Newbie: Holes, holes, holes!

agathafroo(5B)December 18, 2013

First time wintersowing. Been studying everyone's containers carefully, have a couple questions:

I've got several cheapo 9x13 aluminum cake pans with clear lids. My plan is to sow creeping thyme, aubrieta rock cress, wintergreen, Irish moss, forget-me-nots in these. So I cut drainage holes in the bottom of the pans, seems straightforward.

But the lid ventilation, I'm not so sure about. Here's a photo of a lid. I outlined each hole in marker so it's easier to see. Are these big enough?

Also, in general for a container this shape is it better to have more, smaller holes?

Thanks much for help!

Spider

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agathafroo(5B)

Also, checked out the winter sowers group on Facebook today and my mind was quite blown to learn that in the case of yogurt cups at least, the drainage slits can be placed an inch from the bottom allowing for a reservoir of water and soil. If I do this, is there any rule of thumb on how much soil needs to be above the reservoir?

Thanks again!
Spider.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 12:42AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

The deeper the soil, the more room for roots and less chance of the soil drying out. 4 inches deep is my general goal. Your holes should be fine. More, smaller holes would also work.

Martha

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 6:47AM
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ryseryse_2004

Last year was the last time I will use shallow containers. Even without drainage holes in the lids, they just dry out too fast. For me, gallon milk jugs are by far the best for winter sowing.

With milk jugs, I only have to water at all once everything is up and growing and using up the moisture.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 3:02PM
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agathafroo(5B)

Thanks, I like the idea of 4" soil in milk jugs.

Anybody putting a "reservoir" in those?

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 11:38PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hi Agatha, in the lasagne pans, I would cut more holes and make them a little smaller (you can always make them bigger if necessary). This is because the rain and melting snow will drain into your mix and seeds in a more evenly distributed fashion. (You don't want a deluge to flow in, it will cause the soil and seeds to shift.)

I've tried many types of containers but haven't ever used a reservoir. It hasn't been necessary for winter-sown perennials (trees, shrubs, etc) which I usually put out next to the shrubbery on the East side of house. They usually get plenty of precip., have 3-4 inches potting mix, only get partial sun in the morning, and don't dry out that quickly.

In the spring I put the annuals, veggies, and heat lovers along the south side of the house, along the foundation, where it's warmer, they get more sun and dry out faster. So I line up the cups and containers in plastic boxes or trays and water from the bottom as well as on top. Bottom watering is much easier too!

Here's what the annuals look like:

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 8:31PM
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agathafroo(5B)

Thanks Terrene! Makes sense to have more, smaller lid holes.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:57PM
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