Guess what time it is? It's time for the DG County Fair! Now in it's sixth year, enter your blue-ribbon photos or mouth-watering recipes for a chance to win a gift subscription! Click here here to get all the details, dates and entry rules.
I still have some to sow as well. I also am waiting for an order so then there will be more. I didn't keep a record of the order so I don't know how many more. I sure hope I don't have to buy any containers. My DH has to drink a lot of milk since the kids moved out and I can't drink milk.
>>I didn't keep a record of the order so I don't know how many more.
Oh man... that would drive me nuts. I have this lil system of internet shopping (we do it A LOT)
I pretty much know when the UPS guy is gonna show, or even Mike the Mail Guy.
I know I dont have any orders coming in... but DH - it's like Christmas every day for him... again - drives me nuts.
as for containers... it's funny now, when i shop, i say "wow, that'd make a nice greenhouse."
and now I'm not yelling at the kids for NOT recycling, I'm yelling that they recycle my greenhouses.
One i just found will work good - though small, is those Naked Juice containers. They are square, and will hold 4 seeds nicely.
(I've already got 3 on my counter waiting to be filled) but yeah -- we don't go thru a lot of milk... only about a gal every 5 days.
and my son (bless his heart) could be bringing home milk jugs from work (Starbucks) but keeps asking if i need grounds. I told him... "Wait til Spring".
ohhhhhhhh my your turning down coffee grounds??!! Put them down on top of future beds your planning to make and the worms will turn them under for you and make castings.. they LOVE coffee gounds. Top dress evergreens with them... Put them in a compost bin if you have one.. I'd take all the coffee grounds I could get!! I've done a starbucks tour and gotten all I could get. :) And they smell so nice too! :)
Susan -- once the snow melts and the ground softens up a bit, i will start adding grounds again. with the coffee and espresso we go thru here - my lil composter has plenty... i usually have grounds coming out of my ears.
It is driving me a bit nuts about the seed order. It is one of the few places in the world that still will only take orders on a piece of paper mailed to them with payment enclosed. I forgot to make my own copy, I am to use to my computer doing that for me.
Dave47, my 90% germination was based on 1 container of 15 not germinating at all. I didn't keep track of how many seeds were sown in each jug because it was pretty much a HOS for every one. This year each jug is getting less seeds because I'm more confident of germination.
Terese, that's a good question about damp soil and packing it down. I don't have a large area to work in (my kitchen) and it took forever last year to get each container ready. This year I changed my method. I fill a large bucket with soil, add warm water and let it sit until everything is good and wet (not dripping). I line up my jugs on a tray and fill each one with premoistened soil, thump each jug on the counter just to settle the soil, sow the seeds, label and tape, then out the door.
Last year the soil seemed to settle lower than what I anticipated, so that's the reason for the "thump" on the counter. Just to make sure I got enough in each jug.
I just ordered more seeds, even though I told myself I was done for sure now. Internet shopping is hazardous to my budget :)
tell me about it. this plant shopping is quite time consuming -- i'm trying to maximize the s/h charges - getting everything from one site... everything is starting to look the same. LOL
I too have to work in my kitchen - I do it on days the DH is out of town - i get soil everywhere.
I must have read your soil in a bucket/add water comment - because that is what i did today... I ran out of SW'ing containers - so i just have soil in that huge tupperware bowl.
where you at in Chicago? I'm out west, with 290 in my back yard - literally.
I used to live out in the western suburbs, it's nice out there. I'm down by Midway Airport now and like it but you guys have a better nursery selection out that way I think LOL. That's why I do almost all of my plant shopping online now. I know how it can make a person crazy though, too. It seems I want 2 specific things from 10 different companies. I will also confess to placing 3 different orders from one seed company this year. Need to get a better handle on this, but it so much fun as I find new things each time I look.
The bucket and water idea wasn't even my idea, I read about it somewhere else and it was a duh! moment for me. Why didn't I think of that myself?
I was going to start my annuals now but then heard that some annuals planted too early have the potential to rot in their containers. I don't know any specifics and am curious if anyone has ever had this problem.
This is my first year to winter sow annuals, I am taking good notes as well. I have just been planting them along with the perennials. Last year I planted everything at the same time and the seed just seemed to come up when it was ready. Beginners luck?
The last packet of seeds arrived yesterday. Six packets to winter sow and five to wait and sow outside when the weather is warmer, those are all succulents and say to plant when warm. I got them from J.L. Hudson and like to order from them they are very good about indicating plant when warm or the seeds need cold etc.
I have planted 78 containers, mostly gallon milk jugs and have 8 to go as long as I don't get some more. I am just starting to put in native plants at our cabin so I have a place to plant them all.
I know I did 80 last year. Fortunately DH enjoys it to and helps me. I was talking about cutting back and he said no we can do it. I still didn't get all of the seeds I wanted to, I need to leave some for next year.
Pauline, you have me beat! I only planted 78 WS containers. Some milk jugs and most ice cream buckets.
Going to look at garage sales this spring for more ice cream buckets, as I begged all I could from friends and relatives. We very seldom have ice cream in the house. I'm not supposed to eat many dairy products, but do cheat on the cheese.
I don't have that much planting space , either. If I find the time and materials I might expand a couple of beds a little, lasagna style, after the weather breaks. But it won't be until after my husband starts cutting grass since that is a major lasagna ingredient for me.
I'm thinking of standing my 2 liter bottles in a kiddy pool so they self-water from the bottom via the drain holes. That may mean standing water in the pool for a few hours with a hard rain. Any thoughts?
You need to remove the jugs from the pool after watering or drill drainage holes in the pool. I keep mine in sterilites with drain holes and just squirt the hose in to water, they take a few minutes to drain. If the jugs aren't saturated I fill the sterilite again. Usually I drag the sterilites into the lawn to do this so the water isn't wasted on the patio.
Just read a good use for the Top Half of Soda Bottles. I thought I'd share. Protect young transplanted seedlings from slugs by making a "cloche" to cover the seedlings once transplanted in the ground. Would be excellent for hosta seedlings. I think I'll try this once wintersowing is over.
I just want to add that #2 pencils do fade, but it does take some years. So using them for marking winter sown seedlings is fine. For a more permanant marker once the plants are planted out I've learned to use grease pencils and paint markers. Both of these have held up over the years better than #2 pencils or sharpies.
question -- do you sow all you seeds in containers, or save a few to direct sow, just in case the WS seeds don't germinate?
I was going to do more seeds today, but I was going to do ALL the seeds and really not save any.
good or bad idea?
when is a good time to start marigolds? I have a TON on them - and last year i just put all my seeds in some soil, and when they were tall enough, i moved them around the yard... but was gonna do them in a foil tray.
OH and i did find one of those zippered "comforter" bags... i think i can fit a lot in there.
Iíve been reading on here that a few people have put there jugs where they are sheltered? Does this mean where they will get sun just part of the day? Last year I had mine in the full sun I thought this was where we were suppose to put them should I move them to part shade? I didnít have much luck with most of my jugs last year but thought it was due to slugs, I found several in the jugs last year but then again the sun might have had something to do with it?
I have a few jugs that are sprouting, maybe 3-4 so far. They get morning sun. It has been warm for a few days but snow forecast for the weekend. I may move the germinated ones to the root cellar before the temps plunge back to 20ļ at night.
I'm worried about the ones that germinate early too, so far I just have one for my bird garden that came up so I figure they are pretty tough macrocephala centaurea, I put one of my little big lots gh's up for the ones that start germinating early, the ones I have planted right now are perennials anyway.
I planted a whole pack of canterbury bells, I thought about that bunch of them that you planted darius ;-)
My jugs are where they get sun from sunrise until about 1 pm and they did just fine last year. I have the tops off and only had one jug out of 80 that didn't have any germination.
The snow melted enough yesterday so I can see them again. I figure I have enough winter left that I am going to pot up some more today. We have been having weather in the upper 50's low 60's but are getting freezing nights and highs in the upper 30's starting today for awhile.
Our temps. change a lot here too, Iím getting ready to plant some more, this week in the 70ís and next week will be freezing lol Mine have only been under the snow once and that was only for a day it melted the next day, I have 72 jugs so far.
Well my jugs are coming out of the full sun and into the back yard, the part sun/shade sounds good, Iíve got to do something different from last year, I want all of mine to come up too! lol
I sowed about 40-50 jugs (2 liter soda bottles) in early February. They are in morning sun, and some nights temps have been down to single digits. So far almost 1/3 have germinated which I consider remarkable because some seed was old. You betcha I will do this again!!
On lesson that I learned from my previous go at winter sowing is that you do have to think about mature sizes when planting out your babies. I will let many of my seedlings mature for a month or two in pots, but even then they are such tiny plants. I had such a hard time convincing myself that these puny plants would soon be 3' wide.
I was really surprised by how fast my winter sown plants matured and how quickly some of my plantings became over crowded. In general I do like to plant new perennials close to get that full look earlier with the ideas that I can thin them later. With my seedling I though that the thinning job would be in a year or two, but many plants were too crowded after just a few months.
Below is a picture taken in June 2005. Look at the recently planted garden to the left of the bench that is about 50% wintersown plants.
The two taller plants are Verbena bonariensis and Agastache (Anise Hyssop).
Yep the Coleus by the fence was winter sown. It is one of those plants that took forever to get going and by the time they got to a decent size I did not have the motivation to find a spot for them. I should have moved them inside or taken cuttings. I have a packet of seeds this year that I plan on sowing soon.
As a follow up to the bed shown...this was my kids "butterfly garden" and a primary reason that I got into winter sowing. I wanted to get my kids involved with some gardening but I did not want to spend $100 on plants. I supplemented the bed with some annuals and some other plants because I did not want it to look empty all year long. I really thought that it would take a year or two for the winter sown plants to take off. I was so wrong! I saw the same type of results in the other two beds that I loaded with winter sown plants.
BTW, the only plants in that bed that were purchased are the marigolds. While many of the other plants (lambs ear, cannas, plus a couple others that got swallowed up) were not winter sown, I traded a number of winter sown plants at a local swap to get those plants.
Lessons I've learned from this first year of winter sowing (so far)...
A. Fill opaque cups with planting medium as close to the top as possible to prevent lanky plants trying to reach the sun.
B. Remove nasturtiums from boxes as soon as they germinate, as they tend to get too wet and rot (I almost lost my first ones before I realized this).
C. I've learned that this method really works and I love it. It will definitely be a part of my gardening plan from now on.
Out of 193 containers (so far...yes I have more seed, lol), only about 24 haven't germinated. Some of those have hopeful little green bumps and some I know need more consistent warmth than we've had so far or are long germination types, so I haven't given up on anything.
193 containers? Egads, surely that must be a prize winner of some sort of WS Queen/King for the year or something! I started small for me (a rarity) - I only did about 30 or so. But I'm hooked :)
I did learn that heat is far more deadly to sprouts than cold this year - and that the containers hold moisture pretty well. Next year as soon as it hits 70 I'm taking down the tops on my sprouted ones. I only lost a few sprouts thankfully.
How do you guys manage with the annual seeds that are SO TINY? My manual dexterity is not great, and they stick to my palms and get under my fingernails and end up with all the seeds in one container when I wanted it in 10 different containers!
I'm glad someone brought up this topic--because I ended up with all my really tiny seeds going into one jug because I didn't know to separate them! "Sowing thickly," indeed.
I'm going to try the salt-shaker method next year . . . meanwhile, I'm watching those jugs--two or three are germinating--yippee!
That is a great idea. (Taking notes for next year) It could have saved me a lot of grief and seeds today as I was trying to untangle Coreopsis tinctoria "Dwarf Red Plains" to plant out the seedlings. I finally said, "I give up, and just planted the rest out in hunks."
Lessons Learned...What works: Initially placing several markers inside the jugs at the start of winter sowing...
One thing I'm glad I did do when I first sowed my seeds... I placed several plastic forks and knives marked with their plant names and date in with the jugs. As I was planting some of the seedlings into groups, I'd just take one of the plastic markers from the jugs to name the seedlings. I planted 3, or 5, or 7, or 9 in a group depending on the plant. One marker per grouping. Now, I can relax and make a "real' marker at my leisure, giving these seedlings an opportunity to grow on further in their new bed. Most will get a nice looking metal marker, later when I'm not so tired after planting.
I'm never original so I'm sure I read this from ya'lls last year lessons learned.LOL
This same information was also written on the outside of the jugs. However, what I plan to include next year will be the plant's maturity height (& bloom color if known) on the outside of the jug. Since there's not enough room on the plastic forks and knives for this. I did have this information on file, but not quite as organized with my maps when I take them with me to the beds. I change my mind to often when it's all said and none (really ready to plant).
Excellent idea of salt/pepper shakers and a little sand! I tried plastic knives but I just couldn't write well enough or maybe mine are extra petite knives or something! And the condensation inside my containers caused the writing to wash off in the cases where I put both a marker and an outside number.
I begun my first round of winter sowing I've learned from you guys in early March here in northwest WA state. 5 milk jugs numbered, and the seed packets kept. 15-30 seeds in each, and they have sprouted. I am so happy. They look so much better then the leggy indoor starts from february. My only problem now, is where do I plant them all? I guess I'll plan on thinning later.
Thanks for this great idea. Love, FreeBird!
Ok folks, I didn't have any sand, did NOT want to use salt (I'm not that dumb) so I used sugar. Will that do anything bad to the tiny seedlets? It worked well; I could see the little seeds among the sugar and it melted nearly instantly.
Sorry, Dave, I meant Dave but you know, Dave, Doug, Dagwood, Dan, Dale, Dean, Damion, Dante,there are a lot of names out there, Dave,and while I'm typing I have to look at the keyboard and not at your post, Dave. Sorry.
Usually the extention services in any county can do soil testing. If you have a large property (I saw this on HGTV and on my local PBS gardening shows) put soil samples in paper bags, mark what area they are from and turn them in. The analysis will tell you what you have and what amendments are needed which can vary from one area of a large yard to another area.
I heard the author being interviewed on CBC radio - it was sooooo funny! Obviously, this man has much, much more money than I have! He spent a fortune in landscaping, bringing in topsoil etc. Then he does a cost-benefit analysis!
This is like the "This Old House" syndrome. There is no way we can afford to restore Our Old House the way it is done on the tv show. Some people may have a spare 40 grand to redo the kitchen - but not me. Anybody with enough money can hire others to make their homes, gardens, etc. look spectacular.
Those with more modest means must be creative - and smart. Any dummy can throw money at a problem.
As to whether one should grow or purchase veggies - if one factors in the cost of one's labour, opportunities lost (I could be doing something else rather than weeding) obviously buying veggies is the choice. But, if the objective of gardening is something else (for me it is the sense that I am attempting to create beauty in the world - a rather worthy goal, I thought), then the benefits clearly outweigh the costs.
There is no way I could buy the joy I get out of gardening. I had a choice buy the flowers or vegetable and I chose to buy the vegetables. Now if I was buying them at the grocery store that might make a difference.
Growing up in Connecticut my parent's bought a large 2 level 2 family home which are pretty common in New England. The yard was completely barren--I mean nothing in it except for a large outcropping of rock sticking up in the center of the large yard making it into a weird U shape. My pop had tons of soil hauled in and worked like a maniac to have his trees, grass, roses and veggies. The upstairs neighbors thought he was nuts but once they saw the veggie garden thrive they asked if they could have an area to plant for themselves. We only lived there 6 years but we've maintained out friendship with that family for decades--my parents have passed years ago but we all still stay in touch.
Their family even began a large family garden at one of their homes. Everyone makes the trip out there on the weekend to do the chores and maintain the garden and they all get to spend time together. They do big group canning, freezing and baking with the stuff from their garden.
Claypa, Yes I know the book.
And yes I will continue to grow my own veggies even if it's not cost-effective. Sad thing is that by the time I'm picking them, they are dirt cheap and decent at the market.
But nothing is as good as what you've grown in your own garden. It's a hobby, not a part-time job:)
Oh - something else! The clear plastic containers that Costco sells grapes in appear to be absolutely perfect for winter sowing containers :-) I plan to eat a lot of Costco grapes between now and December.
How would you like to be eating tomatoes from your garden before anyone else in the 'hood? Plant seeds and seedlings earlier, and protect your young plants from spring frosts. Protects from snow, frost, wind, drought, birds, insects, chemical sprays, and excess moisture. Durable Jiffy Hot Kaps have a 10" X 10" base, and are approximately 9" high with a hole in the top for ventilation. Stacks and stores easily. 5 plant covers per package.
at $12.99 for 5, I still think we're better off with 2L soda bottles. Plus, we get to drink the soda first!
Eighteen 24 oz. soda bottles fit just great in a standard 10" x 20" nursery flat. And I got some 'totes' that the beverage distributors transport 2 liter bottles in at our town's recycling center, very handy! There are different sizes for different numbers of bottles. Worth looking around for, I think.
I figure with the temperature at 17ļ and flurries this morning I am going to do some last minute winter sowing. Nine days ago the temperature was 81ļ here. That is Minnesota for you. My DH reminded me that 3 years ago we had a total of 26" of snow in April. The poor little seedlings don't know what to do.
Zen, we were HOPING for some precip last night and today before temps plunge tonight, but NOTHING, not a drop. We are going to go from a high today of about 80 to a low of 40, then a high tomorrow in the upper 50's and lows in the lower 30', then mid to upper 20' for the entire weekend, then slowly rising again. That's Central NC. I misted all my wonderful seelings today.
Learned the hard way: if you use 2liter soft drink bottles, and remove the big label that goes all around, be sure to write the container number on the lower part. When I started taking off those tops, I just stacked them one on top of the other, and if I did not recognize the seedlings, it was really hard to reconstruct.
Terese, I must confess, the idea didn't originate with me . . . someone else did that, but I couldn't remember the thread. I did remember the idea, and have since used it myself. I thought it was good enough to be recorded on a sticky.
I'm pretty sure I posted this before, but I guess it can't hurt to mention it again.
I put all of my containers in cardboard boxes when I put them outside (not my idea, but I wish I'd thought of it). I tried it for the first time last year, now it's part of my routine. Having the bottoms of the containers in the shade seems to keep the soil moist, but the tops still get sun. And when it rains, the boxes hold the water just long enough to bottom water...the rest of it drains away. Plus...I can use the cardboard for mulching when I'm done.
Hey yall... Great idea.. if any of you go to Costco or Sam's club, I often find these extremely heavy duty cardboard boxes that bananas are shipped in.. I used them this year to store and organize my bulbs wrapped in newspaper before planting. :)
Clementine: Maybe your lesson learned is to study the lesson learned threads. Back on Jan 11 I posted "This year I will: Mark the bottom of my containers as well!" (in bold) on the #2 thread. ;-) (note the smiley...I am just giving you a hard time)
Zen: Were you the one giving me a hard time about using a soldering iron? You will be happy to know that I have given up my soldering iron ways. I got a Dremil-like tool for Christmas and I have found that a drill bit chucked in that thing will make drainage holes in record time!
Now I am just waiting for some more warm weather so that me seedlings will start growing again!
OK, here's ONE of my numerous lessons learned for next year: If you use soda-type bottles, with indentations in the bottom, plant them out before the roots get so long that they have wedged themselves into the crevices. I may have performed a rootectomy on several of my most adorable noids! :-(
LOL, summerkid -- I've got all the supplies ready -- just never did get those seeds planted! I'm thinking maybe next month for Winter in June sowing (AKA sowing the way I used to do it before I learned about winter sowing).
To have faith. I really, really wanted delphiniums so I planted Pacific Giant Blue Bird, and clear springs mixed (like magic fountain). - But nothing seemed to be happening . . . so I planted Connecticut Yankee . . . and nothing seemed to be happening. And I really, really wanted these, so I thought - well, I will plant annual mixed larkspur.
Needless to say, everything germinated . . . I have about 50 Pacific Giant Blue Bird, about 60 clear springs mixed, about 20 Connecticut Yankee, and about 75 mixed larkspur!
Next year, I want to plant fewer plants and be more selective of what I am growing. I don't mind starting perennials for the neighbours if they will cover the cost of the potting soil, etc.
I love the idea of putting your ws soda bottles into cardboard boxes! What a brilliant idea!! You guys are the best!!!!!
carrie: "rootectomy on several of my most adorable noids!" You had me cracking up and laughing out loud!!
The best thing (another one) I've learned is that wintersowing can be done all year long! Don't just sow during the Winter months, but in the Spring, Summer & Fall. We all have been sowing annuals, tropicals & some veggies now that the weather is warming up. Some seeds such as Hellebores, Clematis, and Cyclamen NEED to have a season of warm temps followed by a season of cold in order to germinate. So, don't stop sowing those seeds! You can also sow more seeds during the Summer months so the plants will be ready to be put in your garden in the Fall. Get a 'jump start' on wsing by starting your seeds in the Fall. What a wonderful way to keep our hands playing in soil all year around!!!
One thing I've learned both years that I have tried this is not being able to get away from over-sowing. I tend to be heavy with the hand when sowing the seeds. I have about an 87% germination rate on my containers so far, but within those containers the germination rate varies. I don't want to be stuck with one plant, so I sow more seeds. This sometimes leads to all the seeds germinating or sometimes just a few. It's a toss up.
a great thing about using the boxes is... if you have to move them - it makes it so much easier for transporting.
lately i have been "away" for 3-4 days... and gosh forbid my kids water my seedlings... so i give them a good drink before i leave and put them in the shade, so they don't dry out. when i get back... they get moved to partial sun -- but i'm home to keep track of the watering... plus -- as someone else mentioned... you just "water" the box, the containers take up what they need and the rest seeps out of the box.
Well I am starting over on most of what I winter sowed, I lost almost all of my seedlings :( the last frost we had got them. I am really heart broken. (and I can't find any of my 4 o'clock seeds) I had bunches of them in all colors and poof they have all disappeared :( I have no idea where they disappeared to either.
I also had dh to stop buying the Miracle Grow Garden soil. It is full of weed seeds (big time). and rocks and wood chips and lord only knows what else. I had better luck with just the cheap potting soil that I had here and used.
When we had that last cold weather I brought all the containers that had germinated onto my enclosed back porch. When I took them back out I put them near the house under the deck for a week...seems to have worked.
This is my first year wintersowing and I have had great success. I felt really wimpy when I brought all my pots inside when we had the last frost - but they all survived. I think that we have put so much work and expectation into this project that we should protect it. I don't feel bad about "pampering" my seedlings.
I am so sorry for everyone who did loose their seedlings.
It means the thread will stay at the top of the list, whether there are new posts or not.
There's lots of planning that can be done the rest of the year - choosing plants and finding the seeds, collecting containers and maybe cutting them in advance so there's no rush, especially with all the winter holidays too.
Do you mean the ones that say " won't bloom the first year but will bloom the next"? I like the wintersowing idea, but in a case like that, what's the difference between me sowing them directly as opposed to wintersowing? And, what exactly is the difference between wintersowing and starting seeds inside? Is it just that the cold keeps them from damping off etc? I tried starting seeds inside this year, and they sprouted ok, but I have absolutely no sunny windowsill to put them in, so they stalled and I eventually killed them. I restarted more, and by that time it was warm during the day, so I was taking them outside during the day and bringing them in when it got cold. They seem to be doing fine and haven't died. I guess that's kinda like wintersowing, only not with the little green house...
Winter sowing is where you plant seeds in covered pots like milk jugs or 2 liter bottles. You cut them in half, plant then put the tops back on so it's a mine "greenhouse". (I use milk jugs), put them outside in the winter and then basically just leave them alone. No green house, no lights, no bringing them in or out, no buying pots, no covering, no space taken up indoors. No dampening off, no hardening, no birds eating them, no wind taking them away. Very very easy. I don't touch mine until they are ready to plant out, though I may water if needed when it gets warm (around mid May). Much easier to sprout hard to start seeds and you end up with TONS of plants. NO BABYING. (though some people can't help but baby their seedlings).
It sounds perfect to me...especially since I don't have a sunny spot inside to start seeds. I was wondering if you could use the cups from like McDonalds' with the clear lids for single plants...like I said, I want to do hostas and veggies for sure, and maybe just one plant in a cup would be best for that?
Kristie: Welcome to this forum. The most informative website is at http://www.wintersown.org It will answer all your questions & concerns about this very easy and natural way of germinating seeds. Plus, it is a wonderful recycling project too! We'll be here to answer any of your questions, cheer you on and commiserate, if needed. It's fun, very affordable, and a great way to grow a wide variety of plants that many times aren't available commercially.
One thing I have learned is that maybe I misinterpreted - and I paraphrase - that one could just use the cheapest soil from Wal_Mart. I know, people have discussed soils for starting seeds and there have been differing opinions. So, being cheap I once found some bags - reduced - at Wal-Mart Expert Perfect Mix.
I am not sure whether it was the soil or the timing, I think I probably started using this soil around early March. Most of the seedlings I sowed in it are really pathetic, although they did germinate. The tomatoes don't look good, and the Summer Poinesttia Mix (Amaranthus) has been 1/4" for the past 6 weeks and is useless. Marigold 'Vanilla Ice' is perhaps an inch high and looks strange, not green but more reddish.
So, lesson learned - DON'T buy cheap soil, it is not worth it.
Clementine: So sorry to hear about your Wal-Mart soil mix, but it's a lesson well learned and next year you won't make that mistake. I believe that in Sticky #1 it says to use a good name brand soil mix such as Miracle Gro or ProMix. Nothing is worse than having soil that is like concrete.
I work for WM and don't care for the store brand soil. I found a huge shard of glass in one bag and to me it also turns almost, I guess, sour maybe is the word I'm looking for. I try to stick to well know national brands and have had much better results. I can't find Pro Mix around my area though and I'm dying to try it but I cannot justify ordering dirt online:LOL:
dmac085: Oh my gosh! "I found a huge shard of glass in one bag..." plus, the soil turning sour is absolutely horrible!!!!! I hope you didn't hurt yourself on that piece of glass. I would have brought the bag back to the store where I purchased it, filled out a complaint form and spoken to the store Manager. Definitely stick with the name brands.
Seandor: It has been proven over and over again that inferior brands of dirt will dry out quicker, will contain more debris such as sticks and eventually the dirt (not using the word soil on purpose) will become rock hard and have the consistency of concrete. You were lucky this time! I know of many wintersowers (at another website) that tried to save a few dollars by buying cheap dirt. They lost almost every one of their sown containers because the seedlings died when the dirt became rock hard. This is a very avoidable problem!!
I've been using MG soil, which I am morally against but I can't argue with its efficacy. I have sproutage in almost every actual WS container, whereas my spring sowing annuals in flats and peatpots has not been nearly as successful.
I don't really know what was wrong with my WM soil, mine never turned concrete-like, but it was way too coarse, I think that was the problem. Anyway, it is really worth it to spend a few dollars more and be assured that one is using good materials 9 so any failure cannot be blamed on the soil, lol).
I used a seed starter mix on some, and a regular potting soil (MG) on others. The seed starter was too dense, not airy enough. It was very hard to divide the seed starter mix. I also had to fertilize those, since they didn't have anything in them. It seems like the tiny roots were more sealed in there, more than the loose mix.
My lesson learned for WS is to not be stingy with the seeds. A lot of containers I only planted 3 or 5 seeds, and was lucky to end up with 1 that actually became a plant. I'll definitely oversow next year and thin out what I don't need. Tamara
I learned that this is the only way I can afford to mass plant - today I planted 35 snapdragons, about 9 old-fashioned carnations, about 15 pinks, 20 viola (blackberry cream!) Plus I have already planted about 50 larkspur, and there are still more to plant!
I also planted about 100 or so impatiens (started inside - then moved to veranda). Also planted about 15 foxglove, and I still have to plant the delphiniums!
Well - obviously I haven't attempted to plant 15,000 of anything (yet!) but yes, that is the generally idea, Carrie. I still have about 60 or so impatiens to plant today, and I will also plant the delphiniums.
Nikki - I am new to this, so I have no idea whether the viola will bloom this year or not. But it sure would be great - they encircle two mini roses - Scentsation - which is lavender coloured with a cream underside to the petals. These mini-roses were selected because they (supposedly) have a strong scent. I think that these roses (they will grow to about 24") will be beautiful framed by purple and white violas.
Anyway - both the roses and the violas are new this year - if I get blossoms, I will definitely take pictures and post them :-)
Ok, I did my best to read everything. This year will be my first year winter sowing. My sister is planning to do it too. I rely on her for information as she retains much more of what she reads (she is also a DG member). If I have this right,
1) I will keep saving milk jugs NOT cutting and tossing the tops, - Get lots of those as I have in home Day Care.
2) I will cut through three sides (do you keep the handle side intact? Would this hinder the desired "hinged" effect?)
3) Buy Miracle Grow soil NOW if on sale (any particular type?)
4) After winter solstice (or whatever that word was) then I will:
a) Put drainage holes in all my jugs (guess I could do that earlier)
b) Pre moisten soil in a bucket of some type (totally soak it and let it drain over night?)
c) Fill jugs to the edge of cut (give a tap on counter to settle and top off again?)
d) Add seeds on top of soil? Or
e) Sprinkle a little more soil on top of seeds?
f) Close jug and tape shut
g) Replace lid to jug? Or do I leave that off for ventilation?
h) Place outside in sunny area on picnic tabletop (or do I want them directly on the ground?)
i) Let Mother Nature do her work and await spring to enjoy
Is that all? Do I do anything with them from the time I set them out until time to plant them in the ground?
If this list of "to do's" seems accurate, I will print it out for reference. If I get some comments on changes, I will revise it, and then print it out.
Thanks so much! Dave's is the best site for learning from others who are so much more experienced.
Summerkid, so does my list seem appropriate or are there errors? Is it over kill? I like the idea of little work, big results but I also don't want to neglect them TOO much and end up with a bunch of empty dirty jugs on my picnic table in the spring.
Don't put the lid back on; remember, you want them to get some rain/snow.
Put them on the ground if nothing will disturb them there because they will be more protected. The ground helps insulate them.
Why don't you experiment a little & find what works best for you?
As for planting depth, put them at the normal depth or perhaps a bit shallower -- remember, you're letting Mother Nature do the work, a la the wildflowers that just drop their seeds on the ground & spout when they're ready.
Thanks, I am also reading on the winter sowing.org website that was mentioned earlier in this thread. Hopefully by early January I will feel confident. Maybe I will do half the jugs on the ground and half on the table? I see where a lot of DGer's have thiers on a deck so that would be similar to the picnic table.
Also, I am thinking up here in WI we can get several feet of snow. I am assuming we don't want the containers litterally burried in the snow right? On the table they would get the snow, the cold ect. All the elements, but still not be completly buried in it.
How do you maintain moisture in the gallon jugs? Do you set them in a wading pool? I lost several seedlings in the Spring from drying out. When working a lot of hours I neglected to keep a close eye on them. Any suggestions?
I have w/s for two years. Both years I've use milk containers and miracle grow soil. I start planting in the January and continue through April. I fill the container, pour water until the soil is saturated, let it drain, sprinkle the seed, sprinkle a fine later of dry soil on top and put out side on my patio. It is not covered and gets southern exposure. I don't do anything to them or move them about. Once the sprouts look like little plants I start paying attention to them. I start flipping back the lid if the weather is nice and I pay attention to the water need. Seeds don't soak up water, plants do. I've planted out as early as April if the plants are big enough.
This fall, I'm planning on creating a list of the plants that I've planted and what month I w/s'd them. This year I can make an educated decision on when to w/s as not all plants need the Jan/Feb cold to germinate.
Has anyone heard if we are going to have a dry winter, if it's dry we may not have much snow, I don't have much here anyway. If it's going to be dry I'm debating on WS not sure if I want to worry about all of those jugs not getting watered and if I water them I'll worry if I washed the seeds away unless I water them from the bottom lol I don't really want to be watering all winter like I have this summer, what do you all think? I can't just do a few jugs it's not in me lol
Sure Carrie you don't have to worry about the containers being that clean when you are WS them outside they aren't as particular. I probably won't even wash mine maybe just rinse them out I have a big pile of them from last year lol
Carrie: Since most of my milk jugs come from other people, sometimes they're stinky and nasty. Those I rinse out in bleach water. Most I just rinse once with tap water . No problems in 2 years of WSing.
I don't reuse jugs only because I have usually cut them up at planting time, if not before. If I were going to reuse, I would just give them a good rinse.
The purpose of all that sterilizing stuff for indoor seed growing is to prevent disease, the most common of which is damp-off. That isn't an issue with WSing.
Carrie you don't have to do that I would just rinse them real good, take a tub of water put some dish soap in them swish them around rinse and let dry they should be fine :) That's what I'm doing and that's what I do with my pots outside that I plant in and those plants are fine. Now if your were planting in the house that would be a totally different story bleech those seed trays, rinse and let them dry! lol Too many things can happen in the house under lights but the ones outside will be just fine :)
I have to do less this year. After 2 years of wintersowing and cramming seedlings into every visible inch of soil, I'm running out of bed space. Plus, perennials which stayed small this year and didn't bloom will need more space next year than this year.
I sowed 80 some containers the first time, 60 some containers the second time. I just have to cut back.
I don't remember how many I sowed - maybe 50 according-to-the-book containers, and then once I realized those were actually sprouting I planted 3 46 cell trays of annuals but most of those dried out. Some of them I transplanted in time and gave me pretty flowers, eventually!