Asclepias sp., Chelone glabra and Lobelia cardinalis

adidas(6/7)August 6, 2012

I have seeds for these 3 species and was thinking of sprinkling them onto the mulch of a no dig garden patch...the patch will be created this fall. A helpful person in another garden web forum told me I should wait 'til spring to sow the seeds but she suggested I come to this forum for confirmation. Could someone give me the pros/cons of sowing the seeds this fall vs next spring? If you have experience w/sowing and germinating these seeds...what was your method? I am trying to avoid having to grow the plants indoors then transplanting because I will not be home to take care of the plants over the winter AND I simply haven't the space.

Thanks!

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silverkelt(Z5b/Southern Maine)

Hi Adidas ,

Read through the FAQs here, it describes in detail the process of what we do, IE outside vented containers, sown during the winter.

Those 3 varieties, do fine wintersowing with this method. In fact ive done all three myself.

Done in containers (like milk jugs) prevents the seeds from washing away, keeps critters from eating them and overally is a very succesful way of sowing 1000's of annuals and perrenials. Its also a great way to start them at pennies at the cost of nusery plants.

I do both wintersowing and inside seed starting , (I start my daylilies inside every year, and sometimes toms, salvias and such as well)

This will be my 9th year wintersowing , even though not every year is terrific yields, I have to say overall through the years it works very well..

If you wish to join us in our madness, feel free! its quite fun and you CANT believe the poeple who think your crazy, but the results are in the blooms, veggies, herbs that you can show them.

Even to this day I know a master gardener and my own mother, who think I stick these plastic things out in the snow and then buy plants later to prove them wrong =P..
A few blooms from wintersown flowers


Silverkelt

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 1:21PM
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adidas(6/7)

Thanks so much for the help, silverkelt. Your flowers are so beautiful! I will give winter sowing a go this winter...I just have to overcome my phobia of killing everything while trying to transplant in the spring. I have grown seedlings indoors over the winter in the past but I usually kill 'em all w/my clumsy transplanting techniques :(

I am in the process of creating a no-dig "patch". My land is very rough and I do not plan to do much in the way of landscaping. I live in a forested area, w/disturbed weedy patches of invasives. These are the patches I'm working on...I had just planned to throw seeds on top of the cardboard and mulch layers but after reading your post I will be putting out winter sown seedlings instead!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 2:16PM
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silverkelt(Z5b/Southern Maine)

Wintersowing seedlings are much hardier then their indoor cousins and do not nearly suffer the transplant shocks.

My area is all converted woodlands, Ive cut down over 300 trees now and have hauled in about 40 truckloads of compost and horse manure.

Below start of the creation of the gardens..

What it looks like today

and this...

Start of one of my seedling beds.. 3 years ago..

today ..

Every year I get a # of compost and manure loads for the trucks.. without it the gardens are pretty worthless..

Some of my many woodpiles.. these are easy part.. its the darn brush thats hard..

Some wintersown containers hanging out.. to be transported outside..

Silverkelt

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 6:21PM
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adidas(6/7)

Very nice silverkelt! I have read through Trudi's FAQ's and I have a question for you. I will probably use gal. containers similar to yours in the last picture. How many seeds (approx) would you sow per container...seeds the size of asclepias, chelone, lobelia etc.?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 11:52AM
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silverkelt(Z5b/Southern Maine)

25-50 seeds if they are smaller, I really oversow each container. I use the plunk method and also plant very close together, I prefer tighter looking gardens.

Lasagna gardening (layering effect) works as well, many people do that here, Ive done it on the past, start on it now and you will have garden beds in the spring.

Depenending on your sight, you may still want to take some trees down though, if you can. Trees are my worst weeds I tell my wife... well that and ferns, darn ferns.

Silverkelt

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 3:27PM
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adidas(6/7)

Plunk method? That sounds like something I could handle what exactly is that? I am starting my lasagna-type patch this fall BUT we moved here (Appalachian mts VA) to be in the forest. We have paw paw patches, hickories, redbuds, tulip poplars and spicebushes everywhere! I am in heaven! What I am trying to do is replace some weedy disturbed areas w/native flowers. There are millions of butterfies going for the bull thistle...I'd like to give them something else to think about :)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 10:11PM
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silverkelt(Z5b/Southern Maine)

Instead of seperating seedlings one by one, you take chunks and plant them in a small area, the hardiest will survive or you can remove the week ones, it forms clumps of flowers that way..

examples of plunking...

Rondo Penstemon

and Lupine Tutti Frutti, I DIDNT even break the clump on these, just plunked it into the ground..

A shot of Lobella Cardinalis.. not a great shot and I have mine planted in a bad spot.. I went with its reported height and it just doesnt get all that tall for me, I should move it to the front.. but usually forgot about it.

Some of my butterfly magnets here.. Coerpsis Mayfield Giant..

Knautia Melton Pastels..

Of course they love other things too, but these always seems to attract things when they are in bloom. Lobelia is great as its a later bloom.

Silverkelt

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 5:35AM
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adidas(6/7)

Love those butterflies! We actually got a monarch yesterday...just one though...most of them are swallowtails around here. How long does it take to get blooms after you plant your seedlings out? A couple of years?

A thought I had about your lobelia...seems that most of your flowers are ornamental...i.e. horticultural varieties able to w/stand full sun. However, the lobelia is a native woodland plant and even though most sources will say moderate to full sun I bet it would prefer patchy shade and LOTS of water?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 8:21AM
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lizbest1(5)

Adidas, I too had reservations about wintersowing, had absolutely zero success transplanting seedlings started inside but decided to try after haunting this site last winter. I can tell you from experience the wintersown seedlings transplanted better than any local nursery or mail order seedlings--I've even had a couple of perenials bloom from transplants from this spring. I will certainly be doing it again this winter, created several new beds already in preparation.

Silverkelt, your garden looks amazing. That's an enormous change in only 3 years, inspiring!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 2:50AM
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lizbest1(5)

Adidas, I too had reservations about wintersowing, had absolutely zero success transplanting seedlings started inside but decided to try after haunting this site last winter. I can tell you from experience the wintersown seedlings transplanted better than any local nursery or mail order seedlings--I've even had a couple of perenials bloom from transplants from this spring. I will certainly be doing it again this winter, created several new beds already in preparation.

Silverkelt, your garden looks amazing. That's an enormous change in only 3 years, inspiring!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 2:51AM
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adidas(6/7)

Lizin,

Thanks so much for your input! So you wintersowed, transplanted in spring and had flowers the same summer? Wow! That would be incredible! What plants did you grow?

I am working on a lasagna garden...I've got plenty of "carbon" material but I am nitrogen deficient :( Now I'm crossing my fingers that the deer and bears don't smell the rotten fruit/veggies and walk across the paper! YIKES!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 9:56PM
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october17(5chgo)

Love the bumble bee in your penstamon pic!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 10:18AM
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lizbest1(5)

Sorry, I've been working 12 hours shifts and haven't been back on in a while! The ones that flowered this year were anise hyssop, laceleaf coreopsis and Rocky Mountain penstemon. I wintersowed several types of penstemon, bellflowers, agastache, rose campion and hardy hibiscus; all of which are doing incredibly better than the ones I mail-ordered but haven't bloomed yet. I've been collecting containers all summer; I'm so ready to get started on a much bigger variety this winter!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 11:20AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Silverkelt, your work turning woodlands into flower beds is awesome in that I hold you in awe for all that you have done and your resulting lovely flowers. Wish I had your energy, I seem to be running out of energy these days. I am starting a new lasagna bed this fall and have one ready to plant that was started last fall. The ideas and the intention are there, now to get them done.

I have cardinal flower in full sun in a very dry bed next to my mailbox. (My hose doesn't quite reach that far). It flowers better there than in an area in shade with moist soil.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 8:01PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Silverkelt your daylily seedlings are beautiful!! I can only hope the seedlings I've sown this year and last will be so nice. I've gotten seeds from a SASBE and also from the Lily Auction, and none of them have bloomed yet, not even last year's seedlings, due to limited sun.

Adidas, I have wintersown Lobelia cardinalis and many species of Asclepias - as I have a certified Monarch Waystation and raise Monarch butterflies each year. In fact, I am just winding down from a very busy Monarch season, and coming back to the forums to check out what's going on.

Winter sowing works well for both, although most of my Lobelia cardinalis seedlings sow themselves out in the garden paths and in bare spots. I transplant them to a new spot, and a new patch is started!

Asclepias is a fussy genus - but winter- or spring-sowing works well. They will also reseed sometimes. In my experience they don't need much cold stratification, and the seedlings are easy to transplant. After that, I have mixed success! Asclepias curassavica ends up being the best and prettiest winter-sown species - and it makes a great host plant for the Monarchs.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2012 at 6:11PM
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ladyrose65

This is a nice post, such beautiful pictures. I makes me want to get started.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 8:37PM
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