Dud Containers - what didnt germinate for you

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Here are all the ones where i have zero germination: [in no particular order]

New York Asters - i think "Purple" [the ones i got from Gram]
Waves Petunias [duds for me last year too -- wont do these again]
Delphinium x elatum
Bee Balm [though i've had a few others that did]
Malva Aclea var. fastigiata
Cypress Vine
Hardy Hibiscus
Columbine Woodside
Columbine McKanna's Giant
Chives [from weezen]
Malva Sylvestria
Salvia, Coral Nymph
Sweet Basil [2 small containers]
Mystery Bee Balm
Variegated Fountain Grass
Cup Plant
Anmeria Maritima
Veronica Red Fox
White Veronica Speedwell
Globe Amaranth Strawberry Fields

containers where only one seed germinated:
Cosmos - Sonada Mix
Gaillardia - Burgandy
Basil
Joe Pye Weed
Yarrow - paprika
Texas Star Hibiscus
Liatris Blazing Star
Snake Root

I honestly feel like i did something wrong this year. too much water, not enough, started too late, wrong soil.

And as i mentioned in a different thread... I feel the [my] germination rate is very low.

Chocolate Daisys 20 seeds, 2 seedlings
susset hyssop 16 seeds, 3 seedlings
Scabiosa, White pincushion 20 seeds, 9 seedlings
Indain Summer BES, 33 seeds, 2 seedlings

OH -- this is out of 75 containers.

OH well -- guess we can have an OFF year.

Terese

York, PA

I was feeling disappointed in my germination rates until this week. Now that we had a week of warmer weather things are sprouting like crazy, about 8 containers a day on average. I'm really glad I hadn't given up and dumped the containers. Since you are a zone colder than I am I imagine your sprouts would be a week or two behind mine. Don't fret yet, you may still be in for a pleasant surprise.

Joanne

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

OH -- i also need to add the 8th Wonder Corn Poppies. *sniff*

well, i'm not planning on dumping the "dud" containers, as i am holding out a lil hope.

the ones that have a very few -- I'll plant those out but dump all the soil with it... hopefully others will "pop" down the road.

Earliest anything will be going out is Monday or Tuesday ... we are waiting for a guy to come and do some dirt work first.

BUT -- your 8 containers a day sounds hopeful to me. I'll be hanging in there.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I am fairly sure that my problem is that I listened to DH when he said "let ME handle the drilling, you sweet little thing..." The holes were too small and in the wrong parts of the jugs, e.g. not the lowest part (so they could drain) and not enough space on top. A lot of my containers ended up looked moldy and dank. Also a lot of my seed was not fresh - I suspected it might not not sprout.

Last year was year #1 - I was flabbergasted that anything grew from seeds, and I thought a Sharpie would be good enough. This year I know what I have, and what hasn't germinated yet, I've given up on, because I need more seed starting mix!

Carrie

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

OH Carrie --- yanno what... i used different "tool" this year for holes. I wonder if that was it!!


Ugggggggg.... OK, lesson learned.... Bigger drain holes

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

My luck hasn't been as good this year as the past 2 years, either, I don't think. Low germination. Some jugs didn't sprout, some with only a few seedlings. I really think a big part of the problem for me this year is the weather- cold, wet, constant rain, not much warmth and sunshine.

It's not that big a deal really. My beds are already full, and some things have done extremely well this year. I've planted out a lot already. Yesterday I planted out about 6 gallon jugs of things and some cups. Again today, it's cold, windy, with driving rain and heavy thunderstorms. I hope this heavy pounding rain doesn't drive my seedlings into the soil. And I guess I won't get to plant today.

My containers (milk jugs) are sopping wet all the time, though they have lots of big drainage holes and tops open. With heavy rain every day or two, they just never get a chance to dry out. I'm really shocked that I haven't had fungus gnats. I check for them every day.

Karen

Floyd, VA(Zone 6b)

The location of my containers I call "the little artic." It is its own sweet microclimate. Therefore, my containers have been slow to sprout. But almost every day I am amazed now. I am not willing to write off one single container yet. I may even wait until June before I do that. Inside after months and months, columbine Ruby Port is germinating. Given their own good time, many of the duds will probably germinated, and many of the single seedlings will have other seedlings in the container to keep them company.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

I don't have that kind of patience. Eventually I get tired of falling over jugs and just dump into my beds. Sometimes a surprise pops up.

And generally, summers generally are hot and dry here. By then many things don't take to transplant well, and I don't want to bother with that. I'm in gardnen maintenace mode by then. By the time I finish planting out, I generally dump unsprouted ones. Usually, that's not many.

Karen

Floyd, VA(Zone 6b)

I use 16 oz cups, and they don't take up that much space.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Wait, Gloria, you do ALL your winter sowing in 16 oz cups? What do you use for lids? Or has this been discussed elsewhere?

Floyd, VA(Zone 6b)

For lids I use those cheapest fold down sandwich bags with a couple of holes poked in them. I just pull them down slightly and leave a space of plastic over the cups like a little tent. Once it becomes a little warm, I remove the bags and the seeds are on their own. I do check twice a day to see if water is needed. Oh yes, I try to use cut down cardboard boxes to hold them together and keep them from being blown around. Cardboard seems to last forever, and sometimes I even have to punch holes in the boxes to get them to drain.

Also, since I have 3 cats, I use the kitty litter containers but cutting the bottoms off, putting holes in the with a knife, and planting them with seeds. Then I stretch plastic over and put a few holes in them. Since the containers are so much bigger, I frequently use a paint pen to draw a perpendicular line dividing the space and plant one kind of seed on each side. In addition, I save some litter containers to use when I transplant very small seeds to a larger container.

I think this is only my third year WSing. So I experiment a lot. I do have a lot of non-germinated cups too. But what have I lost? five minutes putting soil in and making a label, then sowing the seeds. Already, as many of you do, I think I could plant a botanical garden with all the seedlings.

This gives me the opportunity to give people near me plants which they would never have had. Again, what do I lose?

Winter Sowing puts people in the position of being able to be extravagantly generous with all kinds of plants and not even miss them. It's a win/win situation.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Wow, all cups? Sounds like a lot of work. Gloria, you don't fasten the bags to the cups any way, like tape? Here those bags would be crushing the seedlings under the weight of heavy rain or snow, or they'd blow away.

I have an underbed storage box that I fill with cups. Ususally I do that for seeds of which I only want a few plants. I'm really not that fond of it. They dry out too fast in hot or dry weather and no way do I want to have to water twice a day. I also find it time consuming to fill and label each cup. Give me gallon milk jugs any day. The bulk of my sowing is done in those. In fact, I'm debating whether I'll ever do any cups in future years. My things just do better in jugs. The attached photo shows the box of cups in 2006.

This year my real obstacle has been weird weather- cold, dreary, heavy rain, and no sunshine. Last year was heat and drought. Each year is a differnt weather challenge.

Karen

Thumbnail by kqcrna
Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Karen, that's what I was trying to find the words for but I didn't have time! TY. I usually only want one or two of a plant, so cups is ok, but I guess I'd have to save take-out lids, or something. When I've tried to tape a plastic cover with holes, it's never worked - too little water or too much. I wonder how Jan did with her bags?

Floyd, VA(Zone 6b)

I found the plastic fold down sandwich bag fit well enough; it was not tight, but I never noticed any drying out. I had to have many containers in a small space. I took the bags off some time in April. Because it is so cold there there were scarcely any sprouts. After the sprouts began and the temps went down sometime I threw a painter's drop cloth over them or Remay. Yes, it was very tedious doing the cups one by one.
I spent hours and hours doing it ten to 15 at a time. But I am very happy with the results.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Hip hip hooray, then, and I'll bet it kept you from going crazy all winter.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

tcs-- your list of seeds planted looks like a pretty challenging group. We don't have a lot of similar 'crops'.

I've done OK this year. Some containers were overflowing with seedlings--verbena bonarienses, digitalis, campanulas. Others were a dud (liatris) , but I wasn't expecting a lot from them--old seeds, or collected seeds, and that sort of thng. My rudbeckias were very 'iffy', too.

In general I'd say it was pretty good. But I wish it would stop raining so my containers could dry out a little.

Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)

Last year, my 1st year winter sowing, I used the baggies on top of paper cups, and fastened them w/ rubber bands. I "only" had 24 cups, so it is economical for a few seeds and I had good results. You save time by scooping the seed mix right out of the bag w/ the cups, rather than having to fill larger containers.

This year I used seed flats w/ holes poked in the top and bottoms- they worked great! You have to use duct tape to hold those tops on through the winter, though!!! ;0)

Since it's been warming up, my no-show "duds" have been surprising me!!! (Even the ones that were flooded or dry at some point.) Just leave those duds another week- some are only sleeping in!

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Verbena bonariensis - a new one for me, so I looked it up in PF. Is it really only hardy to z. 7? Tabasco, why grow it? Do you ever see flowers?

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)


Yes, yes, carrielamont, I get flowers and Verbena bonarienses reseeds in our garden quite easily. And often returns as a perennial. It can be invasive in some gardens here if you don't dead head. http://www.floridata.com/ref/V/verb_bon.cfm

I grow it because it's a very nice airy tall filler. Looks great with daylilies, echinaceas, daisies, and in a casual garden. The head gardener at our city perennial garden told me to plant it with Canna Pretoria and bronze fennel.

And most of all, the butterflies, hummingbirds and goldfinches love it.

D-mail me if you want some WS seedlings. They are almost big enough to send off.

I spent today (after my garden club meeting) planting out seedlings. Planted tall ageratum, liatris spicata, tithonia, lots of herbs, armeria, campanula, aquilegias, digitalis, perennial sunflower, annual sunflower and a few others.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Carrie: The verbena bonariensis blooms the year it is planted, and it overwinters for me in zone 6. I WSed it for 2 years and loved it. This year, it's volunteers are everywhere in my beds and I mean EVERYWHERE. It covers the surface of every bare inch of soil. It is in the mint family. Just a word of caution.

Karen

Thumbnail by kqcrna
Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Karen or T ... do either of you have any photos of the foliage of the VB?

I knew i grew some last year, but i have no idea where it is, or went... certainly did not bloom.
I have a few seedlings for this year. and not sure if I have any more seeds.

Terese

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Here's a photo that shows the foliage. The most telltale sign is it's square stem (mint family).

Karen

Thumbnail by kqcrna
Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

thanks Karen... i'm just wondering what the heck happened to mine last year.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the link, Tabasco - if you really like, you could send me some seedlings for postage - I'm in the exchange. I'll keep it in my tall things container with dill and I forget what else and they can all be filler for each other!

Carrie

Medway, MA(Zone 5b)

I had a 50-50 ratio, this my first year at it. I used quite a few 16-oz. water bottles, and I think they were too thin. More milk jugs next year!

The ones that did germinate, I'm very pleased with them so far!

Floyd, VA(Zone 6b)

At this point I am not giving up on anything else. I am astonished at the cups which are just now beginning to germinate. Originally, I probably had about 140 cups inside and out. I will wait a few more weeks before I begin tossing the empty cups. We will have about 4 days in the 90s; that might wake some of them up!

When it all ends, I expect I will have twenty to thirty-five which did not germinate. Liatris is one I had hoped for. I have about five kinds of primula which did not germinate either. My grasses from seeds gathered in the fall don't look like they will either.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I really do think my problem was the hole size in the bottoms. All the "duds" had moss on top ... most have been dumped in flower beds as i planted out other seedlings. I still have quite a few in containers, but the babies are still so small in most of the containers ... i will wait on them a while longer.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Yes, my primula didn't germinate either, but I am, with Terese, blaming insufficient drainage.

Also, this year I used seed-starting mix, where last year I used ordinary potting mix. (?) The biggest difference I'm noticing is that the seed-starting mix falls apart when I try to plant it out or move the seedling, whereas the potting mix seemed to hold together better. (My husband is my supply runner; last year I probably chastised him for NOT getting sterile seed-starting mix.)

Carrie

Medway, MA(Zone 5b)

Good point, Carrie, I had that problem, too. I think I'll get the potting mix next year.

Mid-Cape, MA(Zone 7a)

Carrie an Primrose, I agree about the seed-starting mix versus potting soil: I used both, and the Miracle-Grow held together better.
I have a few dud jugs--and some that are finally sprouting--and a lot that need to be set out in the garden NOW! As soon as the dust settles I'm going to enter the results in the DG winter-sowing data base.

Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)

I just discovered an ideal seed-starting mix; water-retention polymer crystals.
Since the retail store brand "soil moist" is over $10 for a 1-lb jar, I went on line and ordered some in bulk from a grower's supply company (I had to do a lot of shopping around to find the size crystal I wanted in the best sized containers.) I bought 4 10-lb bottles of the fine crystals for $90, including shipping. I spread them in a sterile pyrex dish, watered them, and planted polks-dot plant seeds, and some African Violet seeds. They've popped right up! Then I tried mixing Miracle-Gro (regular soil) to 1/2 it's volume w/ the hydrated crystals, and transplanted new seedlings into them- they grow like crazy. The crystals are sterile, and stay moist, as long as you make sure they stay watered (as you would any medium). The crystals also come in handy with my WS containers that flooded; just sprinle in some crystals and the standing water turns to gel that the plants can use!

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Melissa,

What a great idea!!! I have that problem a lot - too much rain, I can't go out, when I finally CAN go out (like today) someone will be drowning.... what a fabulous idea! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Carrie

Springfield, MA(Zone 6a)

Still catching up on threads. I have things still germinating . . . so hang in there, maybe some of the duds will sprout.

Mid-Cape, MA(Zone 7a)

Quoting:
I have things still germinating . . . so hang in there, maybe some of the duds will sprout.

I do too, Seandor--so I'm not giving up on my jugs!

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I needed the space - they were moldy and green - it's too late - I'm a horrible mother! Last year I committed root-icide, so I avoided that by leaving everybody in their containers this year. I'm a horrible mother! Well, I got one child through high school and last year I had pretty bachelor buttons, nasturtiums, morning glories and sweet peas. I forget what perennials I grew and where I planted them, even IF I planted them.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

OH Carrie -- you are not a terrible mother. sometimes things just dont make it.

while i have dumped a bunch of mine, i still have a few others that i am holding out hope on ... and the ones that were dumped, they were used as 'potting soil' around seedlings... so there is a possibility that they still may 'pop'.

but i wont lose any sleep over them.

many of the perennials i ws'ed last year are starting to bloom this year.

My husker reds are stunning and the lil white flowers have begun to open. Cone Flowers, some calif. poppies - i noticed today ... and many others, Holly Hocks included should be opening soon. I'm quite the proud parent... as i'm sure you are too. ;-)

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Well (looking modest with no success), I DO have a lovely succession of poppies blooming - some I bought and some I grew, and who knows which is which, the Calif. poppies are blooming too (when it's not raining) and I have a great crop of marigolds, bachelor's buttons, zinnia, nasturtium, sweet pea and cosmos which are all scheduled to bloom this summer!

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

Here's my list for this year. The seed that didn't sprout were trade seed and older seed. http://www.lakehousecreations.com/wintersown_2008.htm . Also, if anyone is interested in a seed swap, just jump on over here. http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/862988/

Medway, MA(Zone 5b)

I did Shirley Poppies this year, first time ever, and am pleased with the daintiness of them. More next year!

Boxford, MA(Zone 6a)

I actually sprouted the blue poppy- Menocopsis, is it? I am praying I can keep them alive! I think I've tried them every March w/ no success. WS did the trick!

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