A few wintersowing questions

(Zone 6a)

This is going to be my first year wintersowing so I have a few questions... :) I'd like to hear what everyone thinks about them.
First, I'm going to be doing my sowing in an unheated greenhouse so I thought I shouldn't cover my containers to avoid baking the seeds....Does this sound right?
Second, I've got a few seeds like Heliotrope, and Celosias which are rated as having no frost tolerance...Any successes?
And thrid, I need advice on WSing Pelargonium(annual geranium)

Steve :)

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Steve: So you are going to place your containers in a greenhouse? Actually, that is not what winter sowing is. Winter sowing involves placing the containers outside, exposed to the elements, in vented, covered containers. I'm not saying that a greenhouse doesn't work, it's just not winter sowing.

I'm sorry that I can't help with your questions. Maybe you'd like to try it and leave a few outdoors in the snow. You don't have to water until spring; the snow and rain do that for you. And no damping off! We're a friendly bunch, would love to have you aboard.


Ashdown, AR(Zone 8a)

I WS in unheated greenhouse and still call it winter sewing. I use to sew outside but critters,wild and domestic tromped thur my flats and displaced seeds from one tray to the next,knocked flats over or off benches and my seeds and soil doesn't get pounded out of the containers in heavy storms. I even had armadillos dig out 2-3 dz.gal. pots of baptisia one year,that I had outside.

I'm in Ark.zone 8 so I don't cover my seed containers but since winter sewn seeds are meant to be expose to the elliments I would say you don't have to either.


(Zone 6a)

Thanks, Karen and bigred for your replies. When I think about it, I don't even know if I could call it winter sowing if I stuck the seeds out in the elements....Cause we've got next to no snow! We've only been getting light dustings as of yesterday. The ground isn't even frozen.....
I think I'll still stick my seeds in the greenhouse otherwise I'll have to contend with the Squirrels and Racoons.........and myself getting frustrated....


Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Does anyone put chicken grit on top of the soil? I know I did this with seedlings inside, because they deter fungus gnats. Is that not a problem for winter sowing?

(Zone 6a)

Hi Nikki, as far as I've heard thats not a problem with wintersowing.
But hopefully someone will come along who knows more.....

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Nikki, I've never had a fungus gnat infestation with wintersown containers (at least not in the 2 years I've tried this method, LOL)... I think they are mainly an issue for indoor or greenhouse seedlings. On the other hand, I don't think chicken grit would be bad in any way for WS containers... if your indoor seedlings can push through a layer of it, so can your outdoor ones.

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

I asked the question then had to do a lot of family stuff, I'm just getting back! I put the grit in 5 containers, I'll leave the others, and I'll have something to compare to. Hopefully not harm done.

(Zone 6a)

Maybe this is a strange question..............but whats chicken grit???

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

It's crushed oyster shells, used to give with feed for chickens to help them digest in their gizzard. For fungus gnats, the sharp edges is supposed to deter little buggies in the muggy air.

(Zone 6a)

Ahh, thanks Nikki.

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

It has been suggested for rooted cuttings, so I figured I would ask about seedlings. I had a bit of a problem when I sowed indoors. I've never done winter sowing until this year.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

It is also available in the form of crushed granite, which won't affect the Ph. But I can't find any anywhere near to me in either form (nikki_conway, have you found a source?).

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

I got mine from the local feed store. I'm not sure where to order online.
This one is on Frederick Rd. and St. John's.

(Zone 6a)

Here's a photo of my first containers. Oh, and those arn't my labels on the top....I just didn't pick them off, they're the containers fruit salad or chopped melon come in.

Thumbnail by SW_gardener
Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Some folks use diatomaceous earth sprinkled on the soil surface (or set out in small trays moistened with water to serve as traps?) to deter fungus gnats. DE is made up of silicon "skeletons" of diatoms (tiny plankton critters), so it feels like talcum to me but more like powdered sharp glass to little pests.

You can get DE at the garden center, but if you need it in quantity or more cheaply, try a pool supply store (it's used in filters).


Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

I have that too, I don't know why I didn't think to put it on the seedlings......Thanks

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