How Do You Wintersow?

lois(PA Zone 6)December 23, 2010

Here's how I do my wintersowing; how do you do it?

Prepare the container - holes in bottom corners, cut top half almost off.

Get an old gallon baggie and fill half full with potting soil. Add a cup of water, zip almost closed, and....

....step on it to squish the water into all the dry pockets.

Then dump the moist soil into the container.

Put container outside to chill for a few months.

Enjoy sprouts!

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countrycarolyn(6-7nwTN)

LOL, I love step 3!!! LOL....... LOL.....

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 12:18AM
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gardenweed_z6a

I moisten the soil directly in the milk jug--just pour a couple 16 oz. containers of water back and forth over the mix, sprinkle or place seeds on the surface and stick in a label. By pouring the same amount of water over the potting mix in each jug, I know they all received exactly the same amount. I expect to have questions asked about the method so I figured it was easier to do it step-by-step.

I sprinkle bird grit over top of the seeds to help them make contact with the growing medium. I'm sure it doesn't make any difference germination-wise using the grit but it soothes my over-protective instincts. Considering the many thousands of sprouts I got the first time I tried winter sowing, I figure if it ain't broke, don't fix it plus I had the bird grit to use up anyway.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 12:52AM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Hey, I love your tuitorial on Wintersowing! With my luck and my weight, the ziploc would burst wide open and all the wet soil would be all over the kitchen! We wintersowers do some crazy things for our seeds! Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 2:42AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

I moisten and mix my potting mix in a very large dish pan, stirring with a big stainless steel spoon until it's evenly moist. The pan is big enough to hold enough soil for quite a few jugs. Then I fill my milk jugs which have been cut like Lois' above.

Karen

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 6:00AM
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lois(PA Zone 6)

Thought you might like the sloppy slippers picture, LOL... The reason why I do it that way is that I don't have the room to prepare the mix in big bins. I'm not a fragile little female, either, so I step very slowly on the bag to force all the air out of the opening before squishing the water into the rest of the soil. Getting the soil moist in the baggie instead of pouring water in the jug prevents water from going all over the floor. It's easier to sweep up a little damp dirt than clean up lots of water.

Thanks for sharing your methods, gardenweed and kqcrna... I think it's interesting to see all the different tricks people discover!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 10:33AM
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just1morehosta(5)

This is how I do it.
Containers are all ready,using a milk jug, holes in bottom of carton,top cut all the way around,handle left on.
I have my siol in the kitchen, by the sink, I scoop out enough soil to fill 1/2 of the milk carton,place it in the sink, run water over soil, let set to drain,put in seeds,put in marker,close up carton, put a small piece of tape on to keep lid closed,place out side on patio,and wait for spring to come.
cAROL

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 7:18PM
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gardenweed_z6a

lois - I love how you "distribute the water evenly" through the growing mix! I might have to give that a try sometime when I need to get some anger issues worked out. (;-p) My first bale of Fafard growers mix is inside the kitchen tucked away in a corner. There are two more in the garage where they should be fine since I bought them back in August. I'm filling the milk jugs right up to the cut this time. Last time I was a little stingy since I only had bags of potting mix to work with. After seeing the roots on some of these WS seedlings I decided to give them another inch or more of mix to grow in.

Once the growing mix in the containers is moistened, I just do the same as cAROL and sow the seeds, stick in a label, tape the jug closed & set it outside. From that point on until I get sprouts it's in Mother Nature's hands.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 8:07PM
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hibiscusfan zone5-Northwest Ohio(5 northwest Ohio)

I use the oven door method. Cut a big U shape on the opposite side of the handle With the bottom of the U about 6 inches from the bottom of the jug. In my garage I fill(Four at a time) with soil almost to the top of the U. Bring in to kitchen sink, add water and mix in soil with my hand until very moist, let drain in sink for awhile, add seeds and place outside. I like this method because I don't have to do any taping. In the spring when seeds are sprouted well I cut the rest of the top off.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 8:24PM
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carmen_grower_2007(4/5)

I think I understand the "U" idea but how do you fill the container to the top of the U without it coming out of the bottom of the U? I will never use duct tape on my containers again --- it is messy and adheres way too well.

Someone suggested cutting slits in the top and bottom and then just smooshing the top down on the bottom but I must not be doing it right -- mine doesn't stay smooshed.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 3:21PM
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just1morehosta(5)

I used duct tape one year, what a nightmare,ha ha
Now I use the clear tape from the 1$ store,it works great.
cAROL

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 5:02PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I'm sure she meant to fill the container to the edge of the U's bottom opening. Phrasing can get a little confusing, maybe you were asking with a wink?

I have a large plastic tub into which I pour lots of soiless mix. Then I add water mixing with my garden fork until it is just moist. It needs to be mixed well or will have dry spots. This makes lots of dampened mix and allows me to sow many containers assembly line fashion.

1. Dampen mix
2. Fill containers (9 milk/water jugs or 12 2Ls) and
place on my dryer(covered with a large old towel).
3. On the washer, place a container, level mix, sprinkle
with seed.
4. Cover seed or not as needed.
5. Add label. Also write label outside on milk jugs.
Anything that is transparent does not need a label
on the outside. I can see the label marker inside.
6. Water with a fine spray from a spray bottle.
7. Cover or close container.
8. Set in sink to drain.
9. When I have enough to fill a tray take outside.

Repeat until all containers are done. Any left over soiless mix will stay damp for several days and can be dampened again if needed.

With ws hundreds of containers each year I think I have used every type of container (lasagna pans are too flimsy for me as bend when I am moving them). I do use other flat containers. My favorite are milk jugs and 2Ls.
l. Milk water jugs, cut with only a small hinge; cut with the U opening (prefer the top to fill up); cut with a window & cover with plastic bag.
2. 2L soda bottles. Cut top completely off and push it back on top of bottom to close.
3. Paper cups and other small containers corralled in a larger container.
4. Large trays with deep cells in a larger container. Works well for annuals which are spring sown and germinate quickly and get planted out quickly.
5. Large display pots with plastic covering or 2Ls covering several different kinds of seeds.
6. Baggies

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 7:32PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

oops, accidentally hit the submit button. Prefer the U to FLIP up.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2010 at 7:37PM
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ishareflowers

I use a five gallon bucket to carry around and to soak my mix.

I keep my pro mix in the basemen. When I am ready to sow somw containers, I fill a five gallon bucket of mix,bring it upstairs and give it a good soaking. I fill my containers, add seeds,let them drain a bit and out they go.

It's snowing like mad here today,it will be a good one for some sowing..

Lisa

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 6:52AM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Karen(KQCRNA) introduced me to the foil tape earlier this year used by the heating and AC industry and it is wonderful. Can be purchased right in Home Depot or Lowe's in that dept. It's about $8 a roll but that roll goes a long ways and you can even write on the outside of it. I did my first half o wintersowing with duct tape because I had it in garage, but when you go to pull it off, what a sticky mess. Don't have that with the foil tape. The foil tape has a paper backing to it that makes it so easy to wrap around the jug. Of course, the paper backing gets thrown out. Now if we could find a use for that. I even use the foil tape to strengthen my mini-blind plant markers if I run out of my metal markers for outside.It's great and it's worth the extra money. Thanks Karen!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 11:46AM
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hibiscusfan zone5-Northwest Ohio(5 northwest Ohio)

I or maybe We are not actually cutting a U as it appears typewritten because the bottom of the U is a straight cut across. I use a stanley knife to cut and a sodering gun to make holes in the bottom first) I then push the bottom of the U in or pull it out and scoop in soil, add water, and mix so that I have at least 3 inches of moist soil in the bottom after I wet it. Let it drain until its not running out the bottom. Add seeds, put a label inside the edge (I use pieces of old plastic mini blinds for my labels) and put outside.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 12:10PM
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plantmasterm(z7)

this will be my 2nd year ws ing the 1st year was a diaster bcause I didnt see spouts for a long time so I was worried I had done something wrong so I took my containers in the house..live and learn..this year Im in a much smaller space and dont have the room for that many jugs so Im using cleaned out soup containers and clear cups that Ive collected from Mcdonalds really hoping I will have good experience using these containers..anyone every try any other containers beside milk jugs and 2liter bottles

    Bookmark   December 27, 2010 at 9:17PM
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gardenweed_z6a

plantmasterm - folks use SO many different types of containers for winter sowing. The rule of thumb to keep in mind is whether the container holds enough growing mix for the roots and headroom for the sprouts. WS sprouts have incredible roots. If the soup containers you've got meet those basic requirements, they should be fine. The growing mix in smaller containers tends to dry out quicker than the milk jugs/2 liters. Last year I didn't have to water any of my hundreds of WS milk jugs before the sprouts were ready for planting out but others have posted they needed to bottom water their containers.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 3:16AM
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gardenunusual(5b)

My latest container is a salt container. Seemed sturdy. It's not. Learned real fast the bottom is glued on. After trying a couple of little paper pots indoors, not impressed, only because they do suck up all the water and leave the soil dry. I have a bottle of mouthwash almost done, I'll be using that for my next odd container.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 8:50AM
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cab321(5A)

Thanks for the photos Lois. Seeing makes everything simpler.
Carrie

    Bookmark   December 28, 2010 at 12:28PM
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