Winter Sowing Newbie...

tlfox(7b-8a)October 10, 2011

This winter will be my first attempt at winter sowing. My friends at the local plant swap have tried for a year or two to convince me that I can do this. Me and seeds - um, not friends when they are grown indoors. I kill them...and it doesn't make me very happy. I have been lurking for a few weeks...and after some inspirational gardening this weekend - I am going to be jumping in feet first.

Looking forward to continued reading - the pictures are inspiring. Gardening in the winter...who would have thought? :D


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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Welcome! Growing from seed will never be the same again. I could not grow ANYTHING from seed until winter sowing - now I can grow whatever I want.

Start with the FAQs and visit Seed season is heating up with plenty of freebies and trades.

Post here often. Us seasoned seedies love to enable newbies. The only dumb question is the one unasked. And remember, if you have a question, chances are there are many lurkers out there wondering the same thing.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 11:28PM
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Welcome to winter sowing! Start choosing groceries by the shape of their reuseable containers (especially if your not milk drinkers)'ll want to have a good supply on hand for DEC/JAN. Oh and I noticed your a recruit for the zone 7 team - - YES!!!!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 12:10AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Welcome to Winter Sowing Tiffany. Before you know it you'll be ready for rehab. like most of us. Gardening this way is stress-free, so you end up with a peaceful place where you can get your hands dirty and forget about all the stresses of the world. Be sure to select some first year flowering perennials so you'll have some pics. for us next summer. Happy Gardening!!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 5:03AM
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Tiffany, the people on this ws forum are the nicest ever! I should know, I have ask so many questions in the last few weeks that would drive any teacher "banana"s"!! Now I feel so confident about ws, and just knowing that if I run into a problem, I can come here for help, and I'm sure I will! I even have my neighbors helping me to get a supply of gallon jugs, 2 and 3 liter bottles! I'm getting each week, at least 5-7 gallon jugs aweek and many as 8-12 2 & 3 liter bottles each week! Be sure and read the post
you know you are a ws if"...And I guess I am a good potential, just the other day while in wally world, wife and I were checking out behind a young couple, and they had "12" 2 liter bottles of coke, my wife said to me "Tom quit your drooling"!! lol, I almost ask them to please save me the bottles!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 6:20AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Welcome, welcome, welcome. We truly are SO excited to have you here. Us oldies love to share in the Newbie excitement as you discover the miracle that is winterowing. We'll jump for joy and do the "happy dance" with you as you bend over to discover your baby sprouts.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 6:31AM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Welcome Tiffany! I sat down and wrote out one seed order yesterday and will mail that off this week. Ordered online a few items from Vesey's the other night. I still have a lot of seeds that I didn't plant earlier this year and seeds that I have gathered from my own plants. Start taking along some seed snatching equipment with you as you go out for walks or doing errands. Most of my coneflowers came from seeds I snatched from the public library. Nobody else was taking care of those poor neglected flowers; somebody had to do it! Take along a small pr. of scissors, baggie, pen or pencil and paper so you will have that seed identified or paper envelopes. The next time you visit a craft store or even Walmart, go to the jewelry making dept. and buy a box of small ziploc bags to use for trading seeds and storing those you want to keep for yourself.They are pretty cheap. I think I bought a box of 175 ziplocs for under $3. While you're in the craft store, look for paint pens. My craft store is only selling Sharpie brand; hopefully they have changed since year. I prefer the Deco brand. When you go to the bank, if that teller ask you if you'd like your cash in a coin envelope, accept the offer. You can use that for snatching seeds. I found a good sale last month of plant markers reduced at K-mart. Normally I wouldn't buy those because I can buy a miniblind from the thrift store and it lasted me 2 wintersowing seasons for only $3. If you have the storage room, start collecting your milk jugs now. Look after dark in your neighbor's recycle bins..or start observing who uses milk or beverage jugs and if you feel better by asking if they mind if you take it. Hey, maybe they don't know about wintersowing and you might convert them too. This will be my 3rd. year and I've already gathered my milk jugs that I'm going to use in 2012. I have found two sources on my street. If you have the storage room, and there is a sale on potting mix, not potting soil, grab it now because the stores won't start stocking it during the holidays. You won't find seeds in the stores until after they've got rid of all the holidays leftovers unless you order them online.
I have found a good source for seeds is They sell quality seeds for 1950 prices. Check them out. I placed orders three times last year and they were rec'd in less than a week's time. So far all of my seeds that I have purchased from them have germinated. They sell the old stand by flower seeds, none of the newly introduced varieties that some of the others sell for luxury prices. As Bakemom mentioned before, keep reading messages on this forum and you'll learn a lot and meet wonderful friends. Many people from this forum held my hand from afar my first year. I am truly indebted to them. I'd love to be able to meet them in person and tour their private gardens but that may never be possible so I'll find gardeners locally. Attend seed and plant swaps in your local area. It's an educational tool and you'll learn a lot and meet new gardening friends. Don't hesitate to ask questions as Bakemom mentioned.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 6:45AM
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Thanks for the welcome! I am sure I will have plenty of questions as the winter rolls in. I am taking your advice and grabbing up potting mix now. :D

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 8:38AM
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Welcome Tiffany! As others have said, the rest of us seed/soil junkies can't resist enabling another addict. Personally, I have a hard time restraining myself from showing off my (WS) bloomers! Keep your eye out for seed offers and feel free to shop on everyone's "Seeds I have to trade" list for things you might like to add to your garden.

Michael's now carries Sharpie oil-based paint pens so I bought a handful the other day. Can't find Deco for sale anywhere, not even over the Internet, so I switched to Sharpie. I "road tested" one and it appears to be about the same as Deco with a slightly narrower writing tip.

I am sure I will have plenty of questions as the winter rolls in.

As bakemom said, the only dumb question is the one you didn't ask. If you think everyone else here hasn't already run up against/wondered about/stumbled over/struggled with/scratched our heads over the challenges opportunities WS can present, you might want to think again.

My pot ghetto is on an east/west facing breezeway and in winter the wind whips through it strong enough to make me struggle to keep the door from being ripped out of my hands. Those WS seeds haven't skipped a beat so far.

Here is a link that might be useful: You know you're a winter sower if...

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 6:49PM
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Welcome to the world of Wintersowing! You are going to have fun!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 8:42PM
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Hi all! I'm new too :-) Pippi said something that I had a question use potting mix, not potting soil. Whats the difference?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2011 at 11:01PM
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TraceyOKC - potting mix is lighter and won't compress/pack down the way potting soil may do. It's formulated specifically for containers so the roots have an easier time getting established. One thing you'll discover about WS plants is they have amazing roots. I couldn't resist taking a picture when I transplanted some WS blanket flower this summer and found these:

Some folks have great results using potting soil. Right from the get go, I decided to use professional growers mix simply because it's readily available where I am. There's a nursery supply just a few miles east where I buy two or three bales (3.2 cu. ft.) in late summer so they're ready when WS season rolls around. Based on the amazing results I've seen the past couple of years, I'll stick with growers mix.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 8:46AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I find the terms potting mix and potting soil, potting medium, to be interchangeable - all three refer to products formulated to be used in containers and should provide the right aeration, environment for roots in an enclosed space (the container).

Potting soil can be an odd term, most if not all products sold for containers are soilless these days, they contain no actual soil at all.

Garden soil, also sold bags, is different altogether and not meant to be used in containers. Same with top soil.
If you are finding brands you aren't sure of, the description on the bag should tell you if its a product intended to be used in pots and containers.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soilless soils

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 12:11PM
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Welcome to wintersowing, you are going to love it!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2011 at 9:59PM
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Great information, thank you. I made the trip to WM and checked out the end of season, limited selection. Now I have to ask about the Miracle Grow Potting Mix. Do I need to look for something plain, without the added fertilizers?

I noticed many of you are from way up North! Does WS work as well there, with the long cold winter?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 9:12PM
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Some folks swear by MG potting mix and have great success with it.

I'm in north central Connecticut and last winter we had a total of 8 ft. of snow and a low temp. of 19 degrees below zero. This is my pot ghetto in January:

Here's my pot ghetto the end of April:

This is what my pot ghetto looked like in June:

These were WS my first year and bloomed this year:

Trollius ledebouri/Chinese globeflower


'Nora Barlow' Columbine

Dianthus barbatus/sweet William 'Sooty'

Penstemon/beardtongue 'Mystica'

Catananche caerulea/Cupid's dart

Adenophora liliifolia/ladybells

Winter sowing works.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 6:38AM
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Absolutely beautiful! A picture really is worth a thousand words. Just seeing the the "Jugs" in action cleared up alot of questions I was having. Your photographer is great too!

I want to learn about all the flowers pictured. As much as I love my pc for certain things I really want a good reference book on flowers. I collected some seed from a local park and kept getting side tracked while trying to figure out what it was. (Showy Goldeneye, I think) Anyway I am making out a detailed Christmas list for DH this year! Does anyone have books to recommend?

Northern weather is cold for so long, I was "transplanted" from upstate NY when I was a teenager I still remember all the bundling up just to stay warm.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 8:51AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Make sure you join the Newbie Seed Project. Many of us are addicted to the whole process of seed collecting, and we send our extras to Bakemom. She then packs them up for folks just like you, who are starting out and can benefit from a little head start acquiring seeds.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 9:22AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Welcome Tiffany


    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 9:31AM
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Thanks. I had newbies in mind when I shot photos of the WS experience, especially the green wave. The photos on old threads were very helpful when I was a newbie.

The book I've seen recommended most frequently on this forum is The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust. I don't own it but have a soft-cover I like called The Complete Perennials Book. Both are available used from Amazon.

Northern weather is cold for so long

The weather here in the northeast was cold right through late May this year. I was so sick and tired of wearing multiple layers of polar fleece, I was about to scream when it finally warmed...slightly. Some of my WS sprouts just sat there in the jugs and never grew more than an inch or two tall. Gardening teaches patience so I'll try some of them again this time & hope for a better outcome.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 9:57AM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Definitely watch for the Newbie Seed Project offers.

MG ferts in the potting mix won't hurt. It's all I use

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 11:29AM
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Thanks yall. I was planning on participating in the Seed Swap but the more I research it, I realize that I dont really have anything good to swap. Lol ... I have a few seeds I've saved from my generic WM flowers.

I will look forward to it next year.

I did get some MG Potting Mix so I am on track with that. The Newbie Seed project sounds exciting.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 5:16PM
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I just found this forum and am intrigued by the idea, but I was thinking that maybe this is something that is more for the more northern states. I'm in NE Texas (100 mi E of Dallas) and I'm wondering if the milk jugs would "cook" the seedlings even in the late winter/early spring. Is there anybody out there in my zone/state that can give me the benefit of your experience? I obviously need to learn the basics of winter sowing, so where do I begin?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 12:29AM
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Good morning all. I too am new to the forums here, but not new to WS'ing. I found this site by lucky chance while researching some new seeds that I plan to WS this year. I've already got a nice collection of milk jugs, which I started to collect the end of WS season last year. ;) (addicted much?) 2 huge lawn-and-leaf bags are over-spilling underneath my work table, nowhere to put my feet while I'm sitting there sorting seeds! =)

First off, Bamaw, you should definitely be able to WS in your area (I've got a sister right in the heart of Dallas whom I've been trying to coax to start WS'ing), but as someone else has mentioned, please do check out, where you'll find what will work best for you for your area, and in what general time frames. Heck, you guys even get some snow and ice during your Winters, that's a good thing! :) To get the best start on basics and to learn how to begin, is the best place, I'd say. That is where I began, and in my first year I had huge successes of EVERYthing I WS'd; I don't think I had even one death/failure in the whole 75+ jugs/containers that I WS'd.

Ok, a little bit about me: I'm in Maryland, south of DC, and work at a nursery/garden center. Sweet! I get to "deadhead with a purpose" (aka: baggies and pen always in hand while cleaning up the babies) all I want, and get a huge variety of seeds just for the working. ... Ooops, did I say "working"? It's not work, it's Heaven!
I'd forgotten that I'd learned about mini-blinds being used as markers, thank you! Will have to rummage around through the basement to see if we've still got those old ones.
I've learned something new this year: Seasoning bottles make GREAT containers for holding seeds! Ya know, those little 2-4 ounce sized ones that hold your Parsley or Garlic powder. I soak 'em for a few hours then scrub 'em out, dry them really well then let them sit upside down on the heater vent overnight (so they'll be thoroughly dry), and they're ready to fill. (this includes the lids as well, by the way). My new collection is very small thus far, only about 6 or 7, but I've got my co-workers on alert to save theirs as well. :)

Anyway, I've rambled on long enough, just wanted to say "hello", and thank you all for this great site, I've learned new things already! :)


    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 5:52AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Bamaw, sowing outdoors in winter works in the milder climates too. I'm 8b, although in the north, I'm sited where my feet are almost in Pacific Ocean - some winters we have a little snow, other years we don't. By the time your temps heat up, my guess is that things will have germinated and you will have the tops off your containers, so no cooking. If you have ungerminated containers and some days with heat arrive, you can open/uncover, or move them to shade, even provide some temporary shade in place without moving too.

I hate those answers that say read the FAQs, but if you are looking for the basics, it's a good place to start...

Here is a link that might be useful: Or, here. How to Winter Sow

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 5:12PM
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Morz8, Oh dear, did I make a boo-boo by just refering to a website and not actually giving helpful info? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude about it, I'm just not good at packing info into a small intelligible paragraph. :( Bamaw, please forgive me if I seemed rude and brush-off'ish to you.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 5:45AM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

Susan (Speediebean),

If you haven't checked out the MidAtlantic Gardening forum here at Gardenweb, please be welcome. The forum isn't very busy right now, but we have a big spring swap and potluck (seeds, plants garden stuff, pots, chocolate etc. We're a fun bunch. I'm in Silver Spring, just over the line from DC.


    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 10:10AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Yikes~ No that wasn't directed at you, I just noticed a question in Bamaws post and wanted to assure snow isn't necessary to winter sow, make it easy for her to find more information.

My fuzzy reading, which I admit is often too fast, didn't really even pick up on that you had already mentioned the wintersown site. Reading again, I can see where you might have thought something about your post annoyed me, it certainly didn't, and welcome.

The kind of answer I don't especially like seeing is when someone asks a question, and someone else answers only 'read the FAQs'. as though a sentence or two would be too much trouble to type. And that doesn't really happen here often on this particular forum.

I should have welcomed you immediately in my post - I didn't mean to step past your introduction. My only defense is that it was dinner time here, and I should have been getting something ready for DH who had hiked off trail in rain all day (for his work), and instead I was taking a break with a cup of tea and gardening online, watching the clock and knowing I should be cooking ;)

Please stop in often.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 10:29AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Oh boy, and now I've probably hit 'submit' too quickly again. It's still dark out, maybe I could go back to bed :) I gave Bamaw a gender according to what I typed, something else I try not to make a habit of doing.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 10:37AM
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Hi Im not new to ws as Ive done it before just not to your magnitude . But Ive not used jugs before and Im wondering how you cut your jugs as the cuts look pretty even in the photos.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 11:07AM
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Bamaw, I'm just north of Dallas. I've winter sown lots of seeds. It works here too. You just have to keep your eyes on 'em and keep them cool in the spring. They will over heat and cook to death quickly.

You'll be working your fanny off to take care of them and protect them from our really warm springs, wind and late freezes.

I just started a new thread for winter sowing in the Texas Forum. I plan to do a huge round of it this year for our new place with lots of huge beds that are nearly empty.

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Gardening Forum

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 3:16PM
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hummersteve - First I poke 18 drainage holes in the jug bottom with an ice pick or awl. Next I make a slit below and on either side of the jug handle with a sharp knife, then cut all the way around from one to the other with scissors.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 4:50PM
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Bamaw - I stumbled across this forum late in 2009 when Googling how to grow dogwood trees from seed. I got all excited and grabbed some recycled salad bar tins with the clear covers and proceeded to WS five of them. Carried them outside and stuck them behind my garage. I came back inside the house and started reading old WS posts and gradually realized those 2" deep salad tins were NOT the ideal WS containers. One by one I brought the tins back indoors and transfered the potting mix + seeds to gallon milk jugs with 4" of moistened potting mix in the bottom. Those dogwood tree seeds not only sprouted, they grew 14" tall their first year and 30" tall this year.

Based on that success, last WS season I grew both apple & pear trees and got 100% germination.

Winter sowing will amaze you.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 5:56PM
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Thank you Everybody for all the helpful info! I did find the FAQ's, downloaded the info so I'll have it handy - and I've already got my daughters saving their plastic takeout containers, milk and juice jugs, etc for me. This website is a gold mine!! I've tried starting plants from seeds in previous years using the seed-starting kits and keeping them inside the house in a sunny location, etc etc AND IT HAS NEVER WORKED FOR ME!!! Once in a while I'll get a scraggly little plant that manages to survive, but not many, and I've always known that I don't have enough sunny windows to grow things indoors. I'm just stunned to think that I can grow them outdoors!! In the cold!! In the wind!! Wow!!! We don't get much snow around here - if anything we get ice, but it does get cold.

I'm definitely going to look up the info on the Texas Gardening Forum and the site and any other info y'all can suggest. Where's the best places to buy seeds? I save seeds of the flowers that I have, but there's a bunch of new (to me) flowers that I would LOVE to try, and I don't mind buying them.

I went thru the Park Seed Catalog like Trudi suggested and marked the flowers with culture symbols 3, 5, 6, 7, and X - those seemed like they could be wintersown. Does that seem correct? Did I miss any? I wondered if I should include the 2's, since it says to "sow indoors in a cool place in late winter, 6 - 8 weeks before setting outdoors in spring, or for use in a container plant." Let me know. I'm going to go look up more info.

Thanks again, everyone!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 10:03PM
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Bamaw - just a little more food for thought:

You'll likely get plenty of recommendations for seed suppliers but I checked the garden*watchdog site and found a couple that I like for WS seeds based on customer feedback. I harvest as many of my own seeds as I'm able and am fortunate my neighbors are happy to let me harvest from their plants as well. In addition to annuals, perennials, veggies & trees, I've also grown potentilla/cinquefoil & St. John's wort shrubs from harvested seed. After 2 years, the only seed I've found that fails to germinate via winter sowing is armeria/sea thrift.

I've tried starting plants from seeds in previous years using the seed-starting kits and keeping them inside the house in a sunny location, etc etc AND IT HAS NEVER WORKED FOR ME!!!

I've also tried growing from seed indoors but the amount of natural sun/# of actual daylight hours in winter just aren't sufficient for plants to germinate, grow & thrive. Add to that the unnaturally consistent warm temperatures indoors and you have a recipe for failure.

I wondered if I should include the 2's, since it says to "sow indoors in a cool place in late winter, 6-8 weeks before setting outdoors in spring, or for use in a container plant."

Someone (trudi?) pointed out a while back that seeds can't read so I basically ignore seed pack growing information and just winter sow. The seeds know what to do and when to do it based on moisture + light + temperature. We winter sowers just provide the seeds with moisture, growing medium and protection from wind & predators. Mother Nature is in charge of the light & temperature. If my WS results are any indication, she's obviously got it covered.

I'm just stunned to think that I can grow them outdoors!! In the cold!! In the wind!! Wow!!! We don't get much snow around here - if anything we get ice, but it does get cold.

If it weren't for winter sowing, the seeds would be at the mercy of the cold, wind & ice plus critters eating them, freeze/thaw cycles that could bury them too deep and rain that might wash them away. With winter sowing, the containers protect them from critters, the freeze/thaw cycles allow them to make contact with the growing medium, and rain/snow are limited to amounts the container opening allows.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 5:12AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Gardenweed, great photos of the jugs. I'm much lazier than you. I poke just 5 or 6 drainage holes. Still seems to work fine.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 7:06AM
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Kimka: Thank you, I peeked around the MidAtlantic forum last night, and it looks like a great place for a home-away-from-home. (or, inside my home, as it were);) I'll be sure to visit there very often.

Morz8, thank you for the welcome, and I'm glad I wasn't offensive or rude. You just enjoy your fuzzy reading and I'll be sure to mind the toes. ;) Would ya like a cup of coffee? I'm about to go refresh mine. Oh wait, you drink tea... let me rummage around in the pantry...
So, now that we know we are both nice people, Hi There! :)

Gardenweed, my goodness you take such wonderful photos!! And I love how neat your milk jugs turn out. I'm a complete slop when I cut mine.. with a razor knife, no less, all the way 'round. The edges of my cuts look like waves on an ocean, heeheeheee. (never was able to cut, or draw, a straight line.)

Bamaw, I have a suggestion for you for seeds. Many nurseries (at least in my area, Southern Maryland) aren't selling seeds now due to season, however, you might find a nice nursery worker who will let you "deadhead with a purpose" some of their plants. Go in armed with scissors, envelopes/baggies, and pen (politely tucked away out of view, of course), find the most friendly-looking worker while perusing their wares, then find the best way to ask "Say, do ya mind if I clean up some of your plants for you.. into my envelopes/baggies?" I can tell you that I, personally, am one of those nursery workers who will not only GLADLY allow people to help me deadhead and clean up plants, but I will also help them do it, and teach them what they don't know but want to... like: What *do* the seedheads on this plant look like, anyway?
Just an idea.
I was like you before Winter Sowing, tried to grow stuff indoors, (in all seasons), but lacked good sunlight and *always* had nothing but failures. Winter Sowing is sooo much easier and funner. (yes, "funner" is a real word) ;)

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 8:13AM
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I use a soldering iron to poke my drainage holes. It melts through the plastic easily and I don't have to use any effort or cause damage to myself using an ice pick.

I do have to do it outdoors or in the garage, because it does stink.

I spent about $3 on one at Big Lots and its more than earned itself a place among my gardening tools. I often use it to melt bigger and more holes in my plastic pots too.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 8:57AM
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Susan - glad you enjoyed the photos. I'll have to give using a box cutter a try too.

I spent a lot more than $3 for a soldering iron at HD, used it a couple times and stuck it in a drawer. The stench was nasty and I decided I didn't really need it since the ice pick does a great job.

Before cutting them I set the jugs upside down in my kitchen sink and poke the holes about an inch apart. We often get heavy spring rains where I am so the extra holes allow for better drainage. This year was so rainy I actually tacked a shower curtain to the side of my breezeway and used it to cover the pot ghetto.

This morning there's snow on the ground and the temp is below freezing so most everything will go into winter dormancy in the days ahead. Time to bring the WS pots of perennials inside the garage until spring.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 9:30AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Susan, this morning I'm drinking Ovaltine, my usual habit for calcium ;) I drink coffee too if you're offering but my habit there is grande mocha, no whip, Starbucks.

I'm glad you understood the FAQs comment wasn't directed to you, it was more directed to me - it's not an answer I always find most helpful but I was suggesting it myself.

Gardenweed, no frost or snow here, just buckets and buckets of rain. But time to move some pots up against the house or onto my semi enclosed porch that don't need to be continuously wet for the next 5 months - I think the pot of agave is a good candidate for those to be moved out of the rain :) I sowed that one indoors and out last winter, the indoor plants came up quicker but had a stretched out, elongated shape and weren't as strong even under lights as the later pot getting sun, it was the sun seedlings I kept.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 10:44AM
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There's a classic nor'easter headed up the east coast that's forecast to dump up to 9" of snow on my little green acre tomorrow. It's sunny today so there are towels on the clothesline flapping in the breeze, I picked up my truck from the garage, drove to the gas station & filled the tank, then stopped on the way home at the farm & picked up a bale of straw. I've got WS perennials in gallon pots already lined up 2-deep along my foundation and will mulch them with straw. Everything survived last winter so I see no reason to think they won't be fine again this year. The south foundation gets more direct sun but it's also exposed to the elements & harsh winds. The east side of the house is more protected.

January 2011 - there are gallon pots of WS perennials lined up against the foundation under the big window:

Still need to haul 50+ gallon pots of WS perennials off the breezeway & inside the unheated garage. I need the breezeway space for this year's WS pot ghetto which I truly aim to keep under 200 milk jugs. Sure would be a lot easiser to stick to that goal if (a) WS weren't so darn much fun; and (b) there weren't so many enablers on this forum!!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 1:12PM
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Gardenweed, we're not enablers, we are your cheer-leading squad! =) So... errr... there are some WS containers under that snow? Ok, I'll believe you. ;) WOW that's a lot of snow!!
We're not getting any snow here (yet), but it's raining like a bad-dog today. Sounds like a good day to bake cookies and prep WS jugs. :) Got a call from our son at college (Frostburg MD) last night, and he said it was snowing there, expected to have gotten about 5 inches over night. Yipes! It's tooooo early! (isn't it??)

Morz8, Mmmmmm Ovaltine! Haven't had that in ages. I'm definitely a milk person, but I like it 'straight up'. ;)

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 7:07AM
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Cheerleaders or enablers--it comes out to the same thing in the end which is over-the-top WS:

On the breezeway:

Four-shelf storage unit (60" x 36") in the driveway:

Tray table in the driveway (one of three):

Six foot folding table on the breezeway:

Three-foot folding table beside the driveway:

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 1:45PM
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Gardenweed, where is the best place to get pear and apple seeds? Which got me to thinking...can you ws strawberries?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 12:56AM
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So Gardenweed, that's what happens when we enable.. errr, cheer you on? Where's my pom-poms? ;)

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 6:25AM
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hope everyone is ok up north this morning!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 6:53AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I am a pretty organized person, but Gardenweed definitely wins the winter-sowing award for the most orderly milk jugs. Haha!

Welcome newbies! You're going to love wintersowing, and become more confident about growing stuff from seed. Opens up a whole new world of gardening!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 10:46AM
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How do you label your stuff? Its so well printed and neat and tidy. Each letter is the same size and just looks perfect.

Are you using a label maker or is that your own hand printing?

Mine is such a mess I'm usually the only one who can read it. :(

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 11:28AM
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Wow! Wait a minute - are these pictures of plants being wintersown this year? The ones that have already sprouted?? Now I'm confused, because in my area it's just now starting to cool off to where the nights get down to about 40 degrees, so I'm just now starting to get my daughters to save containers for me. I have my seedstarting kits from yesteryears that I can start now with the seeds I got at Home Depot, but I figured it was still too warm. Am I wrong?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 6:56PM
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Bamaw, :) Those are photos from last year.
We're just gearing up to get started right now.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 7:12PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Bamaw, nights only to 40 here too, we haven't had even light frost yet. Those are example photos of previous years results, just posted to tempt you into wanting to try :) Winter Sowing, Solstice Dec 22 the normal start date, but if you are busy that week like many of us (garden? Holiday food is that weeks priority, I'll barely get out of my kitchen before Christmas eve ;)), later is fine too. The only pots I get out before mid January are those few perennials that do better Fall sown for me - those are done (and won't germinate until Spring). You've got lots of time, no rushing.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 7:50PM
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Whew, I thought I was already running late!! Mind you, my husband just planted a 4-pack of broccoli and a 4-pack of cabbage, but those are really for the winter birds (mostly goldfinches) that frequent our feeders. We have found that they like the broccoli leaves - they won't eat the broccoli, just the leaves; and the cabbage seems to do well over the cold season. He also planted some chives and some lettuce; let's see how they fare.

We keep a veggie patch going most of the year - but the extreme drought this year made it hard this year for us to get much out of it, even tho we have an automatic watering setup on the thing. It was just TOO hot!! Surprisingly, our tomato plants, bell pepper plants, and jalapeno plant are still alive, and they're starting to set fruit again!! They're so confused, and I don't blame them. I doubt if the fruit will mature.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 8:38PM
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sassybutterfly_2008(7 NorthWest GA)

Hope everyone up North is staying warm and safe!!

Gardenweed ~ your photos are beautiful! Great tutorial too! And that pic of the icicles.. WOW!

I want to invite everyone who hasn't popped in already over to the Winter Sowing Swap going on right now. We love to enable. Doesn't matter how many seeds you have to start out with, I can guarantee you'll have more before I'm done with ya! lol

Here is a link that might be useful: Winter Swap 2011

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 9:14PM
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what do you do with the seedlings in the spring. Are they pricked out and direct sown in the garden?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 9:21PM
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Hi Sally. Welcome! I am new but I know where you can get your question answered. or the FAQ for this forum. The experienced folks on this forum are usually quick to answer...they are probably busy. Sorry.

I have sowed my first containers but havent planted "hunk-o-seedlings" yet. Keep'll find lots of info.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 10:11PM
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