Winter Sown Peppers (Tomatos)

midmented(6B)January 1, 2013

I tried winter sowing last year for the first time using gallon milk jugs. The pepper seed that I planted did not produce a single plant BUT the same saved seed (same soil) I planted inside germinated at around 90%. The jugs (and bus boy containers) were placed outside around the 3rd week of January (pictures: http://midmented.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/garden-status-saving-cauliflower-seed/). I'm not understanding what went wrong. Some of the bell peppers came up but all others did not.
I am guessing that they were sat outside too early. Is there a zone 6 schedule to follow on when to set the containers outside?

Here is a link that might be useful: DW®'s Blog

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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Peppers can be difficult with this method, particularly bell peppers. I've had success with jalapenos, and I usually put them out in Feb., but bell peppers just don't seem to thrive for me this way. Ditto for eggplant, which sprouts, but then just stops growing.

It shouldn't matter when you set them out -- they won't come up until the conditions are right for them. This isn't really a way to get a jumpstart on the season, but more like an assist to nature by keeping your seedlings in place. It's also a way to grow from seed without taking up a lot of space inside and it eliminates the need for grow lights and hardening off.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 5:53AM
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sandysgardens

Peppers are tender annuals in areas that get below 50 degrees. They Love warm soil and do best germinating in warm soil and warm air, or actually a bit warmer than house temp soil. My peppers get started on a heat mat with soil temps at approx 85 degrees. Hot varieties are the finickiest and pretty much insist on warm soil.

All my flowers however are Wintersown, and I have great success.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 6:39AM
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midmented(6B)

Thanks for the replies!

I've been all over the web looking at different blogs / forums reading about how other people winter sow. From everything I have read, most people in zone 6 have had their best luck by waiting until around the first week in March before winter sowing peppers and tomatoes.
I have 50+ milk jugs waiting for winter sow. Because of little space to grow indoors, I need an alternate method of starting a lot of tomato and pepper plants. Last year my tomato and pepper plants were not in the ground until June.
I might try a hoop house again but I can't monitor it as well as I'd like to.

Here is a link that might be useful: DW�'s Blog

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:21AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Hmm, I winter sow all my peppers and tomatoes with great success. I *do* start them a bit later - end of March or so. Like caryltoo says, this isn't necessarily a "jump-start" method, so they will germinate when they are ready. My personal preference anyway is to sow a little at a time (6-8 jugs at a time, two to four times a week) so I can enjoy it all winter and into spring. So for me, waiting to sow the the veggies and herbs is bearable, lol.

Here in my neck of the woods, June is about right for setting out tomato plants. Actually, it was either last year or perhaps the year before that it was still rather cold at that time! I have a stack of soda bottle tops - well, I should say the top halves of soda bottles - that I put out over each tomato seedling if the temps are still cool. I take the caps off, pop the top half over the seedling, and that gives it a bit more protection. But the seedlings have been outside anyway so they are used to the weather, and I only use this if the spring has been unusually cool (in which case on cold nights I sometimes close the top half of the milk jugs loosely over the bottom half for those seedlings which are not yet planted out).

Dee

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 5:44PM
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midmented(6B)

I think I will start WSing peppers and tomatoes around mid-February, 4-6 milk jugs a week. We have a large area to plant this year (2 gardens).
The cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower) normally does not do good until fall planting and I start them outside around the end of June. Cabbage seems to do ok as a spring crop but not as well as in the fall.
I've saved a few hundred seeds from last years Roma tomatoes and have around 50 Romanian pepper seeds left from 2011. I am praying that I can get a lot of both plants this year!

Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 7:36PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Nice looking garden, midmented!

Wow, sounds like you do a LOT of tomatoes and peppers. How many seeds do you sow per jug? This year I am trying to restrain myself. I'm going to try to only sow a few (3-4) varieties of tomatoes and then only sow about 4 to 5 of each type. I always get carried away!

Dee

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 9:58PM
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ladyrose65

We end buying peppers at the nursery. Tomatoes, eggplant, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, okra do very well. I've noticed they must have full sun.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 10:24PM
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midmented(6B)

Usually I put about a dozen seeds per jug. If no one else wants the excess plants (which NEVER happens), I thin them out or transplant. I normally grow no more than 3 varieties of tomato or pepper and try to keep it at only 2. I save the pepper and tomato seed and have worried about getting a cross mix. A friend of mine ended up with striped yellow looking Roma tomato from his saved seed last year. He grew 5 different varieties the year before.
I used to buy my tomato and pepper plants UNTIL I saw some growing locally in a garden that looked awesome. They gave me a couple of tomatoes and peppers so I saved the seed from them. From then on, I never buy plants and start my own seed from produce I see grown in local gardens. It made sense only after I started saving local seed. Normally, I get double to triple the amount of produce from saving local seed vs buying from the nursery or buying from seed companies.
We tested germination rates of the seed saved from local gardens vs seed bought from local stores. A friend of mine has a small greenhouse and had an increase of 15% - 20% using local saved seed. The plants were a lot hardier and produced much better.
We plant squash, cucumber, and pumpkins from seed. We went the route of planting the plants but got much better results from planting from seed. The shock from transplanting slowed down growth so far that the plants from seed grew faster than the transplants.
Gardening: We learn what works by a lot of trial and error. Thanks to the internet, we can progress with a lot less failed attempts!

Thanks for all the comments!

Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 6:59AM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Yeah, I usually do about a dozen seeds per milk jug with my vegetables too (except for lettuce and spinach). This year I think I will just do about 4 seeds per jug. I don't even really need 4 plants of each variety, but I'm convinced that the year I sow only two seeds is the year I will get zero germination, lol. Besides, as you say, it's so easy to give away extra plants!

I have saved seed from a few things here and there but honestly for me it's just too much trouble. The harvesting, the storing, remembering where I put them, lol... besides, I can't resist the seed catalogs!

Dee

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 5:42PM
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midmented(6B)

The hardest seed to save for me is tomato. Pepper seed is very easy. I've saved onion, corn, potato, pole beans, peas, pumpkin, cherries, asparagus, watermelon, and cantaloupe. Cole crops are difficult. I've never been able to get the seed. They never get to the point of getting pods.
Anyway, you should give it a try. I clean out old medicine bottles and take off the label writing the seed type on the bottle. I get so much better germination and more produce from my own saved seed than from anything else.

Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog

    Bookmark   January 4, 2013 at 9:43PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Interesting stuff. I usually do about 9-12 seeds per milk jug, and I'll probably start the perennials, lettuce and cole veggies in the next week or so, tomatoes and flowers throughout Feb. and March.

Midment, it's good to hear that I'm not the only one who can't get broccoli as a spring/summer plant. I've tried and tried and get almost no head formation. I guess it gets too warm too fast here. So sowing direct in June will get me a fall crop? Late June?

And ladyrose, you said eggplant does well for you? Do you do anything special when you ws it? I've tried a few years in a row and the seeds sprout but then just stop growing. It's pretty much the only thing that's been a total, time-after-time ws failure for me. Even peppers, which start off slow sometimes, usually do OK once it warms up and they're in the ground, but not eggplant. I usually end up buying a plant or two.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 9:06AM
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midmented(6B)

Yes, the cole crops do much better in the fall in this area. I plant the seed outside in bus boy containers around mid June and put wire mesh over the top. The squirrels like to dig in the containers and the birds love to snip off the little plants. This is a spring picture (http://midmented.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/img_1607.jpg) but an example (tried winter sowing in bus boy containers) of the containers with wire mesh. I don't put the plants in until late july. They grow really slow at first then really take off when the weather starts cooling off. Since you mentioned getting warm to fast, thats exactly why I switched to planting most of the cole crops in the fall. It seems the growing season is much longer in the fall for cole crops. They can take frost and keep on growing.
My wife wants eggplant this year so I bought some seed. I never grew it so tips are helpful!

A lot of my success and failures (but not all) are on my blog. I actually started the blog for myself as a diary and it has been very helpful in remembering a lot of things. I'd really suggest it to anyone wanting to keep a garden diary with pictures. Plus, it's free!

Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 8:24AM
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shellva(Camden 7b/8a)

I am on the cusp of zone 7/8. I sow my tomatoes in jugs about the last week in February and my peppers about mid March. I typically sow 3-4 seeds per variety and 3 varieties per jug for a total of 12-16 seeds. Once the seeds sprout I wait a couple of weeks, not necessarily waiting for true leaves, then I carefully transplant each seedling to it's own pot. I keep the pots in a semi clear storage container out on my deck taking the lid off/on as needed because my temperatures can swing like crazy in Spring. The tomatoes usually get potted up one more time before going out to the garden in early May, with peppers going out about the end of May. I have read over and over how difficult peppers can be but I have had incredible success with both tomaotoes and peppers using this system. *hope I haven't jinxed myself* I, too, have never found it difficult to find homes for any extra seedlings I may have.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 9:31PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Wow, Midmented, just looked at your blog. Your garden is amazing. My herb garden might become a raised bed this year. It's a long strip next to a fence, but it gets overrun every year. My husband keeps promising he'll frame out a raised bed there, but we'll see.

As for the openings on the milk jugs, I prefer the hinged approach. I just duct tape all around and it stays nice and warm with lots of condensation. Mine sit on the patio, and unless we get no rain or snow I usually don't have to water (well, maybe some of the smaller, quart size jugs). The 2-liter soda bottles work great, too -- just cut the top half off, plant then push the top over the bottom. No taping needed on those.

My problem this year might be the new dog -- we got him last June as a 1-year-old great dane that someone who knew someone we know couldn't keep. He wreaked havoc on the few pots of perennials I was nurturing, grabbing them and dragging them into the yard. I managed to rescue a few after I realized what was happening. I'm pretty sure he'll appreciate the handles on the jugs for easy carrying. lol.

Caryl

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 5:19AM
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midmented(6B)

shellva: Based upon what I've been reading this forum a lot. I think I will be winter sowing peppers and tomatoes on the same schedule you mentioned above. Tomatoes, last week in February, Peppers, 2 weeks later. I am going to "hinge" the rest of the milk jugs I have to make it easier to work with seed / plants. I have 24 jugs already that are "non-hinged" and have another 24 jugs. Thanks for the tips!

caryltoo: Thanks for the compliment and tips! I went to raised beds after finding someone tearing down their 7 year old pool deck. Raised beds have a lot of advantages and I will probably keep making them as long as I find decent free lumber. :) I have a friend whom has a dog that likes to dig in the garden. The dog digs less in the raised beds.

Thanks for all the replies!

Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 9:58AM
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midmented(6B)

Oh, if you are planning a raised bed, I bought a scoop of mixed half top soil with half mushroom mulch from a local nursery. I wait about 2 years before I add any serious amount of compost to it. Through trial and error, I tried a lot of different soil mixtures but for vegetable gardening, that seems to work the best. Economical as well. I think I paid $30 for the scoop and it filled a 30" x 8ft bed plus I had extra. I also experimented with different sizes of raised beds. A 30" to 34" inside width seemed to work best.
Anything wider and I was reaching in pretty far for any weeding or harvesting.

Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog

    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 5:54PM
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pinusresinosa(MN Z4)

Midmented, your blog is a goldmine of info. Thanks for linking to it!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 1:26PM
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midmented(6B)

Thanks, I try to post what comes to mind when it comes to ideas, success, failures, etc. I've learned a lot along the way and thought it was important to keep a decent picture diary as a record.
One very big lesson I've learned is not to use Miracle Grow. Since stopping about 3 years ago, I've had a greater success rate making my own compost.

Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog

    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 4:15PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Midmented, thanks for the soil advice. We're in mushroom country here so that's pretty easy to find. Haven't had a problem with the dogs digging, but then everything but the herbs are fenced.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 6:37AM
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midmented(6B)

I need to create good schedule for winter sowing different things at different times. Does anyone have a schedule they have (week by week) of when to sow which vegetable? Things I'd like to winter sow are: (Tomatoes and peppers I figured out), Eggplant, Marigolds, Cabbage, asparagus seed and onion seed.

Thanks in advance!

Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 11:54AM
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growsy(8b GA)

I am enjoying your blog, too, midmented!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 2:31PM
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pghgardengirl(6b SW PA)

I only have success with eggplants started inside and transplanted to large containers or pots. My eggplants have never been fond of the unpredictable swings we get in temp May and June. They definitely like it warm...

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 6:30PM
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midmented(6B)

Occasionally, I visit a local produce grower and get the chance to walk the fields with him. Kindly, he answers a few questions each time. Last year I noticed a row of eggplants that were growing very nicely but never asked what variety they were. Interestly enough, they were on the backside of a hill where they didn't get much early morning sun but from late morning on they did. I always thought they needed full sun but his were looking really good. I'll have to drop by early season this year and ask for a few pointers.

Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog

    Bookmark   January 10, 2013 at 6:47PM
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midmented(6B)

Talked to a few people today that have successfully had good germination rates WS pepper seed. They told me they used burpee coir potting soil which is available at Lowes at a good price right now. Evidently the difference is having a finer mix that holds together well so a lot of soil makes contact with the seed. It's worth a shot so I'll head over to Lowes tonight or tomorrow and get a couple bags.

Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog

1 Like    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 6:17PM
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pghgardengirl(6b SW PA)

I used coir last year and I am hooked! I did do an experiment with it. Make sure to mix the coir with seed starting mix/potting soil. For me, just straight coir had really good germination rates but then the plants stopped growing. The ones where I mixed half and half grew really well.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 9:15PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Darn, was just at lowe's yesterday, too. Now I'll have to make another trip to try the coir (and since it's right next to my gym I should be going there more anyway, lol). I'll also mix it because germination hasn't been my problem, it's getting them to grow afterward -- they just sit there at a couple inches high. Same thing happens with eggplant. Thanks for the tips.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 6:18AM
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midmented(6B)

Picked up 3 bags at about $3.50 a bag. It doesn't say coir on the bag but at the bottom it does say made from coconut fiber. Burpee Seed Starter.

Here is a link that might be useful: Picture of bag

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 8:33PM
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thebluemoth(7)

Hello Everyone,

I just posted my first forum post a few minutes ago and then immediately came to read this and found my question answered as it related to the number of seeds I should use per container. The discussion here gave me a 'ball park' figure and I can go from there...right? Right. :D!

It also gave me a good idea of when to WS my tomatoes and peppers. I knew I wouldn't be doing them until later on but, based on what I've read here, my initial instincts were right in terms of waiting a little longer for those.

Anyone tried Scarlet Runner Beans...and, if so, what were your results? And timing?

Thanks for the help! Sowing begins tomorrow!

Blue

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 9:09PM
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midmented(6B)

It was recommended that coir be mixed with potting soil to allow the roots a little more room to develop once germinated so I'm not surprised to hear that you had better luck with mixing it.

This year I really want to get a lot of sweet banana peppers growing. My sister said she used Mrs Wages bread and butter canning mix to make pickled sweet banana peppers to put on sandwiches. I'm a big Mrs Wages fan so I want to try the same thing. The only Mrs Wages mix we didn't like was pickled beets. It called for onions which overpowered the taste.

As I mentioned earlier, I haven't had a lot of luck WSing pepper seed but with everything I've learned from reading the WSing forum, my luck may change.

Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 5:12AM
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ryseryse_2004

My experience is that peppers need lots of heat to germinate and with WS, that comes too late in Z5. I WS just about everything but for peppers and tomatoes, I start them indoors. Actually, I start the peppers indoors on a heat mat mid Feb. because they take a long time to actually produce peppers.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 4:51PM
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MissyGA64(8 (central GA))

Hello Everyone,

I am new to gardening and WSing. I have about 20 containers out, a few varieties of tomatoes, several kinds of peppers, 2 kinds of beans and a 3-4 different flowers. Almost everything has sprouted in the last week or so. The ghost peppers and goose creek tomatoes are the only ones not sprouted yet. We are expecting what I hope is our last frost this weekend. I am so anxious to get these babies in the ground.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 12:19AM
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MLcom(z6NJ)

Love Winter Sowing. Started in Feb 2005. The first year read most of Jan on it and the biggest thing came across was they got way to many plants to deal with to plant. My main thing to WS is Tomatoes , poppies, Lettuce, Malvas, Hollyhocks. The first year sewed 36 different types of tomato seeds. I gave tomato plant seedling to every one I knew and mailed them everywhere in the USA. Here take a few doz plants was my thing that summer.

When some one tells me my seeds did not make it, only one thought comes to mind they came up and a frost hit the jug. I did not live near my jugs so if no news of a late frost my plants were doomed or had to drive 30 min back to the place they were sitting to cover them up with a blanket for the night or move them into my hay trailer. Mind you that was just the tomato seedlings.
I use horse blankets or a unheated hay room to store them in when they come up and finally gave up and just put them all in there each night and dragged out in the am. Only after they sprouted in March and April. Seems it takes like three warming trends to get them to sprout.

This year my milk jug collection is limited sadly so using clear 3 inch pots in a clear storage tub for my milk jug.
Also some large clear plastic containers that want to direct sow the tomato seeds and plant out. Love labels for these seedlings since many are special Heirloom types to save the seeds for next year,s crop.Broke down and bought a HOT CAP, that is a experiment for me too and it is just styrofoam cover, that made me think oh all those old coolers folks toss out can be used. Humm to self. One year had so many milk jugs made them into wall of waters for my crops so helped early plants with a towel dropped over them to keep freezing each night in the garden in April.
I would water the jugs daily every day unless it rained.
It can be done you just have to use some common sence with this.

ML

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:46AM
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MissyGA64(8 (central GA))

The picture below is of a milk jug I winter sowed on Feb 2,2013.
The sprouts are Goose Creek tomatoes and the empty side is ground cherry.

The Goose Creek are now about 8 inches tall and the ground cherrys are just now coming up.

I have several tomato varieties that are up and ready for the top to come off. I have two pepper varieties that have not sprouted but I am waiting patiently for consistent warm weather, I will wait 2 more weeks before I give up on them

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 7:52PM
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MissyGA64(8 (central GA))

I have a question for you more experienced gardeners. I have winter sown both hot and sweet peppers. They are just about ready to plant out. Can I put them in the same garden area or do I need to separate them ?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 11:23AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Missy, I never thought about separating my peppers. My jalapenos and bells have always gone near each other. Not sure if that's a problem or not, but I wouldn't see why it would be.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 3:18PM
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MissyGA64(8 (central GA))

Caryltoo,

From what I have found in different forums and such, its only a problem if you are a seed saver.

If you take a hot pepper plant and place it near a sweet pepper plant, each plant will produce the correct "vegetable" but the seeds in those pods may not produce the same pepper next year.

I am still researching and will accept any and all advice. I want to seed save, and have decided that those plants will be put in a separate container garden away from other peppers.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2013 at 9:09PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

That makes sense, Missy. I'm planning on bagging some of my early tomato blossoms so I don't get cross pollination. It happened to me before and I was really disappointed when the seed I saved came up as some weird hybrid, and not a good one either.

If you don't want to plant separately you can always take precautions -- there's a good FAQ on the tomato forum on how to avoid crossing. It also gives info on how far apart plants must be to avoid cross-polliation. If I recall correctly the different varieties have to be pretty far apart. There's no reason their suggested methods shouldn't work for peppers, too.

Caryl

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 11:13AM
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midmented(6B)

Wow, I didn't realize how long it had been since I've posted. LOL.
Peppers will cross pollinate. I had romanian and bell cross pollinate and saved seed from the romanian. The seed produced a bell type of pepper but with a thick wall and long body. I rather liked the outcome myself!

I hope I didn't make a dumb decision a couple of days ago. I removed the tops from my milk jugs that have sprouted to let everything out in the open. I have a roll of plastic and a fence around the winter sown containers (mostly to keep squirrels out) just in case I need to make a row cover quickly.
Took some pictures of everything that has sprouted and posted.

Here is a link that might be useful: Winter Sown Containers: Sprouted

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 6:13PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Midmented, I'm wondering how you made out with winter sowing peppers and tomatoes in 2013 and 2014? Specifically wondering if winter sowing them gave you a slow start to the growing season and if that affected your tomato and pepper production?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2015 at 3:45AM
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midmented

They made me create a new account and I never updated my old name (midmented).

Winter sowing 2013-2014 went well. The only pepper seed that germinated were brown bell, jalapeno and Burpee Red Roaster bell. The first tomato plants to sprout were pink boar. Brandywine, Roma, Beefsteak, and stuffing tomatoes germinated well. In my opinion, heirloom varieties are better adapted for winter sowing. At least I've had better luck using heirloom or my own saved seed.

As far as production, I got more produce than I needed. Winter sowing seems to give me a later crop than everyone else in my area. It seems to be 2 to 3 weeks later than everyone else. I loved the Burpee Red Roaster Bell peppers. They produce really big stuffing peppers but the downside is there are not as many peppers. The brown bells crowded against one another and I had to keep thinning them to get bigger peppers. I got over a thousand jalapeno peppers but I did have 10-12 plants.

This year, I'll try to keep my blog updated on what I am doing. I've stopped posting a lot of things due to wanting to spend more time just enjoying life. L

I'm always trying something new. 2013-2014, I started growing lima pole beans (really tasty). I only planted 4 plants but got around 1/2 a bushel. Stink bugs came through and took all the blooms so I never got a late crop.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 5:12AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Hi midmented - thanks for the reply. It's always nice to hear how the end of a growing season works out. :-)

That was what I wanted to know, if your peppers and tomatoes managed to produce for you, even with the smaller size [so slower start] to the growing season. I think I will try to have the best of both worlds and pick up a few early tomato plants at the nursery and that should hold me while I am waiting for the winter sown tomatoes to catch up. I'm also thinking of putting down black plastic to warm the soil before transplanting to give them an edge and perhaps put out walls of water for more warmth early in the season.

Every year is a new adventure. I had a terrible year with peppers last year, because we enlarged our vegetable garden, got a late start and had new organic soil delivered, that had been sifted very fine and none of my peppers grew at all. So I am hoping for a better year this year.

Now if we could just get a little warm up soon, it would be nice. Spring is almost here!

Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 5:46PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Hi Midmented and prairiemoon. I had a bad year for peppers last year, too. I got a late start for almost everything just because I planted out late, but the peppers really seemed to suffer.

Midmented, I think you might be on to something with your heirloom tomatoes -- I seem to recall the few hybrids I've tried over the years not doing well with ws -- maybe by design they need to be started early inside. Who knows, but an interesting point.

Anyway, every year is an adventure and this year I'm planning on getting an early start with walls o water for five tomatoes. I'm planning on setting them out in early March to warm up the soil then will transplant the tomatoes in mid- to late March. I used them a couple of years ago and they worked pretty well -- also had a # of volunteers inside the walls in early April so they really do create a warmer environment. Of course everything depends on it warming up enough to be outside for more than a few minutes -- nothing much above freezing in the 10-day forecast here in SE PA. The last few winters here have been brutal.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2015 at 3:14AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Caryltoo, a lot of people complained about tomatoes and peppers last year. I have a theory, that the last two years, April has been very cloudy and I can't help but think that was a crucial time in their growth. Otherwise, it seemed like a great growing season last year, so I have no idea why.

I've used the wall of waters too and they do really work. Sometimes, I don't want to dig through all the gardening gear in the garage to find them, but after last year's disappointment, I'm motivated. [g]

I agree that the winters have been brutal. Was it the year before last, when it was extremely cold for most of the winter with no snow cover? I thought I had lost a lot of garden plants, but they slowly recovered. It really set them back though. My Japanese Painted Ferns, were a third the size they were before that winter and are still not the size they were. This year, I think we may have a wait for the snow to melt.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2015 at 4:08AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Last year we had at least one snowfall a week from the beginning of Dec. through March. It as ridiculous, but the accumulation was nowhere near what MA is getting this year.

And you might be right about the cloudiness. It was so depressing -- gray and dreary for so long and lot of plants need light to thrive. At least we're seeing some sun this winter even if it is really cold.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 18, 2015 at 8:52AM
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midmented

Basement window cole crops (cabbage and cauliflower) came up about a week ago. I should give up doing the cole crops in spring but I thought I would try to get them outside (mid-March) earlier than previous years. One more try. L
Planted Pepper and Eggplants seed indoors last weekend. Didn't figure on seeing anything germinate for a few weeks but I already have 4 eggplant seeds that germinated.

This weekend, I start my winter sown tomato seed. Peppers, I am only winter sowing jalapeno and brown bell since they Wintersowed so well last year. Maybe a few Red Roaster.

I am going to wait longer this year to wintersow marigold and alyssum. Probably around the 3rd week in March. IMO, the seed can't tolerate a long period of cold weather in a container . I've WS'd these 2 flowers for the last 3 years and have had my best germination if I wait to WS them.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2015 at 10:36AM
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nugrdnnut

midmented,

I don't know what variety of broccoli you've sown in the past, but I have WS Packman (DTM ~ 55-60 days) and have had very good results. I plant them out into the garden 4-6 weeks before the average last frost.

This year I have also WS superdome variety of broccoli as most of the reviews have been positive and the DTM is relatively short!

Hope this helps!

Tom

    Bookmark   February 19, 2015 at 9:19PM
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midmented

thanks. I've tried different varieties and will try the varieties you've mentioned. This year, I am going to try cauliflower as an early crop.

    Bookmark   last Thursday at 3:24AM
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