First Time Wintersowing #7: The sproutlet watch.

Corrales, NM(Zone 7a)

Welcome! Many of us here are wintersowing for the first time this year. We hang out on this thread to discuss any and all questions, comments and happenings along the way. Those of you who are experienced - come help us! : )

We came from here:

Do you have sprouts? about 12 I think that have germinated so far.

I just heard that we could get snow on Saturday! It figures, I am more ready for spring.

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Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Nope... still no sprouts. though it is COLD here. maybe next week or so.

i have a few in a south facing window -- but that does not count for WS.

New Braunfels, TX(Zone 8b)

We have had rain finally! I did run out in it before dawn this morning to close the lids on some of the jugs that have germinated and that I haven't set out yet. I had mental images of plants and dirt floating out of the containers, because they couldn't drain fast enough. Probably nothing to be concerned about, just didn't want to take a chance on loosing my babies in the deluge. So thankful for the rain! We have been in such a severe drought. I am excited to see how the rain affects all those plants that I have already put in the beds! They always seem to take a huge growth spurt after having that natural drink. We are looking at another 2 days of rain. Yeah!

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

I am not clear if I should go ahead and do my Sonata Mix Cosmos yet or wait. I am going to wait a bit on my Zinnias.

Eunice, MO(Zone 5b)

Thank you very much for the new and faster thread. Slow dial up here and it was taking a bit of time to load.

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

nanny: Cosmos can be pretty sensitive to frost. If you still expect deep freeze at night, just be prepared to check on them and cover or protect for a good freeze.


Thanks for the info on Cismos. I was about to start some, but now I'll wait a bit.

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

Yup...better wait a few more weeks here too. Thanks!

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Jim: I'm not sure how your zone 7b compares to our U.S. zone 7b. My guess is that your cosmos would be fine. Only thing is, they could croak if you get too cold weather after they sprout. If you're Ok with just throwing a blanket over them on really freezing cold nights after they sprout, then all would be fine.

I try to take clues from the weather forecasters, too. True, often they're wrong, but at least they can usually tell the difference between approaching warmer or colder fronts. It got down to at least 27 degrees here last night, maybe colder. Tonight and tomorrow nights supposed to be in the mid to upper 20s too; after that, days 40s to 50s and nights in the 30s. Time permitting I hope to start sowing some tenders like tomatoes and cosmos within the next week. But if they sprout and we get a hard freeze I'll give them extra protection.

I have six jugs sprouted now- ringed bellflower, gaillardia, petunia, Calif. poppy, rudbeckias, and digitalis. They held up fine to lows in the 20s last night with no protection other than their closed milk jugs. They're all things that will stand up to cold weather.

Remember, most things won't sprout until they know it's time. No way would my tomatoes sprout in these temps, it's just too cold. But if I put them out and the days warm and they sprout, I'll just cover with an extra sheet on nights in the 20s.


Well, the zone map says 7b, but we live up the side of a mountain and I notice that our Spring bulbs, for example, always bloom about 2 weeks later than those down in the village, just 3 minute walk down the mountainside!

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

Regarding cosmos, that was the only container of mine that suffered in the recent cold snap here. All soil was frozen rock hard but all other sproutlets have nicely maintained their viability -- except the barely just germinated cosmos which turned to mush.

They might have survived if I had covered them that first night but no big loss here as everything else is fine and I can resow cosmos easily enough, whew!

Putnam County, IN(Zone 5b)

My rudbeckia Prairie Sun is the only thing that has psrouted so far...which is okay since we are still cold here!

Ladoga, IN(Zone 6a)

I have maltese cross, shasta daisy, sunflower, and Bachelor's Button "blackball" sproutlets.It is soooooooooo exciting, and scarey at the same time.

(Chris) Des Moines, IA(Zone 5a)

Karen, we're still in the cold, so I haven't gone out to check the sproutlets yet. DH covered them for me last night just in case, so now I'm a nervous wreak LOL..
It's like: it's going to be cold, I should cover them. It's going to be rain/snow/sleet, I should leave them uncovered for the moisture. It's going to be cold, I don't want the babies to die. It's going to be rain/snow/sleet, they need a drink. It's going to be cold..It's going to be rain/snow/sleet.. and on and on LOL... so I left them covered :) They've got a big piece of cardboard over them, so they won't get moisture but it will help with the cold. I can always water if I need to (which I've had to do already! It's been a really dry winter.)
Even today, it snowed for about 30 mins and didn't stick to the ground.. and that's the FIRST snow for the whole winter! Not good..

I'll check the plants tomorrow afternoon and report back :)

New Haven, CT(Zone 6b)

Two more containers with sprouts!! Allyssum and osteospermum (?sp)--we seem to be getting similar weather: days in the 40's and nights in the 20's. Maybe 50 by Saturday. I gave in and raked around the bulbs hoping for the best. I just needed to do SOMETHING outside! And did more WSing. I think I'm addicted....

I don't remember if this question was answered, but I think someone asked it a week ago: with leaves as compost, is there any problem with disease or mold?? My SO mowed over the leaves to chop them up and we used them on many of the flower beds. It doesn't look too bad and I thot I'd just leave them there for the plants to grow thru. But the whole leaves look kinda messy and seem matted over the other beds so I raked them off.

Cumberland Mtns, TN(Zone 6b)

we've had another roller coaster week of weather here. i worked outside in short sleeve tshirt tuesday and tonight we had sleet and snow. i've not been home before dark the last two nights, but I'll be out there tomorrow even if it's with a flashlight looking for any progress.

here's my thought....if a perrenial doesn't sprout from my efforts, then my jugs will be ready for a 2nd wave....with annuals. LOL i have plenty.

congrats on the blue flax, Jim. I meant to add sooner, your excel sounds WAY better than mine.

I want an assistant, a maid, a nurse for my dad, AND now a data entry clerk. =)

WOW! Six (6) more containers sprouted overnight!
Verbascum phoenicium 'Violetta'
Heuchera hallii
Giant Purple Poppy
Achillea 'Summer Berries' Mix
Gazania 'Daybreak'
Blue Daisy (Felicia heterophylla 'The Blues')

Send me your email, Phyl, and I'll send you my Excel spreadsheet and you can see if it will work for you.

Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

I just have one container of Tidy Tips sprouted. I was so excited to see them up!


Thumbnail by nutsfordaylily
Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

dlw28, if you use leaves for mulch it's best to chop them up. Use a shredder or the lawnmower with a bag to catch them.


Carrollton, TX(Zone 8a)

nanniepb, I'd trade all the assistants, maids, entry clerks, and errand boys in the world for a live-in masseuse. All this bending over to peek in the milk jugs has my back in knots! :D


Camden, AR(Zone 8a)

Well, Cosmos was one of the things I had sprouted ..... it had gotten planted by mistake because I didn't think I was planting annuals.... but I have that and either the red or blue flax (whichever is annual) in my jugs. Both have sprouted of course! It has been raining, dreary and cold here but not to freezing.... so maybe they are ok. Not sure what the weather is supposed to do tonight!

I have some jugs that are almost "wall to wall" sprouts - now I understand about the HUNK of seedlings thing!! and then I have other jugs that have one little sprout in it. I have some that are barely mm's tall and others that are already up several inches ...... and some that have NO SIGN of life at all!! Odd how they all perform differently after being planted on the same day.

I hear ya Nannie on all the "help"...... don't know about at your place, but there is NO HOPE here!! ^_^


Camden, AR(Zone 8a)

oh yeah..... we cross posted GreenerBeaner - but I beleive I could make that trade as well!!

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

Genna -- where the flax are concerned... Red = Annual ..... Blue = Perennial

Winchester, KY(Zone 6a)

GB, I hear ya, I emit a groan quite often after closely eying for sprouts, LOL.

Gen, I think both Flax should be fine unprotected, but the Cosmos are frost sensitive once they've sprouted. It could be covered or brought in. Even within the same species I've had containers germinate at strikingly different rates, I think that's normal. Well, for that matter I've even had seeds in an individual container germinate very sporadically, spread out over months sometimes.

Camden, AR(Zone 8a)

Yeah, maybe that is one of Mother Natures' protection mechanisms ..... to keep everything from being wiped out at one time in the event of a freak freeze or storm....???

Thanks for the info on the Flax - I have it written on the jug... just can't keep it straight in my head yet... ^_^

Most of these things I have planted I don't have a clue what they are until I go look them up in plant files..... then the next time I look at the name, I have forgotten AGAIN!!

Maybe instead of all those helpers ...I need a brain transplant................

Eunice, MO(Zone 5b)

I now have poppy sprouts and sedum sprouts. I can't believe this actually works!

Brownstown, IN(Zone 5b)

I have blue flax, gypsophilia, scabiosa 'Blanco',knautia and red flax germinated. Knautia has only 1 sprout so far, probably would have had more but as you all know it got cold again.

(Chris) Des Moines, IA(Zone 5a)

I undercovered all my jugs and there are more showing little green heads! I'll have to go through my list to see what all is coming up :) Then I'll show you my list!

Cincinnati, OH(Zone 6a)

Me, too. I worked yesterday and only peeked into my jugs quickly yesterday. I only have about 20 jugs out so far but have at least one or 2 sprouts in about half of them now. I'll do a more thorough check today.


Chalfont, PA(Zone 6b)

I have sprouts! I'm really excited! I'm a first timer:

Here's what's coming up so far:
1. Painted Daisy "single mix"
2. Alyssum "Wonderland Citron"
3. Alyssum "Aphrodite Purple"
4. Alyssum "Golf Pure White"
5. Alyssum "Golf Violet"
6. Lupine "Gallery Pink"
7. Lupine "The Governor"
8. Geranium "Vision Violet"
9. Geranium "Vision Light Pink"
10. Maiden Pinks
11. Larkspur "Kaleidescope MIx"
12. Blue Bedder Salvia
13. Papaver orientales "Princess Victoria Louise"
14. Papaver orientales "Pizzicato"
15. Dianthus amurensis "siberian blues"
16. Matthiola incana (I'm really excited about these. They are from Thomas Jefferson's garden at Monticello, and are supposed to be tall white double stocks).

Colorado Springs, CO(Zone 6a)

I'm really, really late to join this thread, so please forgive my dumb questions. I take it ya'll are setting seeds in milk jugs OUTSIDE, inside large plastic boxes with the lids on? If so, WOW, you guys have cojones!!

I've just set out seeds INSIDE here in Colorado Springs, and have several trays in the fridge (delphs, penstemon, and columbine). Have lots of others out as well, including blackberry lillies, black hollyhocks, and lots and lots of veggies. The weather here in Colorado Springs has been really bizarre (waaaaaaaay too warm for March!), so I've wondered if I should buck up my courage and stick some of the seeds outside.

Thoughts? Too late to start?

Also, has anyone had any luck with setting out Sea Holly seeds (inside or outside) this late? I didn't realize they needed to go outside in the fall, and don't want to have wait that long!

Yet Another Karen

(Chris) Des Moines, IA(Zone 5a)

Here is the list of jugs showing little green things.. in some cases, just barely showing out of the soil LOL .. but that counts to me!!

1. Blanket Flower
2. Dwarf Sunflower "Teddy Bear"
3. Yellow Marigolds (my seed, IDNK)
4. Orange Zinnia (same)
5. Mammoth Sunflower
6. Red Cypress Vine (Cardinal Climber)
7. White Cypress Vine
8. Carpet of Snow (TONS!)
9. French Marigold
10. Purple Coneflower
11. Dinnerplate Zinnia (3 different colors were given to me by Merpeg. I find it interesting that only 2 colors have sprouted so far even though all 3 jugs were planted the same day.)

I also have two cat litter jugs (20 lb size that I laid on their sides) full of Lazlo's Mystery Mix and both have sproutlets.
There's one jug that has Apocynaceae Nerium (Oleander) in it and it has one sprout in it, but it's different looking, so I'm wondering if a stray weed seed got into the jug. The sprout is very narrow and pointed. I'll have to go see if I can find out what the sproutlets should look like for this one.

So, not too bad and I'm planning on doing around another 5-10 jugs this weekend. As of right now, I have 40 jugs and about a fourth of them have sprouted. But of course, I didn't WS all 40 on the same day- these were done over a period from Feb 1st through Mar 7th.

Needless to say, I'm now hooked on WSing :)

Corrales, NM(Zone 7a)

Hi Karen! Welcome! I hope people can answer a few of your questions. This is my first year doing this. I am trying to fill up an acre of landscaped property that had been neglected for years. When I read about wintersowing it just made sense.

A helpful site to read more information is the site.

As for me I have put seeds in milk jugs, juice containers, animal cracker plastic containers, and huge pretzel containers.... (I am lucky to have 5 little guys who produce a huge amount of recyclable material!) I plant the seeds and put them out in the shade on the north side of the house. No boxes, no lids for me. I make drainage holes in the containers and make sure they have enough soil to hold water. From what I understand this would be the same effect as the flats you have in your refrigerator. The ones that need cold stratification will be frozen and thawed naturally in the weather.

We are gettting weird weather too. Much warmer than usual. I am still planting. Our nighttime temps are still in the 30s, so I figure they will at least get some of the cold benefits. I am waiting a bit to sow the annuals, just because we usually get some late hard frosts. You should try it!

I don't know anything about Sea Holly though, maybe someone else can help there.

Good luck!

Richmond, VA(Zone 7a)

Whoop! *sing*sing*! Whoop! I am so happy!

LOL! I just planted out my spinach in a large window box shaped planter, rearranged all the jugs so they look nice (the germinated ones) -- a few are just barely barely showing germination so I separated them to one side, and then another smaller group of ones that are showing no signs as yet.

WSed a second sowing of thyme, lavender, chamomile, salvia officinalis, and a few other things.....

My parsley is germinated! My lavender is doing splendid well, oh joy!!!!!!

Karen, if you have milk jugs (well, I use water jugs but the same thing) you do not need the plastic Walmart type tote containers. The milk jugs do it all. Do go to the site Lissa linked and also to the sticky in this forum, for pretty much everything you need to know.

Yeah it is scary at first til you see how well it works.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

I wintersowed 13 containers in February. Thanks to some warm weather we've had, many of them have sprouted. I planted 8 more yesterday! So far these have sprouted:

Pink Skullcap
Black Eyed Susans
Texas Sage (2 containers, 1 pink, 1 red)
Purple Coneflower (1 sprout)
Blanket Flower
Balloon Flower
a low-growing mix of wildflowers

This has been loads of fun and I'm hooked on it for next year!

Camden, AR(Zone 8a)

I have about 50 jugs done so far and I would estimate that at least 75% of them have sprouted....... I haven't made a list yet. The cosmos and some other annuals seemed to have survived this recent cold snap just fine..... not sure how they will handle all this rain though... They are waterlogged!!

Buckley, WA(Zone 7b)

I no.w have 23 jugs sprouting out of 181
Siberian Wallflower (2)
Gloria Jean Yarrow
Blue Grass Pea
Citrus Cocktails Marigolds
Tiny Tips
Bachelor Buttons
Pot of Gold Marigolds (3)
Mexican Hats (2)
Black Eyed Susans (2)
Marble Arch Salvia
Shirley Poppies (3)

Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

Well, I finally have another container sprouting seeds. That would be my Achillea 'Summer Pastels'. Yeehaw!!!!!! I'm thrilled!!!! Still waiting for more to sprout. Only 2 have sprouted so far. I will be sowing more tomorrow.


Eunice, MO(Zone 5b)

Karen, yeah you got it right. These idiots convinced me to go out in the snow this winter and plant seeds! I do not know what is crazier, the fact that I did it or the fact that they are sprouting!

Cumberland Mtns, TN(Zone 6b)

We woke up to everything covered in ice yesterday so while I was taking pictures, I peeked in my jugs....I'd say easily 2/3rds have sprouted, but I didnt get to look at names. I made another 6 or 7 today, but i'm still plugging along. needing more containers is the draw back next to not enough time at home this week.

i think i'll try gallon freezer bags but I need to secure something for them to sit in. maybe tomorrow.

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