Another Newby Question

Murphy, NC

Sorry, the more I read; the more confused I get. Is this correct or close? Zone 6b

1. IN Jan/Feb fill Walmart container with 3-4" wet potting soil (soil-less?).
2. Sow seeds to appropriate depth.
3. Cut slits in top & bottom of container for drainage & air.
4. PLace containers outside in part sun (or is full sun better - worried about "cooking").
5. Don't worry about rain/snow.
Questions: When do I plant in ground?
If I initially plant into 16oz styrofoam cups inside the containers (another option in step 1), do I remove styrofoam when transplanting or just cut bottom off of cups and plant the whole thing?
How/when do I water?

Is this a good scenario?

Duluth, GA(Zone 7b)

Bigbob, I'm new to wintersowing but I'v read a lot of the threads, see Gymgirl's thread about wintersowing around the winter solstice and the wintersowing sticky on page 1 of the wintersowing threads. Your containers need to be cut before the soil and seeds are put in them. They recommend a good draining potting soil, and yes the containers are placed outside where rain or snow can get in them to water your seeds. Please remove them from the styrofoam cups before planting in the ground since the styrofoam won't degrade for a long time and the roots of your plants will need lots of room to grow. Water your seeds if the soil is getting dry. Welcome to the wintersowing forum.

This message was edited Jan 11, 2011 10:43 PM

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

Thank You, Cem9165...

^^_^^ (You know who!)

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Can anyone suggest a seedling mix that will resist bein g flooded? With my constant rian, I expect any top slits at all to let in MUCH too much rain.

I was thinking of puting un-pierced paltic film over the whole setup, and only take it off when there is a day of very light rain.

I always waterlog soil when I start indoors. I started adding sand to Jiffy-Mix peat blends. That helped a little.

Now I plan to add some pine bark mulch called "fine" for landscape purposes, thast I thinm is "coarse" for seed starting purposes.

And some "Orchard Bark". Maybe some "Orchard Mix". And coarser sand than i used last year.


My current plan is "insert cells" in a semi-clear tub with plastic film over the top, perhaps supported with fine bamboo culms

Maybe also put individual baggies around each block of insert cells. Maintaining humidity is not a problem! Preventing drowning is a problem.

I plan many 1/4" holes in the bottom of the tub (1/4" spade bit; I wish they made them in 3/16").
I'll raise the tubs up off the ground a little, as with 1x2s.
Maybe tie them down with stakes and rope if the soil is not heavy enough..

Now I'm thinking that a 1/4" hole may let slugs in. I wonder if 1/8" holes would keep them out?

WS newbie - first year

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Big Bob...move your #3 to the #1 position. you will want to 'prepare' your containers first.... i always to do the bottom holes first, as it's harder to manage once they are 'sliced in half' -- then fill.

Corey -- I have a big 'sterilite' tub that I fill with smaller nursery pots of various sizes... I have to say... i never have very good luck with that thing.... either the pots under the holes are soaked and all the others are dry.... i can never get the 'wetness' right.

maybe this year, when i do my annuals, i'll use that with no lid, and keep it more in the shade so it does not dry out so fast.

my germination is 50% at best. really lousy last year, the year before was a bit better.

I dont have Slug issues... so can't help ya there... I think Lea [lebug] does though.

I have a photo of my "tub" - but can't find it yet.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Hi Therese!

>> pots under the holes are soaked and all the others are dry... i can never get the 'wetness' right.

That is what I expect to happen to me. I've been thinking things like "drill just a FEW big holes in the tops, but let the drops that pass through them hit coarse widnow screening. expect that to deliver a fine sray all over".

I doubt it.

Rather, I expect to have to use an unpierced clear top cover (an umbrella to keep rain out). Ventilate it on the sides or under the rim.

Weekly or so, take the lid off and sprinkle/mist, or pick a day with LIGHT rain to leave the lid off while I'm at work. Possibly make the hole in the tub small and few, so that I can flood the bottom 1/2" with water, and let the pots and cells bottom-water while wtaer drains out, and just plain keep the constant rain out of the equation.

That means the individual pots or cells inside the big tub must NOT have a stapled plastic bag over them.

I don't expect dryness to be a problem during maritime PNW late winter and spring! Maybe something like floating row cover material inside the tub, just as an extra temperature buffer.

(Some year I hope to make some kind of nice seed bed under a cold frame, with a lid that pops open when it gets too hot.)

This is an experiment for me, but I have limited indoor lighted bench space. And a rather bad indoor batting average with slow seeds!

I hope to cure that with
- better draining soil,
- more light,
- earlier potting-up or deeper cells, and
fewer seeds per cell.
I may be able to force myself to be "Atilla the Gardener" when too many seeds sprout per cell.


Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Corey -- i've never sown under lights. I've done a few pots in a south facing window - and htey do OK, but now with cats [1 cat 1 kitten] they are just into everything. One year I did Yvonne Salvias - and that was the best one i ever had. they need that head start in this colder climate.

I still need to find that image for you... it has to be on my upstairs PC.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I assume that you LIKE your cats, so I should not even suggest chili powder on the soil. It kept them from using my raised beds as a catbox! (Well, until after a few rians came.)

Maybe very mild chili powder?

For some reason my cat is cooperative about trays of seedlings. I indulge him in every possible way, and he's often willing to return the favor.

- - - Salvia splendens "Yvonne's Giant" red-orange (?or coral?)

I keep forgetting that lady's annual in most zones. I read that I might get lucky, since I live in 8a - 8b, and she may be hardy as far as 8a.

I saw a picture that looked more pastel / coral than red-orange, which sounds fiery to me. What would you say?

One year I "started" an entire 128-tray of two Salvias, Catmint and Mother of Thyme, all from Park's. ZERO sprouted. I suspect that I drowned them, chilled them too much, or being near the window BOTH chilled and heated them with too much variation. Since that was around 70 cells with 2-3 seeds per cell, that was well under 1% germination. I assume "my bad", don't blame Parks.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

the Yvonnes, is the splendens "Giant"

have you read the story behind them?? the Yvonne passed away a few yrs back.

Mine never got really big... I think they only do that in the south, where they have a longer growing season... but Yvonne used to get them 4-6 feet,and she was in Mass.

I think all salvias are annuals for me.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

You're right, and I never heard the story.

I have heard some hardy CLAIMS for these but have never grown them (yet):

Salvia nemerosasylvestris "Amethyst Blue" Perennial to zone 5 18" tall

Salvia (sylvestris or nemorosa?) "East Friesland" Meadow Sage Zone 4-8 18" tall 16"apart Dislikes damp winter.

Salvia nemorosa (unknown var from Jonna) violet Perennial zones 4a-7b? is 8a too warm?

Want seeds? I have Hazzards 2010 seed for "Amethyst Blue" .
Some in trade "collected from" "East Friesland" .
I think a little left of Jonna's violet S. nemorosa, bought a few months ago.

If their viability is as short as I read, "use 'em or lose 'em!"

If memory serves, you've sent me a dozen kinds of seed in return for a little catnip!


Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

>>f memory serves, you've sent me a dozen kinds of seed in return for a little catnip!

LOL... its' possible Corey.

I googled for images... on Garden Web, they have a lot of threads on Yvonne...
here are some images...

here is abotu her Passing

when i "googled' for the images, i actually saw a photo of mine. it's somewhere here on DG.. i think in the Agastache / Salvia forum.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

The Salvia is indeed brighter than the picture I remember.

Thanks for the link to the person! I had never heard of her, but "mskee"'s text reminded me of two beliefs I have. The second one came from, of all things, a wrapper on a piece of chocolate!

It spounds as if you, that choclate, Yvonne, mskee and I, must all have read the same book, or something.

To be happy, dwell on your blessings, not your gripes.
When love is given freely, the rewards are great."

>> Her grandson ... asked ... how she seemed to be able to be happy all of the time

>> She told him, that every night, she counted her blessings. And, even if it had been a really bad day, she told him she would focus on the little things, like how the sun felt on her face that day, or a pleasant fragrance from a flower…

>> Selflessly giving, right until the end.

I guess I'm not sure whether the last one explains the first one, or vice-versa.
But if you can take pleasure from doing the last one, the first one is easy.

And if giving selflessly DOESN'T make you happy, why should the Universe go out of its way to do so?

Terese, thanks for that link, it was blessing # ??? of the day, and I think the best one so far.

And so to bed, or at least, the drive home.


Cowden, IL(Zone 5a)

I just thought of another question while reading this.
Do I need to put my containers on pallets, or is it ok to set them directly on the ground?

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Corey - We start seeds under lights (equal number of cool and warm bulbs) with heat mats. When we didn't use the heat mats, the germination and growth rate varied including seeds that never sprouted. My husband uses a book called The New Seed Starter's Handbook as a reference. It seems to work well. Some of the seeds I have problems with I go out on-line and research. I usually find what the issue is and generally it's one of light or ambient soil temp.

He also tried planting tomato seeds directily into the garden and said he thought they did as well. We no longer transplant into larger containers for bedding or garden plants. No time to do this extra step. We simply plant the seeds in whatever size container we think will be needed for the size of the plant when it gets plants outside.

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

directly on the ground is fine. I'd think most of us use our patios, some of mine go on the window well covers. but no, they do not have to go on pallets. I htink i've seen pics of someone who uses their patio table... sometimes you start to run out of room and just start putting containers where ever you have room.

mine go in a 'nook' between my patio stoop and my fireplace.

Thumbnail by tcs1366
Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Coery -- found the image i was looking for... here is my "tub"
you can see the pots that are quite dry and the others are quite damp. there was no happy medium for me that year.

Thumbnail by tcs1366
Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

here is the other image i was looking for.... this is my usual WS spot, I can get quite a few jugs in this area.

Most of those milk jugs are sitting on the well cover.

Thumbnail by tcs1366
Cowden, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh wow, that looks great!

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

I used the spa cover last January, my first time WSing veggies.

Thumbnail by Gymgirl
Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Somehow those milk jugs always look to me like an array of cheerfull but faceless, armless aliens waddling into our gardens, like albino penguins or lemmings.

Tcs, yikes and owtch. Dry or soggy! Maybe something like a cotten sheet fragment, or some absorbant pad, on the bottom of the tub to spread the excess water around a little, so the dry cells might get a BIT of water?

I see your labels stand up firmly. Maybe you could park a bit of window screening on top of them. Water collects on window screening, and when another drop hits, smaller droplets sray around all over.


Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

RE pallets:

Maybe the people who do that are worried about drainage holes sitting flat against a concrete surface. Holes in the bottom of a tub or jug don't help much if that holes sits flush against a falt surface.

Maybe just tuck two sticks under a tub if you need to open up the bottom holes.

Say, do people notice slugs crawling INTO WS tubs or jugs through drainage or vent holes? What is the biggest hole that keeps spring slugs out?


Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

Luckily no slugs in my corner of the desert - but what if you put screen over the holes or vents? (Uh, no water, either, so I will be hand watering :-)

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

yeah, DUHH, that should be perfect.

1/4" holes with a spade bit
window screening (maybe glue it down)

Hey, If I put a layer of window screening UNDER the tub, water can get out and maybe slugs can't get in!

And, if a tray, cell, pot, jug or bottle sits on the hole in the tub, water can still get out.

Thank you! Now I can set aside the 120 V "Slug Discourager" I was going to patent. :-)


Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

I'm going to add more drainage holes in my jugs on the sides right at the bottom edge.i also have them on the bottom, better more holes for drainage than not enough. i`d think ..This will be interesting 1st time..Cant wait to start dragging my lights and shelves out for my indoor garden,going to inform the DH that's next,need to go buy all new bulbs too.Anyone know anything about how many hours to use fluorescent bulbs before they loose the efficiency ???

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

No. I wouldn't worry about that as we've been running ours a number of years and are just replacing them. Just make sure you have an equal number of warm and cool bulbs to get a fuller light spectrum.

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

Sprinkle some Sluggo Plus on top of the soil inside your jugs/containers. Just a few pellets on the soil will keep the slugs outta your jug. Pillbugs, too...

I also sprinkled the perimeter of my growing area with it, as I detected a march of pillbugs toward my jug. Afterwards, no invading army whatsoever -- no kind!

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I agree about Sluggo inside the tubs. If they get in, they won't last long!

But then I have to pick the dead, decomposing ones out ... better than loosing all my seedlings.


Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

Glad you said that about pill bugs,Ive got those more so than slugs.

susan,thats what I dont have ,and the reason why I wanted new bulbs .We can reuse all the ones we replace in the kitchen,laundry and I want to do 1/2 1/2 and they will all be the same age.Glad to hear that tho. I really need to read up on the subject !! LOL.need to let the dh in on the plan ,since he is the plan to bring down the stuff from the shed !!! LOL

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

I just use regular old fluorescent shop lights, and everything has grown just fine under them.

$1/per tube at your local Habitat for Humanity Restore...

Columbia City, IN(Zone 5b)

Thats all Im using ,but going to replace all the bulbs as they are 3 yrs old ,but going to do cool and warm,see if there is a difference ?

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

You can replace the bulbs if you want. However, with fluorescents, they will tell you when they are bad as they either quite working all together or start flickering. I don't recall seeing or hearing anything on the degredation of fluorescent lights over their life span.

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