I was a bit disappointed in the results I had WS-ing annuals this year. Now, I should start by saying I have one large bed full of annuals that did grow by WS-ing. But I also had many that did not sprout at all (no zinnias, no poppies, et. al.) Others annuals sprouted so late that they still have not bloomed & most likely won't since it is getting so late. In fact, I just noticed yesterday that something has sprouted in my otherwise empty tray of poppies. I'm betting it's weeds, but there are 3 identical seedlings. If it is poppies, I sure don't think there's any chance of seeing them bloom. LOL
Do you have any suggestions that might explain this problem & how to remedy it?
I'm sorry you didn't have better results! There are a lot of factors that could explain "dud" trays, from seed germination issues to somehow creating a micro-climate in the container that's less good for the seed than direct sowing... all I can say is that usually WSing annuals in early spring gives them a head start, for strong plants and earlier blooms than direct sowing in your flower beds. For me, there's a higher percentage of success than with direct sowing, although some seeds (zinnias for example) I do just direct-sow. But there always seem to be some containers (perennials as well as annuals) that are late starters or that don't start at all. That's disappointing, but I figure I'd be a lot more disappointed if I'd been babying the seed trays along on my light shelf inside with similar non-results LOL.
If you check in the Winter Sowing forum, you can compare accounts with other folks and see if anybody has come up with better explanations or remedies.
(PS I know it's a bit of a trek from Morgantown... but I'm hosting a "Fall Gold" plant swap party on the 20th, and it would be great to meet you... check the MidAtlantic forum for details! :-)
Thanks for the invite to the swap party. I would absolutely looove to come, but my husband is handicapped & I'm caregiver 24/7. We do get out some but long trips are really hard on him & anything requiring him to be in the wheelchair for more than an hour causes him pain. So I'll have to pass. (;>(
I had some late starting perennials but now they have taken off. Of course, you don't get a second chance with the annuals. I will say that even with the non-sprouters my success rate was far higher than ever before because I didn't lose bunches to damping off like I have in the past.
Thanks for replying!
Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, Pam... we'll just have to find another way to meet up sometime!
If you do try again starting annuals inside (there are some that I think take too long to bloom unless I give them a big head start), take a look at the tips in my article on "The Dreaded Damping Off (and How to Prevent It)": http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/277/
I read your article when it first was posted & thought I was well equipped to do battle. But no, I still lost a bunch of things. The strangest thing was I sprinkled some cinnamon on part of one container of petunias & left part without. Everywhere the cinnamon was, they died. That's opposite of what I expected. And most containers with chick grit died, too. The one thing I didn't try was hydrogen peroxide. That is my plan of attack for next year. It's so exciting to watch seedlings sprout & so sad to watch them damp off a few days later. I did slip up on one of my late plantings & forgot to sterilize the soil. They did the worst of all.
I haven't tried the cinnamon myself but have seen it suggested in several places, and I never heard of anybody having trouble with it like that -- what a shame! Sterilizing the soil and adding hydrogen peroxide and/or chamomile tea to the water are my main preventative measures. This year, I lost some things regardless... had some early problems with damping off, which I attributed to shelves that hadn't been adequately cleaned... and then I had a running battle with a seedling-chomping mouse! There are certainly years when it seems like, as they say, "if it's not one thing it's another." Fortunately, there are also years when the stars seem to be in alignment and everything grows as if charmed! :-)
ROFLOL I know, all you can do is keep trying everything... the good part is that most of it seems to end up working, most of the time. Or maybe it's just that the success of one gorgeous little bloom drowns out the memory of a dozen dismal failures!