Lessons learned for next year #3

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

I am starting a new thread since #2 is so long.

This is the link to #2 if you wish to read it.

http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/682914/#new

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Thanks Zen - since i'm still a WS noob -- i'm taking pretty good notes and hopefully will be able to contribute next year... but i did learn a lot from ready these posts.

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

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.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

>>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".

Marietta, GA(Zone 7b)

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

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

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.

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

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.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

i'm curious on soil "dampness"

do you thoroughly soak the soil and let it "drip", so then it's still quite wet when you put the seeds in, or
do you just slightly dampen the soil -- or is it somewhere in between?

I'm thinking my soil may have been too wet on my first few, but they froze soon after (did those when we were below zero)
but they are starting to thaw, as they are now in the sun on my back patio.

the ones i did yesterday and today were not as wet, but some from a few days ago are already seeming dry to the touch.

any input on wetness of soil ?

OH and is the soil "fluffy" or sort of packed down?

TIA,

Terese

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

I thoroughly soak the soil and then let it drain until it is done draining. I just make sure the soil level is even and then plant I don't pack it down.

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

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 :)

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

arachide,

>>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.

Terese

Chicago, IL(Zone 5b)

Hi Terese:

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.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

ah yes... i know midway well. my DH's family is from there... plus he has worked there for 21 yrs.

I think i've planted some annuals... right now, i don't have a method to my madness -- but i'm taking good notes... so if i have a lot of failure, i'll make adjustments for next year.

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

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.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

zen: I did 80 containers last year and am really trying to cut back. I think I have about 35 so far, but haven't done many annuals yet, and I have quite a few of those I want to do.

You're going to be very busy at planting time!

Karen

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

Karen,

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.

Western, WI(Zone 4a)

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.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

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.

So many seeds, so little time.

Karen

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

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?

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

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.

Karen

Southern, CT(Zone 6a)

Thanks Mobi & Arachide! That really clears it up for me.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I meant to add above that my kiddy pool has holes in it already but it doesn't drain in under 2 hours in a heavy rain.

Cordele, GA(Zone 8a)

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.

Lansing, KS(Zone 5b)

Cordele~ that's a great idea..thanks for sharing!

La Salle, MI(Zone 5b)

Hey dawg, my dad saved a bunch of water bottles for me, now I know what I can use them for, Great Idea...

Connie

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Terrific idea!

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Darius: I think a couple of hours standing in water is a long time. Mine generally get plenty of water within a few minutes. I think I'd drill a few more holes in that pool.

Once seelings sprout, the roots need air for the plant to live. I don't know but I think standing in water for that long might not be good.

Karen

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Karen, I believe you are correct about standing water suffocating seedlings! So, more holes in the pool are in order.

Kalama, WA(Zone 8b)

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.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

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.

TIA,

Terese

Minneapolis, MN(Zone 4b)

I rarely sow all of one kind for two reasons: just in case they don't make it; I don't want that many of any one kind of plant.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

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?
Lea

Denver, CO(Zone 6a)

I live in an area with a lot of sun and is also very dry, so I always put mine in shade (north side of my house). They rarely get sun and they have always done great.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

So they don't really need the sun, that seems so odd. If I can do that I can sit some on the back porch and keep them from the slugs too.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

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.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

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 ;-)

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

I'm hoping my canterbury bells started last summer do well. I may have lost 50 or so over winter, won 't know for 2-3 weeks or more yet.

Denver, CO(Zone 6a)

Last year, I had ones that germinated early and I was a little worried but I left them out and they did fine.

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

I had a couple of canterbury bells in the shade garden and it flooded everytime it rained, they washed out once and I planted them again and they did great the next summer I had a bunch of blooms!

Mobi, I guess the ones that germinated in the jugs early were in the shade? Did you keep the lids on them the rest of the winter?

Denver, CO(Zone 6a)

I did keep the lids on until I was ready to plant, and kept them in the shade.

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