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WS Questions

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

I've been following this forum for quite some time and I must say you all have a serious addiction! LOL!

After reading most of the threads here, I did a lot of reading off site. I'm wondering why you use containers. Why not just plant the seeds where you want them in the garden or in a WS designated bed, or in the flower pots you want them in? Wouldn't it be easier than dealing with all of the containers, both while you are using them, plus when you're done with them?

Please enlighten me. I think WS is a great idea, but I don't have any place to put the containers where they would be safe. Thanks! Robin

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Hi Robin ~ welcome to the addiction.

I don't have any place to put the containers where they would be safe
from what?

The reason for wintersowing is it is something we can do well before the ground can be worked. If I were to plant in ground right now, seeds would rot as the soil is too cold and wet. As I understand the WS principle, the jugs act as a mini greenhouse allowing some protection but also allowing the seeds to go thru the process of chilling (which some types require to sprout) and warming. The jugs also allow the seedlings to get stronger before the spring winds begin to batter them and cold spring temps assault them. The dome of the jugs condense and act as a greenhouse, keeping the humidity and moisture levels up. In this area I found my seedlings sprouted more quickly so needed a bit more protection when it froze so I would blanket them or move them in. Perhaps I started them too early. I don't do as many as some of us fanatics but I assure you I will always wintersow. I started all my vegies last year and will never buy another plant. I couldn't have dreamed it would be so fun and easy. Started 15 jugs of herbs, vegies and a couple of odd wildflowers yesterday. I will do a few more along as jugs arrive but I am pretty well limiting myself so I don't become overwhelmed at planting time.
That said, I am sure others have more and different opinions so I look forward to hearing them... pod

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

We live on a flat hilltop with no windbreak in a mobile home surrounded by 4 acres of open field and the wind direction changes frequently throughout the day. I couldn't think of a single place where those little containers would be safe from being blown away. I know that even with frozen soil, the wind is going to be a problem. However, I realized I have some places that might work. One is an inside corner, where a little metal shed sits against the north side of the house, but it would absolutely get no sun. The other is a 4' wide "alley" between the shed and another smalll building, but again there would be no sun. The last place is under the southside deck. It would be a little more exposed to the wind, but would also get a little early morning and late afternoon sun. I'm thinking if these containers got any more than a 1/2 hour of direct sunlight, that they could easily over heat and bake the seeds. Does the initial little bit of venting really make that much of a difference? Also, under the deck would not allow rain or snow to reach them.

Another concern is the temperature range. I was thinking if the temperature was really great for a week or two (and things started sprouting), then it dropped drastically for a few days, I'd lose all the little seedlings. We really do have some wild temperature ranges this time of year.

So there you have it. I'm not one to just stick my toe in the water. I just jump right in, once I decide to do something. I've alreay got lots of the right kind of containers and several bags of potting mix and lots of seeds I've been collecting for a couple of years. I just need to feel that I have the right environment to make it a successful project.

Appreciate any and all input.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

The main concern I had was fireants moving into the containers. I also had a pair of stray little dogs move in last year and I didn't know if they were prone to tearing things up so I set the containers up on a shelf. They received very little sun and probably less winter protection from the ground. I did have a few plants nipped by frost before I knew it. I then started covering them on frosty nights. We are sheltered from the wind by surrounding woods here. The containers are actually fairly heavy from the moist soil but I have also seen wintersowers that put their jugs in box containers or tying the handles together to keep them from blowing around.

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Podster, you are such an enabler!

I was thinking that boxes would work to contain the containers. I can get plenty of them and they can be burned afterwards. No worries here...tthankfully, we don't have fireants here and my dog won't allow other dogs to visit.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Actually ~ I would try a few to see how it works for you. Start on a small scale. I know you grow lots of vegies. Maybe a few containers of bulk seeded. You can plant a lot of seeds in one container and then, prick them out to transplant. But don't burn those boxes... layer them in lasagna beds and plant thru them. They will compost down and improve the soil. You will be amazed at the worms that will live under them.

pod ~ the enabler lol

Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Most what I sow are perennials. I did many last year in the kitchen paper/baggie method, which really worked great. This year I have Clematis and Iris seeds I want to WS. I too don't have much space for jugs so using those clear plastic shoe boxes from Walmart.

Both varieties require flunctuating temps and should sprout in the spring when the temp goes to 50F degrees.

Here are the 3 boxes

Thumbnail by blomma
Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

And here shows the inside of the boxes.

Thumbnail by blomma
Casper, WY(Zone 4a)

Robin, you can do the same just put a brick on top of the cover against the wind. The seeds don't need light until they sprout.

Lewisburg, KY(Zone 6a)

Hi, Ms Robin
I have a few seeds and have posted looking for a few more on the seed trading forum. This is a new venture for me! I love the idea of getting a head start without a GH.

Teresa in KY

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

I live in a windy spot, too, on top of a hill. We have trouble keeping a roof or siding on the house, so trust me, it's windy. Still I have never had a gallon milk jug containing 3" of potting mix get blown over. Half gallons and 2 liters do, but not gallons.


Lewisburg, KY(Zone 6a)

I think I read somewhere that they put the jugs down in a child's wadding pool.
I also read that one person ran a string thru the handles to keep them all connected and upright.

Wells, TX(Zone 8b)

if your worried about the openness get a few bales of hay/staw and place them around your containers as an insulating wind break.. then in the spring mix the hay in to your compost pile

Caneyville, KY(Zone 6b)

Great ideas, thanks!

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