how early do I start?

josey44July 15, 2014

I thought I posted this before but I can't find it. So here we go again:

I was wondering how early can I start winter sowing? I was thinking fall as nature would seed out in fall. Not too early though to avoid watering?!

I am asking because I plan on placing the containers where I might not have easy access in winter. Well, I should say it would be tough to clear a space for the containers. I can always plow a path there to check on them.

I also have some seeds that I want to try and I heard they are quite tricky: Sweet Cicely. Has anybody tried these yet?

Thanks!

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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Most winter sowers start sowing in winter, as the name suggests. I start after Christmas, when things are settled, when I have time to go through catalogues, and exchange seeds. I take it slowly and do a few containers at a time. Don't worry about being able to get to them in the winter because nothing starts to happen until spring. I live in a heavy snow climate and during the deep winter I can hardly locate my containers. It is in spring, after the thaw, and if your containers are in full sun that you need to have a look. You may need to remove the covers if there are sprouts, and you may even need to mist them a little. My containers are in shade until spring when I remove the covers. Keep records of what you sow, and when they sprout because it is different for everyone and you'll know what to expect in future years, what worked and what did not. There is also spring sowing for some of the hardy annuals (in my zone) and that is also trial and error. I have never grown Sweet Cicely but google it and maybe have a trial: some winter sown, some indoors under lights, and some direct sown. Make it an adventure, and enjoy it. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 3:09AM
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josey44

Thanks! That's good to know that I can leave them "unsupervised" for most of the winter.
Are you in a windy area? I was thinking of putting them under a tree on an old picnic table we don't use anymore. I am thinking of either stapling the containers to the table or tying them down. I am worried they blow away as soon as the snow is gone.
Yeah, the sweet cicely is going to be a total experiement.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 1:08PM
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greylady_gardener

I WS sweet cicely and thought that it had been a bust as it did not sprout that year. I set the pot aside and forgot about it basically........except a few times when I did contemplate dumping it, but never did get around to it. Fast forward to the NEXT year...approximately 14 months later, and as I was going through the pots and looking at what needed tossing, I spotted a green sprout in the pot....thought it must be a weed, but then realized the seed was actually hanging off the sprout. Apparently they take a loooong time to sprout! :) It is growing beautifully in the garden and I have sprinkled a few more seeds around just recently as it has gone to seed.
Note the date on the tag in the WS pot and the date the pic was taken. :)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 4:29PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Hi Josey:
I don't live in a particularly windy area, but I had a young man build me some 'crates' for my containers, (I had the materials left over from my deck) which I place on an old patio table under my cedars over winter. But that is because I like to have things organized. You may want to browse the second-hand stores for crates, shopping baskets, or the like so that your containers stay put and can be moved 'en masse' when you are ready. Some people have bought plastic totes and bored holes in the bottom (they must have drainage),but look around and you may find you have something you could use, rather than shelling out money. I have a couple of metal crates that I had hanging around that I also use for WSing. Perhaps they came from the Goodwill, can't remember. I'm sure you'll be able to figure something out, but you should anchor them. From the above post, looks like you would be better of buying plants of Sweet Cicely. Sometimes it's worth it.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:13AM
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josey44

Wow, that great that your sweet cicely still came up! And good to know because I would have probably throw it out if it takes that long. I will keep that in mind.

That's a good idea to make crates. I have a couple of palette that I can use!
I would buy sweet cicely but I can't find it anywhere. The seeds are very iffy that's why I want to try winter sowing them. Seems to be a very natural way of growing from seed. I will stick some in the grow in fall and winter sow the rest. Keep your fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:56PM
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