I'm going to try winter sowing for the first time this year and was wondering if we do it any different in the warmer zones? Do you plant around the winter solstice? It seems like a lot of the posts are from people in colder climates so please let me know if you do anything different.
Mine couldn't get full sun at all sitting under this particular tree; then, they only got some filtered sun for a few hours a day. Because I have now made a Hosta shade garden around this big ol' tree, I'm wintersowing under a small oak tree this winter. In this new spot, the containers will get about 4 hours of partial sun. Depending on the rain (or lack of) I'll probably need to water the containers more often when it gets closer to spring time, especially when I start to vent the containers open.
I'm in zone 8. I normally start my winter sowing in Jan. and I'm often still putting things out through Feb. But that's mostly because I'm too busy with other things in Dec. Mine are in an area that gets mostly full sun.
I am in Zone 9 and start winter sowing mid-January, which is when we usually get our coldest weather. I start with hardy perennials and shrubs, which often require a chilling period to germinate, so that I can get them out in time to take advantage of our short winter. In mid to late February, I start sowing annuals, tender perennials, tomatoes and peppers, and continue on into April.
Thanks for this tread. I am 7b cusp of 8a. I had no idea when or what to attempt to winter sow. I am glad to know that I can start annuals outside later on in the season. I thought I was going to be doing this all inside and DH would kill me. lol.
Oh yes, you can absolutely do them outdoors later in the season! The secret, if the weather has warmed up, is to keep them in a shady spot and watch that they don't dry out. To get you going, here are the successful annuals/perennials treated as annuals that I started February through April:
Just be aware that you will get flowers/fruit later in the season than you would from nursery plants or plants started indoors; but hey, it's great to have flowers in the late summer and early fall when everyone else's gardens are pooping out!
Now I'm confused. I thought the goal of winter sowing now was to get flowers EARLIER in the Springtime. I'm in Zone 9a, Houston, and our average high temps now are in the mid-60s with nighttime lows in the mid 40s to low 50s. I'm thinking if I sow seeds now, I could plant out in mid-March (our last frost date will be March 22nd).
Please advise. Thanks.
Also, I'd like to sow firecracker Marigolds, coneflowers, and some Sunflowers. Please advise.
Gymgirl, you won't get earlier flowers with winter sowing, but you will get hardier and healthier plants. They'll start out small, but they'll catch up real fast and bloom for a longer time. Also, it's a lot cheaper than buying as many plants as you'll get from winter sowing. :)
Gymgirl: I've never lived in zone 8, so I'm speaking in general terms here. Another factoid about wintersowing comes into play. In my zone 6 I find I can WS hardy perennials in winter with no problem. Many perennials need that cold stratification. If we get a warm spell and seeds germinate in winter, subsequent frost/freeze generally won't hurt them in their milk jug environment.
Tender things like zinnias are another story. Remember, temps inside the jugs are higher than the outside temps so the seeds can be fooled into germinating too early in a warm weather spell, then perish in the inevitable return to freezing temps. For that reason I don't sow the tenders like zinnias until March or April when it's going to stay more reliably warm. They'll germinate pretty fast then and probably be relatively safe from freezing. If a late frost does come along you can just throw a blanket over them overnight.
Your actual timing will be a little different from mine in zone 6 but you might want to hold off on the tenders until your temps are reliably warmer and hard freeze unlikely. Works like a charm for me. This will be my 3rd year WSing.