SEEDS Spring 2015 in the MAF

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

At last! We have a winner in our annual "Winter Sowing Sweepstakes"! The winner is: Dianthus gratinioplis 'Rose Shades', sown February 8th. Also, in experimenting with the vermiculite/closed container method discussed early in this thread, we have germination of Campanula americana. Teeny tiny sprouts in photo #2, just off the edge of the dime at about 10 o'clock.

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Congratulations, cigars all around!

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

The Dianthus says it doesn't smoke, and the Campanula is underage. Both are still pleased to be first and will be awarded NPK shakes and sashes for their containers. ;-)

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Hooray!

I have seedlings outside in trays and they've started sprouting under clear covers; so far, they're about the size of yours, Greenthumb.

How long can they stay in that humid environment without risk of damping off? As soon as I remove the covers, I'll have to find something else to cover them with or else the birds and critters will destroy them, so I'd like to leave them covered as long as possible.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

You might try placing something like popsicle sticks across the corners of the trays so the clear covers do not fit tight, thus effectively venting. Inverted "grid" landscape trays like I used during the winter might fill the bill, but they reduce the amount of light reaching the seedlings. I do not seem to have a problem with critters on my patio except for birds foraging for seeds during the winter.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks; that's a good idea. I get a lot of digging in uncovered soil year round. The squirrels want to bury the peanuts I give them, and the birds are always looking for easy seeds and worms.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

I have OSP everywhere. The Castor Beans are popping up and some of the Hycienth Beans are, too. I only got 4 marigolds from the flat I sewed but I am going to resow the flat and see if I can get more.
Here are the OSP

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Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

What is OSP?

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

I'm guessing either Orange or Ornamental Sweet Potato.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Ornamental Sweet Potato

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks! I didn't notice the sweet potatoes in the 1st photo the first time around.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

NPK shakes! haha, cute. (Someone should invent a Gardeners drink, NPK...something, something, Kahlua?)

Remember the Datura that wouldn't sprout, so I sowed more? Now I have fifty seedlings in a two inch pot.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Lol Sally, when it rains it pours!

I'm soooo excited to be off for a few hours on a non-rainy day. I'm finally sowing some lettuce seeds today.

This message was edited Apr 2, 2015 8:35 AM

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Which Datura Sally, Mine don't seem to be doing anything yet either. I planted yellow and purple swirl.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I planted 3 cells of each datura. I just looked---the purple ones have sprouted--
but just seed leaves for now.
One of the 3 yellow ones has germinated....

The seeds are a couple years + old....but I have hundreds of them. ....

G.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

yay ssg! I wish I had spinach seed ready for this morning.

yellow double. Looks like I'll have plenty! My neighbor wanted to try them but I thought I should have backups ready for him.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Lucky you ssg! I am stuck inside at work on what is supposed to be a gorgeous day. Have fun sowing your seeds!

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

This was David's idea originally, I wrote it up for ATP.
Winter sowing flats
I often find it difficult to find time to transplant winter sown seedlings with all the other gardening chores of spring. So I came up with an easier way to hold the seedlings till I have time. I take a plug tray and put it into soild tray with drainage and place that in a frame style market pack tray. I fill the plug flat with seed starting mix and sow 1-2 seeds in each cell. I then take a second frame style tray and invert it over the 1st attaching it with 4 small zip ties to keep birds and chipmunks from disturbing the planting. The tray is then placed on an outside flats bench for the required cold period and germination. After the seeds are well sprouted you can cut the zip ties and remove the protective frame. Since each seedling has it's own cell, transplanting can be delayed and will be easier.

I found it very easy to cover the surface of the flat with snow to hold everything in place before putting the flats on the bench.

Thumbnail by Ric_of_MAF Thumbnail by Ric_of_MAF Thumbnail by Ric_of_MAF Thumbnail by Ric_of_MAF Thumbnail by Ric_of_MAF
Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

What a difference one spring day&night make! Checked my winter sown pots yesterday and found no new sprouts. Today I checked and found that nineteen (19) species had begun germination overnight.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Hooray!

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

That's great, Greenthumb. This rain should get seedlings growing pretty quickly.

I liked GT's idea, too, but unfortunately I didn't follow the "only a few seeds in each cell" idea.

I did better spacing out some seeds than others. Here are photos of my "High Occupancy Seedlings" trays. I never thought that so many would germinate!

What should I do? Clip a few seedlings with a little pair of scissors now or wait until they get bigger?

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

LOL Muddy.
Seems like 99% of the time you get 90% germination, or 0%.
I am a wimp on thinning. I'd wait for a next leaf or two then start culling the smaller ones. In theory. Don't look at my thicket of swiss chard seedlings as guide.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

I found a problem with my winter sown flats. When I put them on the bench I absently minded place a terracotta saucer on one, it should have been both. The unweighted one blew off the bench in the nasty winds we had the other day. I probably lost 50% of it. Oh well, we'll just have to see if anything comes up.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

I wonder how many is too many when it comes to OSP. My first flat of them is growing so well that I am thinking of taking cuttings from them to root. Ric says he want's them to grow in the Veggie garden.

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

Love OSP especially the Limey green one.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Looks like I should have plenty for the Swap. Jan are you going to make it to the swap this year?

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Darn, RIc, sorry!

Salem Cnty, NJ(Zone 7b)

I am working on it. Thanks for asking, Holly!! Stay tuned.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I hope you'll come Jan!

Aargh, Ric; I hope most of the seeds come up anyway! I've had a couple of pots of seeds tip over. I swept the dirt from one into a nearby bed; it'll be interesting to see if anything sprouts.

I like sweet potato vines, but I had trouble growing them. I can't remember whether the problem was deer, or slugs, or both.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Slugs love sweet potato vines!

Speaking of slugs, are they active yet?

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I have turned over pavers...bricks...rocks...pots sitting there all winter---and seen
young slugs under them. All this wet spring must be like heaven tot hem.

Lts of earthworms too---trying to flee the water. G.

Mount Laurel, NJ(Zone 7a)

Hi Holly, just wanted to say hello and let you know that the small pink hellebore plant you gave me a while back is now looking good and blooming! The black pussy willow from cuttings is also blooming and thriving now!! thank you =)

Happy Holidays,
Diana

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

There are lots of slugs hibernating in my yard, but I haven't seen them eating anything yet.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Wind so glad you are enjoying them.
You can do an ammonia drench for slugs, I have a friend that is a Hosta enthusiast and I will say that when the slugs are all over my plants I think that I should have tried it. But I think that would kill all the organisms in my flower beds and I am not sure that is such a good thing to do. Right about now would be when you do them.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

What dilution would the Ammonia--water be?

Vinegar works too--I think. I know if I pick up my bird bath saucer and there is a
community of slugs under it--I just sprinkle straight vinegar on them and they are
gone in a few seconds--pretty much like when you sprinkle salt on them.

Which would be the least toxic to other organisms?

G.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Yes that is what I do a little slug hunting around dusk will provide a bountiful harvest. When we had the first 3 little chickies they did great slug patrol especially around the rock wall beds. The idea with the ammonia drench is it pretty much kills them all even the very tiny ones and then you are done with them for the season as I understand it. Does anyone do this or had an opinion on doing it. I think about trying it from time to time. I would have to look up the ratio Gita.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Seems like you could put vinegar or ammonia in a spray bottle and get good coverage on slugs you see while not putting too much of the vinegar or ammonia anywhere to harm lots of other things.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Vinegar is quite acidic, as you probably know. It is used as an organic means of weed control, thus deters plants in general. Ammonia (household ammonia), on the other hand, is a base, and quickly breaks down into water and ammonia gas. It provides nitrogen to plants and I have used it in a spray bottle to dispatch slugs without harm to plants. Can't speak to the issue of effect on fauna other than slugs, but ammonia water is safer for your plants.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

ammonia it is, then! esp since my soil tends to acidic, oughta neutralize it right quick.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Just a short term pH change, as household ammonia is simply ammonia gas dissolved in water. Once no longer contained, the ammonia quickly dissipates into the surrounding air and the liquid applied loses its basic pH value.

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