How Many Have You Wintersown?

lizbest1(5)December 3, 2012

I cataloged my seeds this weekend and discovered I have well over 200 different varieties of perennials and annuals that I'd like to wintersow this season! I've been saving milk jugs all year after my first wintersowing try last winter (33 jugs). I think I have around 60 jugs now, I'll be hitting up friends and co-workers for theirs to get anywhere near the number I'd like to have to start. I think if I start sowing right after Christmas vacation and keep up with it through March I might sow at least 1 jug of everything I'd like to try!

I was adopted by a generous wintersower/seed collector from this forum last year and still have a lot of seeds from her that I didn't plant last year that I refuse to let go to waste, those will for sure be planted this wintersowing season. Some of the other seeds are pretty old, left-overs from when I tried grow lights inside so not so hopeful that they will produce but won't throw them away until they're proven bad. And I went crazy at the sites mentioned in girlgroupgirl's post, ordered 60 or so varieties in the last week....

So has anyone else out there let themselves get completely carried away with the seed collecting/wintersowing frenzy, either this year or in the past? If so, what's the largest number of containers you've started in a winter season? I'm looking to you all for inspiration, I know from some of the pictures I've seen on this forum several of you have done more that 200 containers in a year. I'm trying to convince myself I'm not insane to think of sowing so many. And I'll have plenty of help planting in the spring....yeah, right!

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Hello LinnElizabeth, this will be my 3rd season. I've sown around 170 jug/containers both seasons. You're going to get great advice on here, a lot of good people.

Seed frenzy, well, I need to go to "Seeds Anonymous". I do trade and I give out a lot because, I don't like keeping them past two-years.

Happy Sowing!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 6:54PM
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PVick(6b NYC)

Liz, just about everyone here has gotten carried away with the seed collecting/wintersowing frenzy - it's almost unavoidable. We've had members who have sown 3000+ containers; there are members who regularly sow 1000+ containers. My largest number of containers sown was 500+, and all I have is a balcony garden.

As for seed collecting! I got so addicted to seed buying/collecting/trading that I have over 600 varieties/cultivars catalogued, with dozens more envelopes to do. This year, I have been very, very good and strict with myself - not one seed or plant bought! (OK, Trudi did send me some tomato seeds.) Hurray for me!

So no - you are definitely not crazy to think of sowing so many! You are in VERY good company!


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:01PM
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I actually went back to the last 2 year's container challenges (know that's not what they were actually called but I'm typing after a 13 hour shift!) and saw postings from a first-time wintersower with over 1500 containers! Holy Cow!! I feel perfectly reasonable in making that next order from Gardens North from one of the last follow-ups in girlgroupgirl's posting! I have several people at work collecting milk jugs for me so hopefully I'll be okay! Guess I'll be begging for jugs at Starbuck's if they don't come through....This is the greatest forum ever!

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 10:03PM
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lgslgs(z6 SE ohio)

I can't remember what my final container count was at the end of the 2008/2009 winter sowing season, but I don't think anyone's broken my record yet.

That was my first WS year. This year, my goal is zero containers, but I'm sure a few will creep in. :)

One super huge crazy WS year, followed by one much smaller one filled a 3000 square foot garden with perennials.

So go ahead - go nuts! It's fun and it works.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 2:55PM
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OMG..I have a ? For you seed collecting, container collecting maniacs( I mean this in a good way)..where do you put so many flowers?..if you're sowing 1500-2000 containers are you on large acreage..just wondering

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 11:04AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Many of our fellow winter sowers do have many acres to work with. Others sell their sprouts as fund raisers for church of other worthy causes. And sharing with family and friends is always fun. I also think we get carried away by the simple fun of sowing. I would caution anyone considering setting ambitious goals for themselves as far as number of containers....sowing is much less work than the planting out in spring. Many of us have been overwhelmed by the work we have created for ourselves and end up with containers we don't get planted. Have fun, but try to practice moderation for your own sake.


    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 3:32PM
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docmom is right, the sowing is easy, the planting can be overwhelming (that's how well it works) I always end up doing the "plunk and run" at some point. I have to rebuild the gardens this year after a tornado took them out (hope some perennials come back) but as always, I will over do the sowing and overwhelm myself and give seedlings away. Keeps me out of trouble, lol.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2013 at 10:09PM
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This is my first year im up to 67 so far with hundreds more to go.
I have collected,traded and bought way to many seeds.
Im not sure if I will be able to get every single one planted out after im done WS most of them.

Guess anuals will get planted first then anything else that out grows the cointainers fast.

All my extras plants that I don't have room for will be sold,traded or donated.

Im starting off with a blank slate at the new house no flowers whats so ever except wild ones,hard to fathom with the house being 73 years old.
I have a over an acre just for my garden plus around the house so lots to fill up.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 8:23AM
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How does one afford soil for 300+ milk jugs or other containers??? I am tempted to WS again, but the cost of soil concerns me again..

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 11:12PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Some seeds have long viability, so don't sow just because they're more than a year old.

And I would echo the sentiment that the planting out is much harder than the sowing. It can take me weeks to get it all done and I usually only do 50 containers or so. Even then, I usually have some that sit in their open jugs till the next year -- usually perennials that grow slowly and look like they'd be overwhelmed or lost in the garden since I'm way better at sowing and planting than weeding. :)


    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 6:06AM
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I buy soil in compressed bales. Cost is about $22 here but it goes a long way. Promix or BM8 is what I usually get. We have Agway or Blue Seal Feeds stores.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 2:20PM
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Another thing is some people are counting CUPS and others are counting JUGS. Big difference in sizes. 3000 milk jugs would be a lot to plant.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 2:28PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

Didn't think of that, lilykit. One milk jug for me would equal 9 cups since i usually do 9 seeds in a jug, and I'm always amazed that eight or nine usually sprout.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:10AM
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Planting out is easier if you prep the beds lasagna style. It works to do just part of the bed this way, too. Anywhere you want to plant flowers, herbs or vegetables. If you have creeping bermuda or quack grasses you will need to edge your bed to keep them out!

try this easy way:
lay cardboard or several thicknesses of newspaper, copy paper, junk mail (no windows, no shiny colored ads)

cover with weed free mulch (1st layer can be anything, but top few inches must be weed free)

suggestions for weed free mulch: purchased compost, coffee grounds, your own compost (if you've kept it hot, no seeds in it, kept covered, etc.), llama/sheep/alpaca manure (ruminants process all the seeds, so none left to sprout), shredded leaves, grass clippings, shredded newspaper (plus a green ingredient), kitchen scraps without seeds (I don't pick out apple seeds because they don't grow beyond sprouting for me.)

Keep moist. In my climate 9 months of the year it's wet without watering. If you're in a dry climate you may need to cover with burlap bags overlapped slightly & weighed down with rocks or your winter sown jugs (substitute scrap fabric , tshirts, remove buttons or zippers from clothing or pick them out later)

When your HOS (hunk of seedlings are ready), just POKE & PLANT. Sometimes I cut the side of the milk jugs to slide out difficult to transplant seedlings.

Seedlings transplant well if you can keep them moist. I sometimes poke used chopsticks or sticks around the babies & cover with a vented clear box from salad mix or strawberries if I think the seedlings need more protection from critters or frost. Use chopsticks like stakes to hold the container in place on both inside & out to prevent wind damage. I've also put a long stick angular in soil resting across the container if I think wind is going to be high.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 1:26PM
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