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Article: Six More Weeks of Winter!? Celebrate by Winter Sowing Your Seeds!: Winter Sowing

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Forum: Article: Six More Weeks of Winter!? Celebrate by Winter Sowing Your Seeds!Replies: 34, Views: 285
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hellnzn11
Rosamond, CA
(Zone 8b)

February 4, 2008
3:29 AM

Post #4492674

Jill that encourages me to try again, I have not had good luck in the past with seedlings and have always started them in doors where if they survive the damping off plight, they die as soon as they get the cold shock or heat outside.

I will try again with renewed hope. Thanks Jilly
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 4, 2008
4:00 AM

Post #4492843

Yes! The fact that the winter sowing technique pretty well eliminates the need for the "hardening off dance" of moving plants in and out and all about is a great advantage! When the weather warms up, you take the covers off the containers (some do this gradually by cutting larger and larger holes in the tops)... if you get a sudden cold night, you might put the lids back on, especially during the first few days, so I suppose there is a little "hardening off"... But getting winter sown seedlings accustomed to conditions outside their covered containers is much less of a leap than bringing pampered indoor seedlings out into the wind and chill of springtime!
hellnzn11
Rosamond, CA
(Zone 8b)

February 4, 2008
6:09 PM

Post #4494733

Happy me
MistyPetals
North Augusta, SC

February 8, 2008
3:03 AM

Post #4510012

For a new gardener, suffering in zone 7, this is truly an appreciated article. I'm going outside to play in the AM, Thanks a'million, Jill.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 8, 2008
3:50 AM

Post #4510173

Have fun! :-)
MistyPetals
North Augusta, SC

February 9, 2008
12:56 AM

Post #4513593

I did. I did. I found pansies at the local BIG BOX store for 10 cents per six pack. Can you believe it? Oh, that was fun!
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 9, 2008
1:09 AM

Post #4513630

Go! Go!!

:-)
MistyPetals
North Augusta, SC

February 11, 2008
11:10 PM

Post #4525436

Oh, Critterologist, you're only encouraging me. And wow, what a great time I'm having. Today, I visited another BIG BOX store. There were Early Golden Acre cabbage and Grand Rapids lettuce seeds for a dime, and let me see, what else...oh, yeah, the Mammoth red cabbage seeds and the Morning Glory and seeds at .30 were a treat. I'll tell you, this is amusing to my Thrifty Shopper muse.
OK, the seed catalog came today. Time to get serious. lol
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 11, 2008
11:17 PM

Post #4525475

I think lettuce and cabbage are traditionally sown in cold frames, so they'd probably do really well in WS containers...

:-)
Anitabryk2
Long Island, NY
(Zone 6b)

February 14, 2008
12:46 PM

Post #4536484

Well done Jill. It was informative and a good read! Thanks for taking the time!
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

February 14, 2008
9:10 PM

Post #4538521

Nice job on the article, Critter.

Karen
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 14, 2008
9:22 PM

Post #4538567

I've learned a lot from both of you on the WS forum, so I'm glad you liked it! :-)
hellnzn11
Rosamond, CA
(Zone 8b)

February 17, 2008
5:15 AM

Post #4549173

I already see my first head popping up Jill. I planted some in ground but I have a lot of water and soda bottles. If they start looking green, I will plant more so I have different bloom times.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

February 24, 2009
9:09 PM

Post #6184731

Hi- checking in before I get going with all my new seeds. I remember getting a chuckle from your sentence about the "appearance of organization" reducing the hill billy look. LOL I am there!
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 24, 2009
9:22 PM

Post #6184790

LOL! Good luck to you and your seeds.. and thanks for the extra jugs!
hellnzn11
Rosamond, CA
(Zone 8b)

March 5, 2009
3:41 AM

Post #6223295

some of mine have started to pop up already and some I have in cardboard boxes covered with plastic and they are germinating already which I should have rethought since they are not too deep in the soil there, so this presents a possible problem. I just did it in desperation at the end of my soil. I should have waited for more. Luckily they are wild flowers in the box and pretty hardy. I may just sit the box in the spot where I want to put them and let the box deteriorate and the roots to just go right through. I can later cut the box sides away. Not sure.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

March 5, 2009
6:46 AM

Post #6223735

Sounds like you're on a roll! You might check in the WS forum and see if anybody has tried the "wait until the cardboard box disintegrates" method of planting out... sounds ok to me, as long as the box isn't sturdier than you think. Keep an eye on them; you'll know if they need your help to escape from the box!
hellnzn11
Rosamond, CA
(Zone 8b)

March 7, 2009
1:30 AM

Post #6231353

LOL Jill.
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

November 27, 2009
5:59 AM

Post #7312888

I'm confused about winter sowing vs starting seeds indoors and sometimes I have a problem understanding what I am reading. What I am understanding is that one can plant seeds in clear plastic jugs or some type of deli disposable container that has a clear top on it. I need to cut these jugs most of the way around, to the handle, leaving a hinge, then I punch holes for a twist tie to hold the top and bottom together. I need to punch drainage holes in the bottom of the milk jug. Also vent holes in the top are also needed to let in rainwater and to release built up heat containers. I mix up 3-4 inches of potting mix in the jugs to plant my seeds. Do I cover the seeds or just spread on top of potting soil mix? Do I keep the tops on the milk jugs or caps on soda bottles? Is the 8 oz. bottled water containers too small? We buy sodas in cans but bottled water in the smaller sizes, as it's easier for us to keep the smaller bottles of water on our nightstand to drink from during the night. I need to be able to keep these out of sight..my husband will surely make a remark about me being a hill-billy or NC hick, which boils me over and I become very defensive. I'm thinking I could place these jubs in one of those plastic milk crates you sometimes find at office supplies or Walmart or Target. I am thinking of a place on the breezeway that would be beside of the patio furniture and next to neighbors evergreen that is between our properties. That way it will be out of sight of us and neighbors on each side. We live in a Sr. Citizens community and there are certain restrictions we must follow. Am I understanding that all seeds should be started around Groundhog's Day or just specific ones? Most milk jugs are not clear but kind of frosty, is this allow enough light for the seeds to grow? Do I need those polymer moisture crystals along with the potting soil mix? I'm reading your suggestion about marking on the containers. What is a paint pen? Will a black permanent marker do okay on the outside of the jug? I would think one should also place markers inside the jug also; does that make sense? You live about 30 miles from me, so I wouldn't be putting the plants into the flower beds until about the first week of May(last danger sign of frost). It seems as if we plant on Groundhog's Day, it will be way too early. I know you know what you are doing; I have to be a hands-on person sometimes to understand certain concepts. Once I do it one season, I'll understand the process better. When do you start the hardening off process? Will you post that here for me and other newbies in this area? Maybe in Feb. I could come up and see your set up and I'll understand better. By winter sowing, that means I don't need to go out and buy a stand and grow lights or shop lights to start seeds indoors, right? I see in your photo that is in the article that you have the tops off the soda and milk jugs. If it rains, the seeds won't get drowned, will they if the tops are left off? With the drainage holes in the bottom, any rainwater will drain off, right? How many drainage holes do you usually poke into a milk jug? These may sound like stupid questions to you that are experienced with winter sowing, but for newbies they are valid questions. Thanks for all your help and kindness.
kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

November 27, 2009
11:43 AM

Post #7313264

Hi, Pippi, and welcome to wintersowing. Wow, you are a wealth of questions, a good sign. A few answers for you:
-yes, we plant seeds in clear recyclable containers. Many of us prefer milk jugs or 2 liter pop bottles.
-no screw on caps are used, they function to allow rain and snow in to water the seeds/seedlings and also provide to air exchange for transpiration
-yes, drainage holes are necessary, just like any normal flower pot. 3" of potting mix minimum is recommended
-if you cover seeds with mix, do it lightly
-some folks do use smaller water bottles, seems to me they'd be small and hard to work with. But be resourceful- even styrofoam cups contained in a large plastic box work.
-Trudi's rule, if you can see your thumb through it, it's clear enough
-I don't use potting mix with water polymer. It stays too wet too long
- most "permanent" markers fade in the sun, paint pens don't. They're about $3 at craft stores or Walmart
-sow hardy annuals like poppies and also hardy perennials in winter, I start in January. Wait until closer to spring (March or April, even May) for tender plants like zinnias or marigolds. This is to avoid early sprouts in an unusual warm spell and frozen seedlings when normal cold weather returns
-you need plenty of drainage holes to allow water to escape, I use 5 or 6 in a gallon jug.

Please join us on the wintersowing forum. There is a "sticky" thread at the top with lots of information.

Wintersowing as we do it was popularized by Trudi Davidoff when she posted her method on the 'net about 10 years ago. See her site, too, for information. Don't miss the FAQs.
http://wintersown.org/wseo1/How_to_Winter_Sow.html

Karen, wintersowing since 2006

Jugs in winter

Thumbnail by kqcrna
Click the image for an enlarged view.

kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

November 27, 2009
11:45 AM

Post #7313268

Springtime sprouts

Karen

Thumbnail by kqcrna
Click the image for an enlarged view.

kqcrna
Cincinnati, OH
(Zone 6a)

November 27, 2009
11:51 AM

Post #7313276

Wintersown flowers

Karen

Thumbnail by kqcrna
Click the image for an enlarged view.

critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

November 27, 2009
3:47 PM

Post #7313635

Thanks, Karen! I think you answered a lot of Pippi's questions. :-)

Pippi, I'd like to encourage you to become a subscribing member... that will give you full access to a lot of great forums, including the winter sowing forum and the mid-atlantic gardening forum. Our local forum is pretty active, and we have various get-togethers throughout the year.

Winter sowing is pretty much planting the way Mother Nature would, but providing a little extra warmth and protection for the seeds/seedlings by using the little greenhouse-like plastic containers. Starting seeds indoors is a whole different thing -- look for my "Seed Starting 101" articles for some good introductory info. :-)

If that breezeway you mentioned is covered so that it's protected from rain, then you'll have to water your containers. Your little water bottles will work for just a few seeds, but if they are the kind that have ridges rather than smooth, untapered sides, then you'll have quite a job getting the root ball of the plant out of the bottom of the bottle.

Good luck, and I hope to see you around the MAG forum!

Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

November 27, 2009
4:07 PM

Post #7313672

I think I am missing a step in the Wintersowing process. When the plants have started showing green leaves in their container, don't I have to remove some of the seedlings and move them to some type of other container so that they can continue to grow until it's warm enough to put into the flower garden? surely there's a hardening off process that has to take place here, maybe in April in our area.
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

November 27, 2009
4:45 PM

Post #7313771

I just bit the bullet and subscribed to DG a few minutes ago. Thanks for all of your kindness and helpful information. Might need some guidance on how certain features work, so just bare with me. I hope everybody had a wonderful Thanksgiving and if you are out shopping..Good Luck!
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

November 27, 2009
7:41 PM

Post #7314183

Welcome, Pippi! I'll keep an eye out for your posts.

Take Dave's "tour" to get oriented (on the bottom of this page, one of the blue link options is "Tour").

Check out the list of discussion forums... Click on the "Communities" tab (like a file folder tab) at the top of the page, then click on "Discussion forums." There are a lot of options... I think you'll be glad you subscribed!

(I don't know how new you are to computer stuff, but every time you see a blue or green bit of text, that's usually a link, which means that if you move your mouse pointer over to it and click, you'll go to that web page... if you click with the right-hand mouse button, that should give you the option to "open link in new tab," which makes it easier to get back to where you were or to go back and forth between the linked page and where you started.)

Let me know if I can help. :-)

And as for hardening off winter sown seedlings, that pretty much happens naturally... it's one of the benefits of growing plants this way rather than just starting inside. I do sometimes open the lids just during the day and close them again in the evening if it's going to get cold that night... Sometimes my containers just end up being ignored & mostly closed up until it gets warmer... as long as they're not in direct sun, the plants won't fry on a warm day with the lid on. :-)
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

November 27, 2009
7:55 PM

Post #7314230

How do I join that Mid-Atlantic group that you were talking about in one of your DG-mails? How is everybody notified? I came across one but way up in NJ..I'd be interested in one in our area(Md/DC) Not willing to drive no more than 1 1/2 -2 hrs. from here. Exactly what goes on at these events?
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

November 27, 2009
8:32 PM

Post #7314336

Pippi, go to the page with all the discussion forums... "MidAtlantic Gardening" is there, under "US Regional Gardening Forums." Once you're in the forum, click at the top of the page to "Add this forum to my favorites," and it will pop up on your home page.

Here's a shortcut link in case you have trouble, but please do check out that forum list!
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/region_mida/all/

I wrote a couple of articles about plant & seed swap parties... http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1479/
hellnzn11
Rosamond, CA
(Zone 8b)

November 29, 2009
4:00 AM

Post #7317876

Pippi you remind me of me a couple of years ago and some of the same people helped me.

Where I live, I can start doing it in January or Feb. and I do use the water bottles but some of the plants get too tall too early and pop out the top. I do use the caps but poke holes in them to keep the cold out and make it a terrerium type atomosphere that self waters to a degree until it gets too warm or the plants are too tall.

I like the cardboard ice cream containers for later winter sowing, since I can plant the container where I want the plants and not have to move them, the container just eventually wrots out into the soil and my plants root right in the spot. I keep the lid on while cold and poke a lot of holes or tear open the lid to allow light. I have pulled the center or the top out and put clear plastic under the lid to hold the plastic on and it works well for me, with the plants that don't like you to move them or touch them. (tender ones).

Get in on the seed trades too, so you can get seeds and if they die, you have a lot more free. Less stress and produces a lot of fruits of your labor.

Some of us even use cardboard boxes in the later season, then you plant the seeds again right where you want them to grow and the box goes back into the soil and the roots don't need to be disturbed.
Daisy142
Rome, GA

February 20, 2012
6:49 PM

Post #9014079

Hi! I have "winter-sown" some seeds, but I am wondering if I can sow tomato and pepper seeds by this method? I am hesitant about sowing those, so I will await your opinion. Thanks.
dandywbrandy
Ninety Six, SC

February 21, 2012
11:22 AM

Post #9014762

Just started winter-sowing last year. Thanks for the tabbing idea to keep the litre bottle closed. I've had nothing but success and have already sprouted snapdragons, gaillardia, and clary sage this year. In a few weeks I'll start zinnias and marigolds. Last year I had good success with verbascum and cardoons. Everyone that has been frustrated with damping off should do this. It has made me a seed sower once again.
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 21, 2012
1:55 PM

Post #9014953

Glad you're both diving right into it! It's just amazing to me how well it works... I always say even if only half my containers turn into plants, I'll still have more than I know what to do with!

I know a couple of people who WS tomatoes with great success. Peppers seem to do best for me with an earlier, warmer indoor start... but nothing ventured, nothing gained, and you may be just warm(er) enough in GA to be able to grow peppers this way with great success. If you try it, look for peppers that will be ready to pick earlier in the season -- I'd try California Wonder (green pepper) this way, but probably not something like Chocolate Habanero that doesn't mature until just before frost for me.
hellnzn11
Rosamond, CA
(Zone 8b)

November 9, 2012
1:50 PM

Post #9329077

Anyone planning WS for this year?
critterologist
Frederick, MD
(Zone 6b)

November 9, 2012
5:01 PM

Post #9329233

I collected a mix of columbine seeds, but I might direct-sow them instead of using milk jugs... I do have a few remaining seeds of several different columbines, though, that I'll be winter sowing. I added a bunch of irises this year, and when I plant them out (they're in pots) I want to put columbines in the same area. :-)

How about you?

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

November 10, 2012
2:21 PM

Post #9329807

Haven't thought this far ahead but want to report. Last winter ie this spring, I got a couple wintersown columbines in my 4- packs. I moved the 4- packs to a small plastic trough with extra potting soil, in the shade, this spring. Over summer I grew some amazing columbines plants! I'm impressed with how much they grew. I planted them in the garden a couple weeks ago. I do sow columbines right in place generally speaking though.
With limited columbine seed and special ones, I'd go winter sow. With my own gathered seed which is usually plentiful, I direct sow.

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Other Article: Six More Weeks of Winter!? Celebrate by Winter Sowing Your Seeds! Threads you might be interested in:

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Great Article! doccat5 16 Feb 27, 2008 4:25 AM
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