First year winter sowing and have a planting question

dspen(5b/6a)May 16, 2014

Hi, I mostly lurk in these forums but now I have a question that I cant seem to find an answer.

I sowed about 30 containers and have had great success. I even impressed my husband!

Now, I am wondering when to start planting these in their permanent home. A few are 3 or 4 inches high, some just have their first set of leaves. Do I transplant to a pot first? I know some plants don't transplant well, such as poppies, and will get them in the ground soon. But not sure about others. We have some cold nights predicted over the next few nights and would wait until after that to plant in the ground. The seedlings are in 4 inches of dirt in milk jugs, I have opened up the jugs and they all have good drain holes. None of them look stressed yet. They were all planted in Miracle grow potting soil.

My list includes:
poppies(several varieties)
hollyhock(several varieties)
blanket flower
balloon-flower'>balloon flower
bee balm
bachelor button

No sprouts yet on the clematis, gay feather, columbine, white coneflower, butterfly weed, salvia.

Any help would be appreciated!



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Doing good!!

You can start planting your sprouts anytime. They sprouted in the cold and are OK to go especially the ones with their 'true' leaves (second set of leaves),

I have no sprouting on my butterfly weed, or columbine either. But that's OK. They just might be shy... :O)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 11:06AM
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Thanks for your response. I will probably wait for the next few days. We are having frost again tonight in West Mi where I live.

This was so exciting to see all of these sprouts and the money I will have saved in perennials. Last summer I planted in flats and left out until sprouted and big enough to plant. This was much easier!

Thanks again

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 5:18PM
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ellenr22 - NJ - Zone 6b/7a

Hi Diane,
no need to put into pots. Plant directly into your garden.
I always wait until first set of true leaves. sometimes longer. I find that if they are a little larger - one inch say, they are easier to transplant.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 8:21AM
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I would plant out the balloon flowers as soon as you can they get big long tap roots so the sooner you make them happy the best.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 8:50PM
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I did start planting some of the seedlings. Some don't have their try leaves yet. It seems to be taking a long time for them to grow!

I will check the balloon flower and try to get it in the ground today.

This has been such fun!!

Thanks to everyone :)


    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 7:49AM
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Hi Diane,

I'm Chicagoland 5A, my sprouts have been very pokey, found out that when the temp's below 40, growth for most (all?) plants drops to near zero. It's been a very chilly spring here. I left town for 48 hours this week, during which it was warm---so much growth happened!

I am growing rudbeckia too, seems we should wait for four true leaves on these.

I've only bothered to pot up one thing, because its bed isn't ready yet.

Otherwise I've been transplanting things ASAP---so I can reuse the containers for more sowing. :) I've had good luck with that, but if you have anything that's especially precious to you, bear in mind that pests can destroy a wee seedling quickly. Also, I was finding that early-planted seedlings were sometimes growing noticeably faster than container-mates left to keep growing in the container. I think this comes back to the below-40 temps here, and the container plants benefiting from their greenhouse warmth. Probably no longer the case around here given the warmer temps.

First time doing this too---very fun!

This post was edited by agathafroo on Wed, May 21, 14 at 22:36

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 8:01PM
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Hi agathafoo

Looks like we are kinda neighbors! I am SW MI, south of Grand Rapids.
Spring has been so slow coming this year. It seems once the jug sprouted it takes a while for the true leaves to come on. Or maybe its just the variety I planted. Not sure.

I do have some jugs that have not sprouted. I know people have said they just leave them and some of the time that they will end up with sprouts. But my question is, do they leave the jugs all taped up or do they open them up while waiting for sprouts.

I did take advice from the responders and planted some of my jugs. Now I find myself checking on them like they were little kids!! Several times a day in fact :) I even found a place close to the house so I could check on them from the window. Yes, I know I sound odd!

I do plan on doing this again next winter. Will be searching for seeds from now until then!!


    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 12:39PM
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Howdy, neighbor! I am wondering the same thing about my unsprouted seeds. It's been very damp around here so I pretty much have to leave the tops off to prevent mold/fungus for now.

I think you've created a nursery bed for yourself!

What kinds of seeds are you looking for? I have a lot left over from this year, including stuff not on my trade list right now...I really went overboard on seeds. More than 40 containers could accommodate.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 1:18AM
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Not sure what seeds I am looking for exactly. All I know is l love most all of them!

I have all of the herbs that I use on a regular basis.

I have the usual black eye susans, purple cornflowers, lilies, iris, hostas etc. I seem to lean towards wild flowers, poppies, blanket flowers and such. I have a bed with different grasses. Last year I planted dahlias, they were beautiful, but I didn't care for lifting and drying the bulbs. However this year I did plant dahlia seeds and they sprouted and I have them planted.

This year I started asters, violas, pansies, bachelor button. I did collect some seed from cone flower poppies and flax and allium. Allium did not sprout, nor did the white cone flower. I also started balloon flower. I started hollyhock, with minimal results. Been babying that one. I also had one Bells if Ireland sprout. Am hoping that will take off. I tried the green wizard rudbeckia Cant remember the rest right now. My list is not in front of me.

Will be attending a local plant exchange in a few weeks and will come home with a load of different plants. Last year my trunk was full as well as the floor of my car. The people I have met at this exchange were so nice and knowledgeable and generous. I came home with much more than I took.

Its almost like an addiction! With that being said, I need to get my butt outside and watch my garden grow!!


    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 9:09AM
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Hi Everyone -

I started WSowing 2004 and haven't been posting in years, but for fun just went on forum

I put toothpicks around (some say one is enough - I do 3)
the baby seedlings when I put them out into the gardens - keeps the cutworms off... I also put stale beer out for the slugs - just to keep the babies safe

Have fun - I have HUGE gardens - didn't know a thing about growing from seed in 2004 - the best thing is growing perennials - oh the money you save!! :0)


    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 7:44AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I'm in NE Grand Rapids, but I drive around all of Kent County and the surrounding area for my work. I don't often get a chance to meet people from Gardenweb, and I would love to find a plant swap nearby. When and where is the swap you mentioned? Is it open to newcomers? I need more plants like I need a hole in my head, but the social event would be fun. I also have lots of seeds left over I could share.

What I really need to do is to keep working at planting all the sprouts I have sitting in pots on the driveway. My garden is into it's third season, so the perennials are maturing and the spaces are shrinking. I should have something in bloom most of the summer, this year, even if I don't get my annuals planted.

Keep up the good work.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 8:01AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

When the weather gets warm I remove the tops, plastic bags, etc. to open the containers as with the summer sun they get too hot inside killing any germinating seeds.

Columbines, delphiniums, and some others may be slow to sprout so I carry over those containers to the next year, keeping the containers watered and replacing the covers for fall/winter weather. I haven't had much success just dumping unsprouted containers in bare out of the way spots.

If the seeds sprout late summer fall I heel the containers in my empty veg beds and cover with shredded leaves and plant the seedlings the next spring.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tom Clothier Seed Germination Database

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 1:35AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Nice to have you pop in Carrie. I miss seeing how your garden is growing and changing.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2014 at 1:45AM
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Hi Doc Mom

Just noticed your post. The Plant Exchange that I spoke of is in Freeport, just east of Middleville. Freeport is a small little town and there is a small park with a pavilion. It starts at 11 am June 7th . Bring your plants marked, a snack to share for the light lunch, and a garden gift in a brown paper bag. If you have kids, they are welcome. There is a playground for kids to play on. I didn't see anyone swapping seeds, but plants. Not to say you may get a few takers on the seeds. This year I have Shasta Daisies, Bee Balm, Creeping Phlox and a couple other things. I think I have about 20 plants to share. And yes, they do welcome new comers. I was new last year and met many nice people.

Its really a fun time. Last year I didn't have too much to bring but the ladies there were so nice they sent me home with so many cool things.

I see you posting and would love to meet you!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 11:39AM
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