What to Sow When?

Easton, PA(Zone 6b)

A question came up on the larkspur thread that I thought deserved its own thread. What seeds need to be wintersown early in the winter? What seeds should be wintersown closer to spring?

It was suggested that larkspur should be sown in late fall-early winter.

I am thinking about wintersowing in containers (soda bottles in my case).

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

The early bloomers need to be sown earlier than the later bloomers. Remember that in WSing you're mimicking Mother Nature so it really doesn't matter if they all get sown at the same time or not. They'll sprout when they're supposed to.

This message was edited Jan 21, 2010 7:18 PM

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

I do all my perennials first.. during Jan and Feb
then late March into April i'll do the annuals.... tender annuals being the last to get done.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Keep in mind, timing isn't all that important. You could sow everything in winter and wait if you want to try it. There's only one little issue.
For anything not hardy in your zone, anything damaged by frost:
If sown early they can sprout in an early warm spell and then freeze and die when cold weather returns. For this reason alone many of us just don't sow anything not hardy until spring.

Easy, huh? No special month when you have to sow certain seeds. This is not that hard. Do it the way you want to. Some of us have found that waiting until spring for tender stuff works better for us, and we've passed on that tip to new folks. Somehow that seems to have translated into "everything has a certain time when it must be sown" and that's not the case.

Sometimes I do jump the gun and sow tender stuff too early. No big deal. If it sprouts and we get a freeze, I flip the top closed and cover it for the night. Easy, right?

I never give hardy annuals and hardy perennials extra protection.


Easton, PA(Zone 6b)

Thanks for the advice. I have just done perennials, so far, starting with poppies and columbines. I started with seeds left from last spring that didn't germinate well inside. Seeds with a short shelf live should also be started right away, I guess. So delphiniums are next, when I get more dirt.

I need to get more dirt to continue.

My wintersowing bottles are beacons of hope for me. I am fighting with my landlord and actively searching for another place to live. When I moved here it was such a nice place, but it has gone downhill drastically the past year. I am growing roses and have to walk past a toilet that the maintenance staff has left outside since spring. It is aggravating and humiliating.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

A toilet? Plant someting in it. Go get some cheap, ugly, garish flowers and stick them in there.


Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

yanno -- my first year.. 2007... i was clueless on when to plant anything... I did it all in Jan & Feb.

if we did not get that cold snap [22's for day time temps, below ZERO at night] -- I dont think I would have lost anything.

I did lose a few seedling... Cosmos, Babys Breath and maybe a few morning glories... but considering I had sown probably 80+ MG's, losing a few wasn't bad. [though the bunnies ate about 60-70 of those]

Now - i just push the annuals back until March/April.

Mother Nature usually takes pretty good care of the seeds.

Alameda, CA(Zone 9b)

For those of us who live in warmer climates, timing can be important. -In January/February I concentrate on sowing seeds that need cold to germinate, because I don't want to risk running out of cold weather before I can get them done. Come March and April, I can relax and turn to tender perennials and annuals.

Mid-Cape, MA(Zone 7a)

A toilet? Plant someting in it. Go get some cheap, ugly, garish flowers and stick them in there.

OK, I'm just joking here, and I realize that I also would be furious if I had to walk past an abandoned toilet all the time. . . but Karen's words made me smile! I wonder what sort of a WS container a biffy (honest; that's what my mother called toilets and I never knew why) would make. If it has good drainage. . . the porcelain sides would be good insulation . . .and a top (lid) you could lower in freezing weather. . . I'm seeing some WS seeds planted inside in some nice potting mix. The seeds wouldn't be washed away (I'm assuming the toilet isn't still functional) and varmints would probably stay away as well. No one would suspect until after they sprouted. Think of the happy surprise for everybody come springtime!
OK, I'll stop now. Thanks for the laugh, Karen.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Biffy? Never heard that one. Funny word. Now you made me smile Cape Cod.

I wouldn't stick WSown containers in there though. Landlord might toss it in the garbage. I'd go for big, ugly plastic flowers sticking out. A "flower pot!"


Easton, PA(Zone 6b)

I just took pictures and sent them in the certified letter the the properties owners. If I didn't have a bad back, i would put it on the managers front lawn so that she could look at it. I am tired of seeing it. I think that some drunken fool should use it.

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

We have an old porcelane toilet in the yard, on the patio. We grow beautiful Boston ferns in the bowl...seat DOWN, of course....

This message was edited Jan 26, 2010 11:59 AM

(Zone 6a)

Gymgirl, do you have any pics? I would love to see it!

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

This is an old pic I found about two summers ago? Look toward the middle right side.


This message was edited Jan 26, 2010 12:53 PM

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
(Zone 6a)

Oh, WOW! Thats really nice! Do you grow any plants in the tank part of the toilet?

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

No, only in the bowl. The ferns have all died down now from the last freeze. But, I suspect they'll be back up by the time the weather warms up. I'll post a new pic then.

P.S. They get no special treatment other than an occasional watering when I think of them, or when I throw a handfull of fertilizer on them, again, when I think of them.

Such beauty for such neglect, huh?

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)


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

Thanks, K.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

i'd think the back of the tank would look great with some 'creepers'
creeping petunias or some vinca or some nice ivy.

Mid-Cape, MA(Zone 7a)

Oh my goodness, GG, that's hilarious! What healthy ferns, too! I love it.

Easton, PA(Zone 6b)

I think they plan to reinstall it back inside for the next tenant, just didn't get around to it yet. I don't see why it can't be inside one of the empty units - more than half are empty at the moment.

I really think organic material or quickcrete would be more appropriate.

My heat broke today. Actually,it refused to turn off. I turned the thermostat completely off, but it kept running. It smelled smokey, faint but smokey. No way am I leaving it on. This is the third time this has happened. I have to turn off the breaker to make it stop (Unless I want my place to be a sauna and my heating bill to be unbelievably high.) I was told they may be able to have someone look at it Friday. Not today, Friday. Anyway, I checked all of the returns, blew the leaves out from under the unit, left the fuse off while I grabbed the bus to the doctor's office, came back after dark but still had the same problem. Luckily I have an electric blanket. They claim it is not an emergency because I technically have heat. My neighbor is a volunteer fireman and said to call the fire department because it smells smokey. First, I will try again to start it and call the on site manager and the main office for the owner tomorrow morning. I got an assistant today. I am going to look under the unit and try again at first light. By then, the heating element inside the heater may have cooled off. (That worked before for the bf, does he still count as a bf if he is so busy taking care of his aging parents that you never see him anymore?)

While I was cooling off ( the dog was chasing down voles that were blown out by the leaf blower, great another problem for me to fix because my "24/7 on site maintenance" at my "luxury town home" doesn't even pick up the phone when tenants call anymore) I took some pictures of the white trash lawn art. Guess who didn't have the memory card in her camera. I am trying to keep a sense of humor about this.

At least there are three less voles potentially eating my plants. I put mothballs to deter them, guess I need to do something else.

It is in the upper thirties so the pipes won't freeze and the toilet, sink and bathtub still work. (The bathtub needs to be replaced. Wonder how long it will be sitting outside after I leave.) Good thing because I am still getting over food poisoning. The "cure" is worse than the poisoning. Operating plumbing is essential.

It was such a nice place when I moved in. I am amazed that a community can get so bad so quickly.

I already saw a nice place for much less than I am paying here. There are plenty others. This is a temporary situation. By this summer, I will be sipping ice tea somewhere else enjoying my garden.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Sounds bad. I'm sure a toilet in the yard must be against some ordinance. You could check with your city or township or county or whatever.


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