I've been reading this winter sowing forum and I don't understand the benefits of putting the seeds in containers during the winter vs just sowing them directly in the fall in the flower bed where you want them, letting them hang out there over the winter and germinate in the spring when the temps are right for that particular seed.
I did one direct sown seed garden this year (sown in spring mind) and it's stunning - so I'm thinking of doing another one at the front of the house but this time direct sowing in September and seeing what emerges in the spring - will this work just as well as winter sowing?
Haven't had much experience with sowing seeds so maybe I'm not understanding things properly.
Gee - I don't know - I did winter sow and I had TONS of plants.
Currently, I have about a gazillion linaria seedlings and baby's breath seedling germinating. I have no idea if they will survive the winter. At the same time, I have lots of foxglove germinating as well, along with some AGASTACHE Golden Jubilee. No idea whether they will make it.
Since posting this question I found an article on a winter sowing website which says that the germination rate is better with winter sowing vs direct sowing so you don't waste as many seeds - but seems a lot of hassle having to transplant from those containers. Also having all those ugly containers hanging around the yard...
I think I'll be satisfied with SOME germination from direct sowing - I don't need zillions of plants. I think I'm going to try both methods with half of each seed packet. direct sow with one half and winter sow/transplant with the other and I'll see which one's a) germinates successfully - if at all b) flowers first c) produces the most robust plants d) is the least work for me!
I suppose winter sowing will be the way to go where direct sowing produces ZERO germination...or if you need tons and tons of plants to fill a large area?
...Although I might still be missing something...?
"I usually direct sow...why is winter sowing better?"
"When you direct sow in the ground the seeds are at the mercy of Mother Nature...they can get washed out in downpours, be eaten by critters and bug and birds, desiccate in the wind, or can rot in the soil.
In a Winter Sowing mini-greenhouse the seeds are in a protected environment. They get the same weather as the seeds in the ground...same temperatures, and the little slits in the lids allow both rain and melting snows to keep the soil moist and the flats watered. But they ARE protected so more of the seeds will survive to germinate in Spring. The germination counts are generally astonishingly high."
Also, some seeds that may be very difficult to germinate have been successfully sown via the wintersowing method.
Mmm...good question... I think it's very interesting what will work with the least amount of angst...here's my take on it, after some trial and error in the past few years...
Well, 'direct' sowing (around our area) can be done both in spring and fall. It depends on what you're planting, when, and where...
For seeds that need scarification, cold treatments, and such---most perennials, it seems-- 'direct' sowing, seeds can go into the garden in the fall (but it will take a year or two to get flowers on these.)
For others, especially tender annuals like zinnias and such, 'direct' sowing in the spring is better (at least around here) for a decent crop (less chance of disturbance by predators and seed rot and other weather issues).
The problem with direct sowing for us here is that the birds and voles and moles and erradic weather patterns disrupt the growing cycle and so 'wintersowing' in the little covered containers works more effectively. So I do 'wintersow' perennials starting in February--not much earlier because of the muss and fuss you talked about.
But I don't 'wintersow' my tender annuals like zinnias until springtime (nearer last frost date) in our zone 6 weather.
And sometimes in spring and summer I start seeds in big pots close to the house so that I remember to keep them watered and a bit protected from the birds, etc. These can be tender annuals in the spring (I did zinnias like this up until June) or a sowing of perennials/biennials in mid-summer (like digitalis, and then plant the small plants out into the garden in September to root out for bloom next summer.)
Also If you are interested in starting a wide range of plants from seed and not using wintersowing, check out the "Deno Method" too. It's kind of neat.
And there is a nice thread on the propagation forum, I think, about flowers that 'reseed' in the garden, by themselves...of course, there are different results on this, dpending on your garden conditions...in our garden about the only thing that will reseed is 'verbena bonarienses'...
Ummm...hope this info is a bit of a help...I think a lot of seed sowing is by trial and error and whatever works for your garden conditions, how much you are willing to baby the plants, and the kinds of flowers you want in your garden...
Anyway, I've had fun trying to grow from seed. If it weren't for wintersowing, I wouldn't have gotten going on it (seed sowing)...
Let us see your results, by the way!? Any pics of your garden?
Okay - I have all these little plants that I started this summer (all perennials) but I am talking small . . . I am thinking I need to plant these around Sept 15 to ensure that they are established before hard frost. Is there a reasonable chance they will survive? I mean, how big do they have to be?
I wintersowed delphiniums last winter and they are now in blossom (not in early summer which they will probably do next year). The foxglove are biannuals - so if you sow them this winter, you will have lovely large, green, velvety ground cover the first year, and the second year you will have flowers - after that they will resow themselves.
I don't recall that any of the columbine flowered this year - but just wait until next year!
It depends on the plant... For annuals, I get the earliest bloom with an indoor start (duh), followed by wintersowing, followed by direct sowing. But many perennials won't bloom until their second year, regardless.
I have gotten earlier blooms by keeping the plant root bound in a pot. A good example of this is Tricyrtis 'White Tower' which bloomed the first Summer.
One more reason to winter sow vs. direct sowing is for uniformity. Direct sowing can produce spotty germination, which leaves gaps in your garden. With winter sowing you transplant the seedlings exactly where you want them.
My first try was a bust. How do you keep the gallon jugs moist? I didn't have very high germination rate. Are you using Promix or potting soil. I used gallon milk jugs for mine. Does anyone leave them in a baby pool for bottom watering?
BGmom, sometimes my WSing containers don't get enough rain, and then I do bottom water them. You want the mix to be moist but not sopping, so don't let them sit in water.
I have a "collection" of old black plastic flats that I used to use on my seed starting shelves, and now I put my WSing containers in them... Many of them got little holes or breaks in them just with age/use, and I poked holes in the corners of those that didn't have them. Whether I water with a hose or whether they get rain water, the flats collect the water long enough for the mix in the containers to soak it up, and then excess water slowly drains away through the small holes. So I think a child's wading pool would work great... but you'd need to either empty out the extra water or poke a couple of little holes near the edge.
BGMom: Since you live in KY, I'm assuming that you had as hot and dry a spring as we had here. You have to water them frequently in those conditions, at least once a day. I use a misting spray from the hose, or a misting sprinkler. If really dry, I bottom water in a tub so that the water level in the tub is about as high as the potting mix. I let each jug sit in that bath for a couple of minutes, then remove them and plop the next bunch in. That way, each is completely saturated. I never let them sit in the tub in between waterings. It also helps to keep them in shade when the weather is hot.
I use mostly Pro-Mix, but I have used Miracle Grow too. Both worked well for me.
This is a photo of my first 'direct sown' garden as of last week. some of it is in shade - so not the best picture
box of pelleted impatiens seeds
packet of zinnia seeds
packet of nasturtium seeds
packet of mixed wildflower seeds for shade (the only ones in bloom are the rudbekia but there are some other baby perennial plants lurking underneath the impatiens - which may put in an appearance next year!)
iclavdivs, you win, that's gorgeous! Imagine, though, you had a very large area you wanted to fill with perennials, like Seandor, and you didn't want to pay for each one. I'm agreeing, though, about most annuals. The zinnias I sowed directly in pots in June (?) are blooming now - I think if I'd done them in April I would had them blooming in August. my previous method of starting seeds - direct sowing, that is - was to go to a corner of the yard where even weeds wouldn't grow and scratch a hole in the dirt and dump in the seeds. I'd come back two or three months later and conclude I couldn't start things from seeds. Now that I know I can, I will!
"my previous method of starting seeds - direct sowing, that is - was to go to a corner of the yard where even weeds wouldn't grow and scratch a hole in the dirt and dump in the seeds." TOO funny!! You chose an area that was NOT plant friendly and were surprised when nothing you planted grew!!! LOL... I'm so glad you have changed your "test methods" and are successful now! Aw Carrie, you crack me up! ;-)
I have had amazing success with w/s.
Yes it's a pain to transplant them come spring, but we would be doing that anyway if we bought them at the nursery or grew them indoors.
I am trying a few direct sowings and w/s of the same plant to compare. I did that with columbine this year. I d/s the seed when the plant would have done it naturally. I have tons of babies and will see how they do next spring after being out all winter as they would have done without my interference. I have plants that don't reseed on their own from one year to the next, but they do wintersow. I also have w/s plants that didn't germinate either year, so I'll start those indoors this year. I also have plants that don't give me the early color I want when w/s such as impatiens. They w/s real well, but I don't get anything out of them until the end of August. I just buy them at the nursery as I don't have the room to sow as many as I use.
The best word of advice for the newbies - trial and error - I've been keeping records so I'll be able to make educated decisions for what works for me.
I still say wintersowing is most amazing for those of us with no seed-sowing success stories. Now, I'm able to contemplate direct sowing. And I have NO indoor apace to start anything, at least, not until DD #1 graduates from college and is Out for Good with a Real Job.
Carrie... Heheheh... after the poor girl leaves for college, and the front door slams shut behind her, will there be a place for her to stay for the Holidays? or will she have to move the plants to sleep???
P,S. Now that I'm an expert wintersower (LOL lOl LOL) can I direct sow those annuals that would have self-sowed if I had known where to plant them before they bloomed? Like cosmos, bachelor's buttons, annual poppies.
I wish... my Morning Glories are sooooo late I doubt I'll get any seeds from them. But I do have a few leftover from this year, so I'll probably try a couple. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and learned!
I have a bunch of seeds from last year. This year was not a good Morning Glory year here...I think too much rain. It was like Central America's rainy season..tropicals loved it, but nary a morning glory to be seen for quite a while..there is some activity going on now, and I do have Hawaiin wood rose doing rather well, sadly they are winter bloomers so..it'll be hit or miss as to whether they bloom or not.
I am debating whether or not to start some of the mg seeds I have...like you say..nothing ventured!
My son sent me Hawaiin Wood Rose seeds and I nicked a few, put it in water to soak and then got the call my brother had died. I grabbed my stuff and hit the road. Days later when I returned you can imagine what I found! I wish I had the good sense to not soak ALL of them! Oh well... I have plenty of MG seeds friends send me so I think I will try a few direct. THANKS for tweeking my memory to do that!
Sure! Sorry about your DB.
So far the first year was tenuous for them, but the second season despite a freeze they came back, so I'm really hoping for some yellow flowers.
I use to live in Boise, and Garden City...graduated from boarding school in Caldwell! I still even rememer the street in Boise...was Cataldo Dr. we use to lay in the street in the evening to watch the night hawks during the summer.
Really, small world huh? We're close to State street and Glenwood (technically in Garden City). I've only been here a year but the climate etc is very similar to what I'm used to so not a lot of adjustment on that.
I liked Garden City. We lived right next to the canal, and our next door neighbors were fantastic gardeners.. They were an elderly couple, but my brother and I use to hang out with them for hours..they were wonderful. Good memories..and was great having the canal to swim in right through our property.
well, reason I'm asking is ...ours have to be ready to go in march, so if I'm growing through the winter I should be ready...I did start some in January 1 year and got a good crop..by april the it's too hot, but they really went to seed..I have trays of them..and am thinking that I should start some now while it's still warm.. ..this is the time we plant the wild flower seeds too...
I kept getting sidetracked this year and never planted Blue Morning Glories till mid June. What a wonderful surprise. Five seeds turned into the most beautiful mass of hundreds of blooms in August, climbing all along the side of the potting shed and onto the roof,14 feet high. They are still blooming away out there. I am working on an all Blue garden around that shed,but I had no success with Blue Iris. I planted the bulbs at the recommended time and all they did was grow green and bushy,not a stalk or bloom to be had.
I heard (once, a long time ago in a country far, far away) that irises take several years to be ready to bloom. Congrats on your morning glories! There are lots of lovely blue flowers - sounds pretty. Take pictures!
Thanks Carrie, I will remain hopeful instead of throwing those Iris on the humor pile.
Good thing for me you posted about that far away country;) because I would have dug them up next year if they didn't bloom. I am getting ready right now to go outside to the garden and as soon as those "Glories" open, I'll get a pic. I can't post a pic for a few days till they send me the right disc to install the scanner,but as soon as I can,I will try to post one. I need to get a Digital camera soon. This computer is all set up for one. But right now, I still use an old 35mm.
Yes, me too Carrie, I like the leaves, ESPECIALLY the variagated ones!!! OH ya, those are my favorite Iris leaf. I want lots more of those, the flower is nice but its the striped leaves that win my heart and cry for a place in my garden!
OH ya Carrie... when you shop for plants don't they speak to you? "Buy me, buy me... You'll love me in your garden...Put me on your buy list. Put me on your Wish list... buy me, buy me." They clearly call my name!!! LOL
After I first heard about wintersowing in another thread in another forum I contemplated trying it--thinking that was what I needed to do. However, after reading through this thread, I'm convinced now--I don't need to do any wintersowing. Hooray! No milk jugs to mess with and stack around on the back porch to trip over. How did I come to that conclusion? Most of you guys live in the frozen north where wintersowing seems to be a necessity but we have very little snow around here and our planting season starts around the last of March, first of April (except for unusual years like 2007!)
About those blue iris--never had any but I have grown other iris. You are aware that if the rhizomes are covered up with dirt that the iris don't bloom as readily? --my mother taught me this little trick years ago as a child. The rhizomes should be on top of the soil with the roots being covered. Forgive me if I told you something you alread knew. :o)
marsue, I am beginning to think I don't know anything.I feel like I should ask forgiveness for my ignorance. That might just be part of the problem with no blooms and that it may take more than a couple of years for them to bloom. I am going to take some of the bulbs that I scaled,what a mess I made doing that, and plant them shallow just to see what happens next spring.
And to the members on this thread interested in my pics of those "glories"? I went out all set to have brag photos and the day before yesterday,all the blooms shrunk up,turned light purple and died on the vine. I waited till the next day still hopeful they would come back. No such luck, but I'm going to take a pic of those sad looking "glories" anyhow. We had no frost and the weather has been very mild for Pennsylvania. I think maybe the plants have a specific life cycle from the time the seeds are planted no matter what the weather. Does anyone know if this is true? Next year I am going to plant the seeds at three different times and see what happens.
Posy, I have spent a little time over on the Morning Glory thread, it sounds like maybe your blooms have done their "thing", maybe even been pollinated so they are mature and done. That would not be a bad thing! My MG got way too much watering early on and although they grew like crazy were slow to bloom. I have only had blooms a short time and my winter weather is coming on quick!
Buy me! Buy me! Love me! This is nothing compared to when they beg,save me! save me! I spent more money at half price for half dead plants than if I'd bought them at full price while they were still alive.Sometimes the stores let me have them for a dollar just to stop my begging for their lives. Now, I don't go to the plant sections of stores after mid- season because all the half dead ones still call my name and want to go home with me.
I love lisianthus. I wintersowed them one year, but it took too long for them to bloom. Last year it didn't work at all. This year, I was going to start them indoors, but I forgot to buy seed. Michaela, would you include some seed in the swap for me?
The Morning Glories are in full bloom again! Most of the foliage is shriveled up and I am trying to get a pic again. I don't understand at all what is going on outside this year. Those Morning glories stayed open all day yesterday and this morning they are still open. I checked the Iris that didn't bloom and there is one almost ready to bloom. I thought my imagination was working overtime!The only thing I did to them was scale and then plant the separated bulbs,put compost around them which was just like loam as it is six year old pine needles. Well whatever is going on, I am enjoying the surprises of Mother Nature to the max.
I planted LOTS of iris that were given to me last year and only one bloomed. I tried to plant them "on top" with root buried but I think they needed more time to recover from the transplant and the soil has shifted and they are covered now (some were on slight slope). I can't decide whether to "lift them" with some sand etc or let them be one more year. I REALLY want some iris in BLOOM!!!
Anita, Michaela, I misplaced (read lost) my lisianthus seed! It was in a special envelope marked "LISIANTHUS SEED" so I would stop opening it and trying to wintersow it. I promised it to a few DGers and then felt like a bum when they sent me their seeds and I had nothing to trade... But if I ever find it, Anita, I'll let you know. I'm not even happy with the Burpee plants I bought this year.
Anyone start morning glories in this fashion? winter seeding?
sorry -- havent been keeping up with this thread...
this was my first year with MG's [i have GrandPa Ott and Heavenly Blue] I winter sown them and had an outstanding germination rate ... i probably had 75 seedlings. the bunnies ate most of them, but probably 10-15 grew to giants!!
i have lil ones popping up all over my lawn, at least i know they will die over the winter, and i have a ton of GrandPa Ott seeds... not as many [small handful] of Heavenly Blue seeds. I think they bloomed a bit later, as currently i have tons of blue flowers and not as many purples. I'm really hoping i get a ton more seeds from the HB, as they are just stunning. [plus i've already been asked for and promised seeds]
so -- yes, they do WS very well. I'd have to go back and check my records, but they sprouted pretty quickly and grew like weeds ... since i did not support the vine, they got all twisted amongst themselves [i will do that differently next year]
BUT -- i have also been tossing seeds, for direct sow for next year. I'm sure they will do fine, as seeds that fell early this year sprouted and i've seen lil blooms on them too... but those most likely wont go to seed.
a few months later it was soooooo big, that it covered the 4O'clock, directly in front, spirea next to it, and all the plants on the left. It pulled the arch thing all the way over to where it was practically on the ground... so i whacked the top half off and tossed it out in the field [had to be about 10 pounds worth] and the flowers actually were still blooming, not connected to the plant for another 3 weeks!! my neighbor and I were over harvesting the few seed pods that were ready.
so -- that is why i dont have a lot of seeds off the HB. It did recover and is in full bloom again, but i've only found about 5 seeds pods so far.
Great info and pics tcs. Thanks. This is the first year I have been this interested in Morning glories. Mine are Heavenly Blues. I just didn't expect anything from them because I planted them so late and they did so well,it surprised me.
I am going back and look at the close ups of your pics right now.
I do believe there are 3 morning glories here, 2 grandPa Ott and 1 Heavenly Blue,
but i could be wrong. at first I didnt think there was any HB there, but about a month ago, alas, there were blue flowers where the was once only purple.
same with the other area... if you look really closely - the far corner of the yard (that's the NW corner) it's totally filled in with MG's. that area has 5 or 6 MGs, again, I thought there was only Grandpa Ott, but obviously there was at least 1 HB, as it too is covered in blue flowers.
Carrie -- is 'lawn mower man" your DH or do you hire out?
that side of the fence for me, borders association property... the first year (6 yrs ago) we told "lawn mower man" [that's what me and the pooch call him] to basically stay away from the fence... and that we will maintain at least 5' of association property, just to keep them away. [they dont bag lawn clippings and the stuff always blew into our yard, which drove DH mad] so now we have this invisible line... they stay on one side, and we do the rest.
but DH on the other had... when he gets a hold of that weed whacker ... he gets a lil too close to my plants sometimes... i really need to tell him i will take care of anything along the fence line, because my lil flower beds just keep going down the fence line.
OH -- and the other side of the fence, for me, it borders my neighbors... but it is my fence -- though i did ask her if she'd mind if i planted the MG"s in her flower bed to climb my fence. she has zinnias and small rose of sharons in there. it looked fabulous this year.. so much so, she out there collecting the MG seeds.
No no it's the guy next door. In love with his ride-on mower. Starts mowing around 8 am in the summer, at least 3X a week. we haven't been on great terms ever since his pit bull got loose and attacked my daughter.