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Wintersowing 2009-2010 ... getting stared....

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

New thread ..... It's the start of the Ws'ing season

Post what you've been up to.

I probably will not be starting for a few weeks... unless i get very driven.

Ops... forgot to add the link....

we came from here....

This message was edited Jan 1, 2010 1:36 PM

Thumbnail by tcs1366
Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Here are some Ruds and Monarda, Wild Bergamot
everything here is WS'ed [with the exception of the lily in the corner of the photo.]

Thumbnail by tcs1366
(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN(Zone 6a)

I am trying a lot of Rudbeckia varieties. I'm most excited about the Cherry Brandy. I am also trying coneflower, clematis, bleeding hearts , foxglove and delphs. I started some African Lilies inside and I'm just starting to get some sprouts. Anyone ever WS Bleeding Hearts?

Port Vincent, LA(Zone 8b)

tcs thanks for the new thread and the wonderful photos. Makes me excited about doing the winter sowing.

Lancaster, OH(Zone 6a)

Just wanted to pop in and say hello. I have been lurking the forum for a few weeks wondering what I was going to do keeping myself busy over winter and this has given me a start... lol I just relocated to Ohio from Florida in May so am lost on what to so over winter..

Today I decided... LOL I bought Rubbermade tubs and am trying the bag in tote method. I got the tubs for $3.40 each and a bag of soil at WM then came home and raided the craft bins to get bags and label systems together.. 12 bags fit per tote and it looks pretty tidy (for now)..
I think I did right
1. Drill holes in top and bottom of totes
2. cut drainage holes in bags, - paper towel for covering the slits and fill bags3-4 inches
3. moisten bags, disturb soil, sew seed
( after the seeds were sewn I put a sigle stape in teh tops of the bags to keep them upright until they sprout and need opened)
4. lids on the totes and outside they go outside in the morning to the snow

I did 12 bags on purple coneflower, 8 bags of hosta, 4 bags of chaste tree,
and 12 bags of columbine.

Did I do okay?

Thumbnail by ladybarber101
Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

ladybarber... that looks great!! i know Jan "grampapa" did her's like that a while back.

Easton, PA(Zone 6b)

Any tips for winter sowing Clematis? I got some radar love and a couple of other types from a trade.

The temps keep hovering around 32'F. Freeze/thaw snow/rain, hope the seeds like it more than I do.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

GQ ... I've never tried them, but i do know peeps collect the seeds, as i've seen them offered.

do we have a 'vines' forum....? i'll go look. they may know .. "they" being clematis people.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Clematis forum.... if anyone knows.. they will.

Easton, PA(Zone 6b)

Thank you. I checked a few threads in the Clematis forum. Most people buy their plants. There was a web link posted. I saved it on my other computer (the one waiting for parts). The person on the website used a greenhouse.

Easton, PA(Zone 6b)

There is a thread on starting Clematis from seed:
People have had success winter sowing. It can take a year or more for the seedlings to bloom. If the seeds are from an area with numerous clematis or hybrid vines, the seedlings may be different from the parent.

(Chris) Des Moines, IA(Zone 5a)

Diamond, I'm doing the same as you.. a lot of different Ruds :) I'm a transplanted Okie here in Iowa, so it'll be fun trying to figure out when to start this year.

I just finished with a seed trade and I have roughly 25 different ruds coming along with some zinnias too. I'm so excited about the Green Envy and Tomato Soup. I hope to have a lot of seeds next year for trading :)

Do I have to worry about cross pollination though?? I want to plant all of them in one bed..

I need to change my DG name to RudCrazy LOL

(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN(Zone 6a)

LoL @ Clan! I should change my name to "RudCrazee2" LoL My patio area is enclosed by a 6 ft privacy fence. I am trying to tunr it into my own little paradise. I sit back there and stare at the flowers for hours. I thought it would be nice to invite butterflies and hummingbirds. I wanted to start some flowers that would attract both. Once I began looking at the Ruds I fell in love. It seems that everything that I like that attracts both BFs and HBs grow to 3 ft or more. It may looked chaotic but oh well. LoL I am equally in love with the tropical "look". Last year I planted cannas, elephants ears, variegated ginger and pony tail palms. I have a banana tree that I wasn't brave enough to put outside. LoL

I have never heard of the tomato soup Ruds, so I googled it. Those are the same as the Cherry Brandy! Those are the Ruds I am most excited about. I really want to WS a couple of trays just to make sure I have some for next summer. I think I read that those bllom the first year.

North of Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

wait till spring u can buy it cheap at Lowe's.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Diamond... dont forget Zinnias for butterflies.
and i do believe Cherry Brandy and Tomato Soup are different.

Tomato Soup is an Echinacea/Coneflower not Rudbeckia.

(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN(Zone 6a)

Thanks TC! I have some Zinnia seeds I can start, too. I googled the tomato soup coneflowers and I think those are just as pretty as the Ruds!

Merci, last summer I did a daily patrol at Lowe's. LoL I bought some things but there was very little that peaked my interest (maybe the double knockout roses). I found more flowers of interest in the nurseries and greenhouses. I lean towards the out of the ordinary colors. In our area e1 has the purple bearded iris but I wanted the peach along with the Georgia Peach Coral Bells.

Mackinaw, IL(Zone 5a)

LOL My big victory over Christmas break? I got my SIL all excited to try wintersowing! Now I need to give her a Dave's Garden subscription, so she can access this forum. I printed Critterologist's article for her, and pointed her at, but I'd love to make this forum available for her, too! She was really interested in hearing about how I'd done it, and what I'd sown, what worked well and what didn't, etc. I sure hope she gives it a try! She always has such pretty containers, she must spend a fortune on bedding plants!

I'd think my MIL would be a natural at WSing, since she can't bring herself to get rid of any kind of container (even to recycle them--she might "need" them some day!), so she's got everything she'd need to get started.

I haven't even started my WSing lists yet, much less cleaned and prepared my containers. My DH has brought home about 50 plastic Folgers coffee cans from work (think he takes after his mother?), but honestly, I found I had much better success with the milk jugs than the coffee cans. I cut the center out of the snap-on lid and used it to hold down pierced plastic-wrap, but it just never seemed to hold the heat and moisture as well as the milk jugs. I need to try something different next year. Maybe a plastic tarp or old shower curtain, instead of plastic wrap?

Getting excited to get started!


Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Angie: After 4 years of doing this, I agree: Nothing else compares to milk jugs. So why not just use them? Why are you sticking with the coffee cans if you like the jugs better?


SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I'm a firsttimer with the WS process, and I'm excited! Been collecting gallon milk jugs from Starbucks and am still deciding on which flowers to sow seeds for. All my WS flowers will go into containers on the patio.

Went to HD yesterday and bought a fistful of seed packets. Here's what I bought:
Zinnia Envy
Zinnia Fuschia
Zinnia (mixed -- looks like the envy, fushia and one other color)
Cosmos (some orange-y color)
Irish Spike? (a lavender and white spike-y thing)

My concern is that these are all annuals. I truly would like some perennials that will self sow and come back year after year, even in containers. Any suggestions for container perennials?

P.S. The containers will be placed on the patio, amongst the jungle of greenery that already exists there. It's has a tropical look and feel, so I'm looking for color that will fit in with the variegated ginger, ferns, philodendron, rubber trees and geraniums (which were the mainstay of the shot in past years).



P.S. I think I'll be safe to begin spreading seeds by mid-January in Zone 9a. We'll start warming up around March.

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Newport News, VA(Zone 11)

Thats beautiful Linda. I like the snake plant against the tree.
You might try some daiseys, rudbeckia and hardy geraniums. Elephant ears and cannas would look good in there for a tropical look. It looks good the way it is actually.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Thanks Jadajoy. That pic is from Spring/Summer 2006. Wish I could say it still looks that good. The bones are still there, though, as that foliage hasn't died out. Just looking to get some color in the planters for this upcoming spring/summer/fall.

There is a very small bordered flowerbed surrounding that tree. DH puts those disgusting asparagus ferns and wandering jews in and they just take over everything they (the ferns) can climb on. They're also running rampant on the opposite floor of the patio, along with his beloved vines. It's not that I don't like them -- I just don't like them everywhere!

I dug everything out last summer, and you know it's all grown back again!

Newport News, VA(Zone 11)

Know what you mean! I made the mistake of planting wandering jew and morning glories in my rose bed. What a bad idea! WJ belongs in a controllable container here.

I will set out my containers in Jan-Feb too, to give the annuals some heat at the right time.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

My local newspaper gardening page announced today that it's TIME to plant tomato and bell pepper seeds!!! Wow!

And I have exactly one large bale of coco coir, some sifted potting mix, and a gazillion milk jugs ready to go!

"I think I'm going to need a bigger yard..."

Line from a gardener envisioning tons of seedlings all over the place. Not to be confused with a line by a famous fisherman chasing a big fish that weighed tons.

^^_^^ Doing the happy dance!


Newport News, VA(Zone 11)

So exciting!!!

What is coco coir? used for?

(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN(Zone 6a)

LoL @ Linda I am right there with you. I do the same thing every year. I start a bunch of seeds, run out of room in the yard and have to give plants away. The next year I start more seeds with the intentions of moving plants around around, then what happens, I have to give plants away again. LoL I.need a field!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Coco coir is only the latest rage in seed starting!

It is ground up coconut husks that lets water percolate through like a sieve. Only, it soaks up the water it needs, and releases the rest. When it's wet, it reminds you of spongy coffee grinds. A DGer here, Bocabob, is a distributer. I'm about to order more for my seedlings.

Go to the DG marketplace and put "coco coir" in the search box. His site will come up. He has a whole seed starting kit that works just great, and various other seed starting products, including 5-gallon grow bags for tomatoes, etc.!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

The beauty of my plan for overage is that I have TWO relatives, in brand new homes with VIRGIN landscapes, who are anxiously waiting ANY flower overages I have. And, my neighbor across the street!

(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN(Zone 6a)

Lucky you! LoL I want to come up with a holding garden for the overages that way I could at least get them in the ground.

Newport News, VA(Zone 11)

Well, where have I been! I totally missed the coir rage. Do you use it in WS containers?

I need to live across the street from you ladies!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

We've been using it mostly for starting veggie seeds, but I'm sure a seed's, a seed!

Here're the coco coir growers discussion thread links, parts 1 & 2

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

tcs - you may have addressed this before - in your first photo at the start of this thread, you have your containers in cardboard boxes. Are you using cardboard as a temporary holding container for your milkjugs, or do you actually sow the seeds, and replace the milkjugs back in the cardboard box? Will the cardboard box withstand the elements? Or do you put them in another large plastic container with holes to allow for drainage?

I have a collection of about 10 milkjugs now, and am starting to poke drainage holes in them (I like the suggestion of poking a hole with a sharp small knife and twisting it a bit to enlarge the hole). I also use the same knife to jab a starter hole in the container, and continue cutting it with a kitchen scissor.

This is my first winter-sowing experience and I am looking forward to it. I have rounded up all my seeds (some as old as 10 years) and will start sowing soon. I don't expect many of the older seeds to germinate, but it is worth a try - better than hanging on to them for another 10 years Lol. I have been collecting seeds all year from places that I have visited, not with an eye for the current blooms, but for any blooms that have set seed. I try to have snack bags or napkins with me at all times.

I still need to get more potting soil. I cannot find in the local Walmart the type of potting mix (pro-mix?) that has been suggested in other WS threads, so I will just get what is available at a store closeby. Even got some old wooden stakes that has been around for 20 years to put inside the jugs as labels.

Enjoyed reading all the helpful hints in this forum.


SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Turn on your stover burner and heat the tip of a phillips screwdriver. It'll melt holes in those jugs faster than you can blink. Goes lightening fast if you alternate between two screwdrivers. Just remember to turn on your stove vent, and try not to breathe in when the plastic's smoking.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)


i use the boxes for various reasons.... the first year, so my dog would not think the jugs were toys [that happened to one gal] , it keeps them corralled - especially in high winds. plus in the spring, i tend to move them all around a bit [just something i do] and it's easier to move the boxes than to move 100+ containers.

the boxes do withstand our weather here... a few of the thinner ones will be pretty broken down by mid-summer... but then they get recycled or used for lasagna gardening. [when i need to prepare a part of the weedy yard for a new bed, i lay down the card board, then layer compost and soil -- lasagna gardening]


(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN(Zone 6a)

I like that lasagna gardening idea. It seems like it would make it a lot easier to start a new garden that way. Probably keeps the weeds down!

Sacramento, CA(Zone 9a)

Thanks, Gymgirl and Terese. I actually did have to use a heated pick to poke holes in some 2 L juice bottles that I also collected and was too hard for the knife. A phillips screwdriver would provide larger holes, so I'll do that next time.

I have a variety of cardboard boxes, so it is good to know that they will survive the winter and early spring. Looks like most people have the containers where winter rains will water them? or do you have them sort of sheltered so that the rain won't disintegrate the cardboard??

Hope everyone had a great Christmas. This is a variety of Kniphofia called Christmas Cheer that blooms around Christmas time in my zone. There are some seeds that form, but I normally just divide the plant at the crown. If I had any extra containers left, maybe I will sow some just for fun.

I have some extra Phillipine lily seeds if anyone would like to try some. They self-sow too.

Thumbnail by soilsandup
(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN(Zone 6a)

Very pretty

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

>>or do you have them sort of sheltered so that the rain won't disintegrate the cardboard??

No, mine get snowed and rained on.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

You want snow and rain exposure to water the jugs.


SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

Remember I'm a WSing newbie. I have some nice Begonias I'd like 2 divide 4 Spring. Could I do it now and put them in gallon milk jugs 2 get established for a March 1st planting? Our cool weather hasn't hurt them at all. Linda

Florence, KY(Zone 6a)


I am a FL to KY transplant so I know how you feel. This will be my first experience with wintersowing too.

I have been saving gallon water jugs since last summer that I'm about to start some seeds in.

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