Taking extra seedlings to a farmers market is a good idea. You could probably even donate them to a thrift shop of give them out free at church if you asked. (If you didn't want to mess with the farmers market).
I had 'WAY too many WS seedlings too . . . seems to be a common problem with us enthusiastic WS-ers. (Aw, just ONE more little jug. . . ) Come Spring-time, I gave anyone who walked by a plant or ten, plus I found a couple of local libraries who were having plant-sales. They got a LOT of plants. I had begged lots of extra plastic pots from other folks--the cheap kind from nurseries--and these I used to pot up the excess.
Memo to self: do NOT plant the entire package of seeds EVER AGAIN!
I actually had too few seedlings - because 'i was very careful to plant only ONE seed per container, and save the rest. So I saved many more than I planted. THEN I had a huge NOID problem, but I also went crazy in, say, March, and planted a few flats full of things which would have been OK if I had quickly transplanted them... but something came up (vacation, sick, weather, I forgot) and they didn't get watered and because they were in little cells instead of lovely jugs they shriveled up. I think I ran out of potting soil, too.
Our local horticultural society always has a plant share in late May, but this year we had a record snowfall two days before it, and I didn't have a chance to pot up any of my winter sowing seedlings for it. I gave lots of plants away to friends and people I work with though, and that was rewarding in itself, because most of the people gave me regular updates on how the plants were doing. And now some of them are going to try their hand at winter sowing too. Pass it on, pass it on...
This weekend I am using the scatter method. It is too cold for the seed to germinate in Northern MN now. I am scattering all native seeds in the yard at our cabin. It isn't a way to have a neat and tidy garden, but is works well for a wild garden.
This is off topic, but we haven't had a frost yet here in Minneapolis.
funny thing though... i knew what everything was when it was still in the jug... but then, when i got them in the ground, i forgot to add a plant stake so i knew what was what. plus i need to keep the weeds under control a bit better... since i didnt know what was what, i wasn't pulling weeds, since i wasnt sure if it was a plant or a weed. kinda silly... but that's what happened to me. [this was all back on the State Property, not my actual yard... so there are a lot of weeds]
I've used Deco paint pens for years. They can be found in craft stores. They are both weather and sun proof. They come in lots of decorative colors, but I prefer the dark ones because they show up better on metal plant markers.
No frost yet! Hope it holds off for a couple more weeks. I still have lots of planting & maintenance to do in the garden.
we've dipped into the low 30's here in Lake Delton, but no frost yet.
at home, i think the closest we got was low-mid 40's.
both of those were the real cold snap 2 weeks ago, before we were back in the sweltering upper 80's.
as for the marker... i don't recall the name of it, though i did get it at Walmart, and i'm sure it's in one of my posts from last spring when we last talked about the paint pens.
Boy, I read this thread and that reminded me to put some markers in for the new little stuff I just transplanted!!! I'm starting a brand me area and some of the stuff I put in is REALLY small. I'll buy some potting soil and spread that over the existing stuff. What I have right now would probably "burn" an WS I did. WHEN is the BEST time to WS? AFTER the first frost? (sorry, there's that word) OR? I sure don't want seed coming up now. It's been in 60's, nights in 40's, that's the range lately. Is it a good time to WS? Can you tell I'm eager to try my hand at it for the first time? I intend to try a few DS.
No, but sowing seeds in fall and winter isn't new. People have used cold frames and the like to start seeds and plants, probably for a long time.
Equinox basically means "equal night", the days around March 20th and September 23rd when day and night are equal length, the first days of spring and fall. The summer solstice is when days start to get shorter and winter solstice is when they get longer, a good reason for a holiday in many religions.
I know people who start their seeds on the solstice exactly, every year. A big whoopdedoo, believe me.
I have a bunch of native shrubs' seeds I might start any time now, Aronia, Hollies, Viburnums, Clethra, etc.
"I have sorted all my seeds into months for starting - there are a few for December, a few more for January, LOTS for February, some for March, and a few for April. "
Seandor, this is a stupid question, but how do you know which seed to allocate to which months for winter-sowing? Last year, I just planted seeds mostly in lateFebruary and early March, without knowing when was the truly right time. . .
I hope this solstice thing works, I've got some European White Birch and Oriental Hornbeam seeds I'm going to use. I'm collecting plastic egg containers and supermarket cookie containers to try it with. By the time I start (the solstice). I may have 2 or 3 more types of seed...
I have heard some people say they hit the recycle centers to get milk jugs and other things along those lines that work well. Personally, I go through 4 or 5 gal. jugs of milk a week. No problem having enough here!! LOL
Yea, I've just been reading the previous thread on this, I do have a lot of birds around here, I had to enclose my bonsai table in netting because they kept looking for insects under the moss. They left empty handed but the moss ended up on the ground! Seedlings would be like caviar for them! ...I think I'm safer with the milk containers. I especially like the idea of covering them back up with the tops to protect them from frost.
Okay - I learned so much just popping in here! Paint pens are something I'm not familiar with but I used permanent marker this year to mark each seed type I planted and the rain washed off the print. I don't know what their definition of permanent is but different than mine. As far as winter sowing, I've never done it. I am going to have back surgery, will find out the date later in November and I am so afraid that I won't be able to do the usual gardening I do in the spring and early summer. I have so many seeds that I have been collecting from my garden because buying the seeds is not an option unless they are really inexpensive. Can I store seeds in an unheated room (it is insulated but very cold in the winter) and have them be okay until next year? DH made me a storage system for some of my seeds but it is plastic trays which hold the seeds. The storage system is made out of wood and is basically wooden compartments that are about 5 X 7. Do I need to ventilate the plastic trays and is it okay to store the seeds in the unheated room using this system? I'm kinda lost on this one. I've always stored in marked envelopes with silica gel packets and in the refrigerator in a plastic rectangular container with a lid on it. Too many seeds this year to do that since my neighbours want many of my seeds next year. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
If I don't get back to this site right away it is not because I am rude. I can't sit for long at the computer these days because of my pain issues. Will check as often as I can.
Thanks in advance!
Elaine: You can get paint pens at craft stores like Michael's. They look like magic markers but don't fade or wash off. The ones I made in early spring look the same today as the day they were made. I don't remember the cost but I think about $4 each. Money well spent, and they last a long time.
First suggestions for seeds
Give to neighbors now, don't do the storing yourself until next year.
I have no experience with the plastic trays that you describe. I use small zip lock plastic bags (about 1 1/2" by 2 1/2 "). They're $1 for about 100 of them at Walmart. Just make sure seeds are well dried before putting in any plastic. I let mine sit for at least several weeks in the house, open to air. I don't think a cold room would be a problem.
Good luck with your back surgery. Is there someone who will help with your garden chores in spring? What we do shouldn't really be all that taxing on your back. First there's watering starting in spring. Plant out does involve kneeling, but maybe you could get a kneeler to help. I had a lot of health issues last year, and bought this kneeler. I love it and use it all the time. With chronic pain/weakness in one leg, I can actually pretty much get up and down by doing most weight bearing with my arms. http://www.gardeners.com/Garden-Kneeler/default/35-662.prd
To plant out wintersown babies, no heavy digging required. I plant a lot of HOS using a tablespoon.
Karen- Thanks so much for your input. You are right about giving my seeds to the people that have asked for it now instead of saving them for other people. I am such a softie that I can't say no. I like your idea of the ziploc bags. I gave you the wrong dimensions - not 5x7 more like 3x5. My DH is going to having another bowel resection some time in the near future and his health is not great even though we are relatively young. I'm still a GOBette for goodness sakes and he just hit the magic 50 this year. I guess age does not dictate health.
I found your advice to be very helpful and reassuring. I find that spring is a great deal of work for me as I have to uncover all of my beds and plant my bulbs and geraniums I have stored in the basement. I start some of my seeds in a tiny greenhouse that I put together and keep in my tiny house. I may just have to let my perennial bed see how it does on its own this year. This is only the second summer that I have been here and have made new beds this year. God save me from myself! Thanks for the good wishes and I am going to have to think out how I'm going to manage and get a plan going once I have a definite date for surgery. I may not be able to lift anything for 6 months after and if I don't garden I think I would have to be committed. I've managed to do most of the hard work without any help and just gritted my teeth through the pain. I guess that might explain why I am having the surgery huh?
Once again thanks for your quick and helpful response. My DH used to sell all kinds of devices for disabled people and he has even custom-made some that have helped people with particular needs so he will be helpful in the thinking out solutions department.
Wow I was gone 3 days and it took a long time to read all the posts that popped up while I was gone.
I was just talking about no frost on another thread. I am still picking tomatoes and we spent the weekend at our cabin (zone 3) and there hasn't been a frost there either. This is Minnesota, I love the weather change to bad it isn't good over all.
I like to hibernate too! Going to put out jugs for my first time of winter sowing this year. Late Dec. early Jan. they will go out. Glad I can ignore them until it is warm out! I think that is what got my attention with this winter sowing. LOL
So I go to the zone 7 germination record, and check the month that people sowed their seeds. . . that's not difficult.
I'm starting to get excited about those jugs I've been saving all year in my basement. . . I look around at my autumn beds, and imagine them blooming with new babies next spring/summer/fall. My dilemma is that I want instant gratification with annuals, and WS plants generally take longer to get up to size (than seeds grown under lights, for instance). . . but when they do, WS plants are sooo healthy and transplant so well! And they're cheap!!
So I am a committed WS-er. Thanks for your help.
if for some reason you are having difficulty saving enough winter sowing containers try contacting an appartment building/sr. appartments. There are so many people in one place that if they all (or most of them) save for you for a week or two you will have all you need.
I'm new around DG--just found this thread. Today I checked out a video by Dave on how to make paper pots for winter sowing. Have any of y'all watched it? Seems like a good idea to me and it would be free and not as clumsy as handling all those milk jugs, etc. When you winter sow do you put the w/s pots outside? Dumb me, I was just going to plant the seeds in the paper pots and nurse them along in the house. guess I need to check out that hyperlink that Seandor sent along. :o)
--Oh, me, I have so much to learn!
I am just learning about the w/s myself. I can tell you marsue that they do go outside. It is a lot of reading but if you start with part 1 and read all through this thread to part 4 you will get a pretty good education. Where is the video on paper pots???
LOL, I do too! Learning is fun though. The paper pots would be good for "watched" sowing, like maybe inside. The winter sowing concept would require at least a 4" depth of soil. That's why recyleable containers are so useful and hold up to the weather conditions over the course of the winter season til spring. Prep'em, sow the seed, and leave outside in the shade somewhere safe until the weather warms. Then you'll vent the containers at some point when the seedlings emerge.
I'm not stalking you, Marsue, I promise! You and just seem to be making the rounds at the same time. ROFL!
Gee, I never thought you were stalking me, cordele/Deb! LOL I think you and I are going to become 'best buds'! (little play on words there)--we seem to be interested in the same threads. and thanks for telling sjweld where the videos are--I already forgot where I found them. LOL
There's so much to explore and learn about here. I love DG!
I tried a few paper pots once and they did not do well. The volume of soil is small and they dry out too much. I even had them in a larger tray, then enclosed in a container with a lid. In spring, the lid needs to be opened and the paper pots then dry out. They did not work well for me and I won't use them again. Some folks like them, I do not.
Gallon milk jugs are my favorite. I shoot for 3 to 4 inches of soil. I work and I'm not here to babysist the babies, and I don't WANT to have to worry so much about moisture after the weather warms in spring. A gallon jug holds lots of moisture. If I run out of gallon ones, I switch to half gallons.
Well, I started my seeds like everyone else - then after they are 2 sets of leaves, I put them into paper pots on the verandah until they were ready to plant outside. It was rather labour intensive. Not sure I will bother this year -
It worked great for many of the annuals. Oh - there is that moment in May, when the nurseries are filled with plants and all you have are these little bitty things and you wonder was it worth it? But in July - all those little pitty things (and I had hundreds!) were taking off - nobody in our neighbourhood had a garden so luxuriant!
Seandor, do you mean that next year you will leave the little seedlings in the jugs for a longer time and just skip the step of transplanting into little pots? Putting them right into the ground? That's pretty much what I did . . . had some rather overgrown jugs as Spring progressed and I got busier, but most things did quite well when I finally planted them out.
Until wintersowing the rule of thumb here was never plant out anything before Mother's Day, mid May.
Two years ago, my first attempt at WSing, I planted out some perennials and hardy annuals early, I think around mid April. Poppies and batchelor buttons loved it, as did a lot of other things. I held back on tenders, like zinnias, until around the second week of May. It worked great. I did the same this year and don't see that changing.
My stuff goes right from jugs to ground. Potting up 60 or 80 jugs is just way too much work. That would move gardening from the "fun hobby" to "another job" category for me. All my plants are in ground by late May.
>>That would move gardening from the "fun hobby" to "another job" category for me.
Too funny Karen... but so true.
last year was my first year WS'ing ... and IIRC after that last blast of COLD weather we had in April [remember we well all covering plants] we warmed up nicely and i started planting out a few items [including my tomatoes] the first week in May or so... but it was well before the last frost warning date, which i think for us is mid-May.
I did find that a few plants that i held out for, because i thought they were too small, did not grow anymore in the containers and i should have just planted them out too and not wait for them to grow more, which they didn't.. not until i got them in the ground.
i do think for a few of them, i wanted them bigger since the rabbits were eating all my seedlings... but they didn't grow any bigger in the containers.
I may have to check with some of the folk from Arkansas on the mid-south gardening forum and see if they wintersow. I'm not even sure it is necessary for us to do that. We don't have to worry about "mounds of snow", thank goodness, and although we did have a late freeze at Easter-time in 2007, that is a very rare occurrence around here. On Freecycle, I found a lady nearby who told me she has LOTS of milk jugs and orange juice containers and she has already washed them so they are nice and clean. I might have to take advantage of that offer and go ahead and try the winter sowing anyway. Stay tuned. . .
That looks like a lot of work! I think Dave's would be ok if you are using them in the house to give seeds a 6-8 week head start (not winter sowing). I am going to try Dave's way, maybe doubling the paper so it will be a little stronger/thicker. I'll try to remember to come back and report results.
I used Dave's method for some seeds I started inside and found that they were ok for inside planting. They would never have worked for winter sowing. You can't get 3-4" of soil in them, they dry out fast and would have crushed beneath the snow. Even if you don't have snow I don't see them standing up to wind, sun and rain.
I had some paper pots in zippered plastic bags that blankets came in, it worked out okay. They were under the overhang on the porch where snow wouldn't pile up much. We could get big snowstorms here or none at all.
Gallon jugs were the easiest though, for sure.
Now I use the bags for trays of cuttings and I don't have to water for them weeks.
Our garden center/nursery had a sale on 'gardener's gold', 4 for the price of three... I added turface and sand and peat moss to some to stretch it out.
Soil-less mix works better if you can find it... as a matter of fact, we should be buying that NOW, before the stores put all the gardening stuff away for the season.
I remember well the blank stares at lowe's, etc., looking for soil-less mix in December.
A new single-edge razor blade will open any plastic up without too much trouble.
Seandor: I went to that hyperlink you sent about making the heavier kind of paper pots. I must be some kind of dummy because, for the life of me, I can't get past step #8! I don't have a clue unless you have to slit the folds somewhere along the way.
Well, I'll keep trying! I need to get my son over here (he's 35 now). When he was little, before he could even read, he could look at the directions on how to put something together (model cars, etc.) and, boom!, he would have it done in no time. He has just always been gifted that way--sure didn't get it from me! LOL
I used paper pots one year for poppies and petunias. Made square ones, placed them close to each other, and set them in deli containers with a small layer of soil under them. Pain in the arse. They worked well enough, but by the time the sprouts were ready for planting out, the pots were kinda moldy and yuck. I just ripped down one side of each pot and planted the entire thing.
I never used milk jugs for WSing before, but this year I tried half-gallon jugs for some summer sowing. That size works for my needs and I like them, so my cat and I have been drinking a lot of milk lately.
All this talk about milk jugs (and other 3-4 liter containers). . . just a reminder that many of them AREN'T translucent. But it doesn't matter! All I can find where I live and shop are the white, opaque ones. . . but they still work fine if you cut out "windows" in the sides for the light to go through. I also used 1 liter water and/or soda bottles, which were translucent, but much narrower and therefore harder to get the seedlings out.
One thing that works very well is using large zip-lock bags to cover the milk jug bottoms. The zip-locks are firm enough to act like green house tents. Just cut ventilation holes in the corners :-)
this is much easier than duct-taping the top of milk jugs to the bottoms. The zip-locks also work on green plastic pots - no need to worry about finding transparent pots. This is what I will be doing this year.
My milk jugs look like this. They're white but plenty of light gets through without cutting. Trudi's "rule of thumb" : "if you can see your thumb through it, you can use it". It doesn't have to be clear like glass.
I know some pople have posted pics of jugs that are completely opaque. Glad we don't see those here, I'd be up a creek. I love my jugs!!!
I really hated paper pots. Like PV said, they got moldy and nasty. They also dried out every time I turned my back. I know some swear by them, but never again for me. Jugs it is.
tcs1366, me too, except I used long Christmas ornament hanger wire. I just happened to be taking down the tree about the time I started winter sowing. I just didn't have enough twist-ties. I knew I couldn't resist the temptation of peeking into the containers so the tape was out of the question for me. The wire ties allowed me to open the containers as much or as little as needed when it became time to vent.
yes, you want them closed up for the colder months, then when it starts getting warmer - you open them a bit... and when the sun is HOT, say in April or so -- you want to take the lids off or the seedlings will fry.
that's one thing nice about the twisty method, when you need to close up again for cooler nights, just flip the lid back around and one twist will do it.
I normally made 3 sets of holes with the hole punch, then by spring, i was only using 1 of them -- more ventilation that way.
I used tape (various kinds) to tape my soda bottles closed, and never cut off the tops - I used clothespins to hold the top back when it was time for full open-ness... does that make any sense? I was saving them all to reuse but now I see the advantages of bigger containers with straight sides!
I'm with Seandor--forgot to mention that I just slip a gallon zip-lock baggie over the top of my opaque jug, which has been previously cut with large "windows"above the 4-inch soil line--and that's it! As Seandor mentions, do cut the corners off the baggies to let rain and air through.
Much easier than the taping of the top thing.
--Emily (who has large toppling-over piles of plastic jugs and bottles in her basement--just waiting for WS-ing.)
Up here in the cold north I have a hinge on the containers by leaving one side uncut and then when it is time to open them I use a clothes pin to hold them open. I like the baggy cover, but when a cold snap is coming I can put the tops back on the ones with the hinge with ease it is frustrating to have to tape the bag back on.
What we seem to be learning here is try a few ways and then next year do what worked best for you. There doesn't seem to be one right way.
that is the way i cut my milk jugs too... leave one side uncut, so it's hinged. Never did use the clothes pins... i honestly didnt have any. On nice days, i'd just flip it back - then close it back up at night.
my youngest daughter keeps bringing me her yogurt containers and bottles from drinks for my baby plants...for her i'll use them for the daylily seeds i start inside...i like the gallon jugs & half gallon jugs with handles & i leave one side uncut
i'm already thrilled with the idea of baby plants...have to figure out when the love lies bleeding has seeds...really loved it
the daturas were fun as well as bachelor buttons and snap dragons...had great luck with columbine which should bloom next year
definitely want morning glories and some of everything else too!
Those markers last very well. My yogurt cups are pliable, have a kind of waxy feel. They didn't change at all from early spring through fall. The material doesn't change at all. They could last for years. (Which shows why our landfills are overflowing> the plastics can last forever.)
I get mini blinds out of trash cans in the spring lol I just use pencils to write on and they work really well haven't faded a bit all summer! Looks like the paint pens are going to work out pretty good too I used thos to mark my daylilies with last year and they still look good :)
4 & 6...young son is 2...i'm lucky right now because both are in school...one in kindergarten & the other in state sponsored preschool (older daughter is special needs which is considered a risk factor for siblings) & i get to play with zachary all day :-)
I'm 52 and I still remember how hard it was at 16 to get permission from my mother to get my ears pierced... and then Dad caught wind of it and I had to start all over again! It was one of the VERY few fights about something my Dad and I ever had!! Awww... funny the things you remember about growing up!!
My DD talked and talked about getting her ears pierced for years, she couldn't have it done until she was 10. On her tenth birthday we went to have it done. I had to go first. That was my second set of holes in my ears. I didn't cry or anything so so thought that looked fine. After the first ear was done she was so upset she didn't want the other one pierce. Finally it was ok if I held her head against my chest while she had the other ear pierced. At 21 she has multiple piercings on her ears and her belly button done as well. She tried having her tongue pierced but she drooled and sounded so funny she took it out. Although I think the final straw was when she had a piece of spaghetti stuck in the hole, with the stud in it.
She is a very grown up 21 year old thank god. She was a handful all the way through high school. One of those kids that learned the hard way.
I remember having a fight with my Dad when I was 16 - I left, got an apartment and worked my way through high school. One of the smarter things I did. :-)
My eldest also was one to learn the hard way - now has some rather badly done tatoos she would like to remove. Silly girl - if she had asked me, I would have told her to invest in some quality temporary tatoos. Not junk.
Well, I have visions of beautiful young women tattooed with flowers - which transform into cabbages when they are pregnant, and then the tattoos transform into something we would throw into the compost pile after the pregnancy.
i've been told the chest area isn't bad...i realize that is highly subjective!
i've seen pictures with tattoos covering mastectomy scars...have to see if i can remember where
mine are lower back, ankle & across my shoulders
Hi, I'm VERY new to wintersowing, but I've already learned one lesson. Not sure if anyone has mentioned it yet. Make sure you clean out your milk jugs WELL before you set it aside. I only rinsed it and tossed into my saved containers pile, and yesterday went to cut it up per instructions, and it reeked!!! I spent a good bit of time scrubbing and washing them down. Just thought I'd contribute a little something, since this forum has helped me so much.
As part of that lesson. I learned that having other people save milk jugs for you can have you end up with a bunch of smelly jugs. One neighbor saved several for us and when we got them all they had done was put the cover on the empty jug and put it aside for me until they had 8 of them. We thanked them and bleached them. Needless to say we won't have them save any more for us. What a smell.
Hi! One lesson I have learned for this year is that I am vowing to get the task of washing and trimming my milk jugs done well BEFORE those times when the urge to plant seeds in jugs is irresistible. Maybe on some looong evening in early to mid-November when the nights are drawing in. Then later after the Solstice I can just plant away happily, labeling carefully, without having to rush through the trimming first because I am so eager to get to the planting-- which is very risky because I haven't found a really safe way of cutting through that tough white plastic on Hood milk jugs (the only kind I can find) and I tend to saw away impatiently with a kitchen knife. . DH can't watch me, he says, and this also dulls my kinves pretty quickly, too. Did someone mention a new single-edge razor as being the best tool? Would kraft knives from the hobby stores be good--at least they have a handle? Scissors are probably the safest, but they can't really handle the plastic.
We used to have tons of box cutters around - my husband would bring them home from work. Different (better) job now, so no more box cutters. But maybe that's why all the scissors in this house are so dull - cutting too many wintersowing containers!
I start the cut with a box cutter and cut around the jug with big scissors. I also make slits and/or X shaped cuts around the shoulder of the jug with the box cutter. Then when it's time to enlarge the holes for more ventilation in spring, it's easy to do. I'm pretty slow at prepping and sowing each jug, labeling each usually 3 times and starting ventilation holes in top for later. It makes life a lot easier for me later, though.
Agreed, I'm pretty dangerous with the box cutter too. My husband can't watch me, either.