm done with them (peat pots). They dry out to much. I'm sticking to just sprinkling seeds into jugs of potting mix, letting them grow into chia pets, and planting out by hos.

Someone gave me a paper potter for Christmas. A few days ago I made a few and put them into a tray. I sowed them with some rudbeckia, and, if they don't make it I won't care that much. I don't have much hope for them really. I'm only trying it because it was a gift. It was also a pain, time consuming, to make the pots, fill each with soil, sow each one. I could have sown a whole lot of regular old milk jugs in that time! I don't have high hopes for those.

Karen

West Central, WI(Zone 4a)

I didn't know that there was a Poppies Forum. I'll need to go and lurk over there a bit.

Thanks Karen for the peat pot info. I certainly don't need to re-invent the wheel.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Yes, you might find some experts there. But remember, if they're doing their seed growing inside under lights, you might be comparing apples to oranges. You can't compare those grown inside and nursed along to what we do in wintersowing. THEY are most probably the culprits spreading the rumor that poppies can't be transplanted! You certainly won't find anyone with Trudi's WS experience, for sure.

Please let us know what advice you get. Let me bet: the verdict will be to sow in situ, because poppies can't be transplanted.

Marie, are you following the other threads? There's one now where someone has "paralysis by analysis" and I think she might be contagious, as you seem to be catching her disease! My medical background leads me to constantly diagnosing people.

Karen

West Central, WI(Zone 4a)

I did see 'paralysis by analysis'! LOL I may at times be symptomatic, but mostly I'm always trying to think up a better way to do something. Hmmm, is that the same thing? Actually, I hate wasting time on something if it's not going to have the desired results, not do I want. I was very annoyed last year when some seeds did not germinate. However, others germinated beyond my wildest dreams.......I am doomed to be a ws addict from now on.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

I think you're right on the money with the addiction thing. We know a few won't germinate, or a few might bite the dust to frost or heat or drought or whatever. But seeing the vast majority thrive, and for so little expense and time, we get hooked forever. And we get to play in the dirt in winter.

Karen

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

I do believe I may be addicted as well. I am worried that at some point I won't have anywhere to plant what I grow.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

I'm nearly there, and this is only my 2nd year. I did add a new bed last year. I'm hoping to start expanding some planting areas slowly, piecemeal, when materials start becoming available in spring. Lasagna style, of course.

Karen

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Karen: Your Poppy pictures are beautiful. I only wished my Poppies looked that pretty.

The problem I had with my Poppies last year is that they pooped out on me because I planted them in full sun and they couldn't take the heat or high humidity we have during the Summer. So, this year I'll try planting some in a shadier spot, one which receives morning sun & afternoon shade. Hopefully, they'll be happier there.

Marysville, WA(Zone 7a)

I love poppies too.

Thumbnail by balvenie
Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Gorgeous! What variety are you showing us?

North West, OH(Zone 5b)

I've never grown poppies. Do they keep blooming or are they a one shot deal?

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

I have a confession to make I love poppies and they don't like me. I have the hardest time with them. The local nursery told me that they are hard to grow in our soil, but I keep trying. I have seen them around here so they must grow for others. I did get a few to grow last year so it is try, try, and try again.

Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

There are the oriental poppies growing in the ditch bank near us, where a house used to stand. Over the years, I have tried to transplant some from that ditch, and they have always died. I know they grow here, but I just haven't been successful in transplanting those. Maybe I'll try some earlier in the season.

Marysville, WA(Zone 7a)

Shirley, they are P. somniferum in a clump in the front yard that keeps reseeding each year (with some help now and then). Each time there are some different forms and colors.

Jane, they are annuals, one-shot, but keep blooming from new seedlings over a period of weeks.

This is the clump. (edited to apologize for deviating from the thread subject. It should have been on the Poppy forum)

This message was edited Jan 24, 2007 7:28 AM

Thumbnail by balvenie
West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

Hey, we gotta talk about something besides plastic jugs once in a while. That nice new poppy forum is lonely, I know.

Some poppies are known to rebloom: California poppies, Alpine poppies, and some Oriental cultivars. Most Papaver orientale and P. nudicaule are perennials or at least short-lived perennials and might re-bloom if deadheaded.

Lansing, KS(Zone 5b)

Balvenie~ lovely poppies.! Yeah I agree with Claypa, I ready for some gardening action and those milk jugs as exhilirating as they may be.. needs some visual aids and discussion.;0)

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

You are all using an expression that is unfamiliar to me: transplanting or planting by "hos." What does that mean?

West Pottsgrove, PA(Zone 6b)

Hunk o' seedlings

http://www.wintersown.org/wseo1/Hunk-o-Seedlings.html

Northwest, OH(Zone 5b)

I didn't know what that was either. And that's just how I did it last year. I had no idea it had a 'name.' LOL.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Me too -- I know the method, but never heard it called that! Thomas DiBaggio, a fabulous herb guy, espouses that method.

Lewisburg, KY(Zone 6a)

I hope to have a few poppies this year. I have always steered away from them. They are beautiful! I am trying to learn all I can about WS.
Teresa in KY

(Zone 7a)

Am glad I found this thread - today's a great day to sow poppy seed, and I think y'all have just prevented me from committing quite a few bloopers with my seeds.

My main reason for lurking among this forum today has been to find an answer to what feels like a very stupid question - I'm sure it's already been answered many times, but I can't find it:

In this link, it's clear what to do, except for one thing: http://www.wintersown.org/wseo1/Photographer_Phred/IMAG005A.JPG

My question is, do you put slits into the top part of a milk jug at the time you sow the seeds, as you do putting drainage holes in the bottom part, or do you set out the milk jug with no holes or slits in the top?

kbaumle, I've found out the hard way that transplanting Oriental poppies while their tops are green and apparent doesn't work very well. But, if you dig them up when they have totally died back (August for us) - in their summer-dormant state - they can be moved more dependably.

Thanking you in advance for helping me out with my milk jug question -

karen

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

bluespiral: Just don't use the screw on cap of the milk jug and that will be enough. I prefer to add a few slits around the "shoulders" when sowing only because it's easier to just enlarge them later as the weather warms, but this is not necessary and I don't think most people do it.

Karen

(Zone 7a)

Thanks Karen - I like answers that help me to understand why something works, too.

DH uses exacto-blade knives in his wood carving, just as he used them as a graphic artist before computers revolutionized that industry. They cut these recyclables we're converting for wintersowing purposes very easily.

Claypa, thanks for the heads up on livening up the poppy thread.

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

bluesprial,
I just leave the covers off and don't even add holes or slits. I just take the tops off after the seedlings are ready.

(Zone 7a)

Thanks, zenpotter. After this year, I might, too, but this is my first year to actually wintersow and I feel like a mother hen with tiny new chicks. Sometimes the rain around here can give quite a pounding, and some of these seeds I'm sowing are either very small or like dust. If I keep the tops on at the time of sowing, I'm thinking that will help prevent my tiny treasures from sloshing around the containers and down the sides.

But I'm aware that for centuries, people have been sowing primrose seed in "pans" with no top whatsoever. I hope I'm not erring on the side of caution too much. It would be interesting to see what the response would be to one of those polls that Dave conducts asking "which side of caution - in sowing seeds - do you err on?"

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