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Lots of light, but too cold?

Posted by vivid_dawn Utah (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 21, 11 at 18:07

I'm not sure if this should go in "Winter Sowing" or not.
I would like my flowers to have a little head-start this year.
I live in a basement, and while the patio door (south end of house) gets plenty of light, it is rather cold...averaging only 60F (65 daytime, 55-50 night time).
I've heard plants need to be at least 70F to start growing... so if I planted flower seeds and put them by the patio door, would they not grow because it's too cold, even though there's plenty of light? I've heard columbine actually need cold first...should I try just those to begin with? I think it's too late to plant bulbs now, but I got a few of those too (tulips & iris).
I was thinking of planting no later than Feb. 15 so they would at least be sprouted and "going" by May 15 when I can put them outside after frost.

Plants I am definitely wanting:
catnip
columbine
Canterbury bells

Plants I would like to have:
morning glory (convolvulus)
4 o'clocks
larkspur
lupine


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Lots of light, but too cold?

Are you planting in containers (i.e., recycled milk jugs, take-out containers) or in pots/cell packs? With winter sowing, seeds are planted in containers with moistened growing medium and the containers are placed outside in the cold. They become "mini greenhouses" and are in Mother Nature's hands until the seeds germinate when it's their time to do so according to their genetic code.

While this may or may not represent giving them a head start, the advantages are healthy, robust plants that do not need to be hardened off to the outside elements because they "grew up" in them and are already accustomed to fluctuating temperatures and sunlight/daylight conditions. Also, there is no waiting to put them outside after the last frost--winter sown seedlings are tough and most can withstand whatever Ma Nature throws at them.

The information on seed packs about required germination temperatures is intended for growing indoors and doesn't apply when winter sowing.

Hope that helps. Others may chime in as well so if you have more questions, go ahead and ask.

Here are some of my winter sown containers:

Here's my first lupine sprout last year in April when it got its second "true" leaf:


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RE: Lots of light, but too cold?

For most seeds temperature and moisture are more important than light for germination. Many seeds will germinate at 60 degrees although often much slower. As soon as germinated they will need light. If winter sowed, germination will occur when conditions are right. Many seeds will actually germinate better with the fluctuating temperatures of the outside, but not on your schedule. Al


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RE: Lots of light, but too cold?

Check the winter sowing forum. Good luck.


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RE: Lots of light, but too cold?

Thanks for the replies!
I was planning on planting in those 6-pack little black square pots to begin with, then after they sprouted to a decent size then transfer them to the ground outside after May 15 (last frost).

I do have a room that is constantly 75F (my bedroom), that I could start them in, as they don't need light right away... then after they get sprouted, I could move them to the "sunlit but colder" room?

@ Gardenweed - I have actually been saving milk jugs like that! I was going to cut the tops off, so that I could sprinkle the seeds in the soil and put some soil over them. How do you do it through the narrow opening? That would definitely help keep more of the greenhouse effect than if the tops were off like I planned. I also have quite a few clear plastic storage bins that I figured I could use for mini-greenhouses when I use the little 6-pack black pot things.


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RE: Lots of light, but too cold?

vivid_dawn - don't cut the tops off the milk jugs. Cut all the way around but leave an inch or so at the base of the handle as a "hinge" that you can use to open and close the jugs. Once the jug is cut open, you can put your growing mix inside, moisten it, sow your seeds, stick in a label, close the top with a piece of tape and set it outside. You don't need to cover the seeds with soil inside the jugs. A little bird grit or a gentle spritz from a spray bottle of water will help them make contact with the growing mix.

Is your email address on your member page? If it is I can email some detailed pictures for you to show you how I WS in milk jugs. Or, email me first and I'll reply with pictures.


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RE: Lots of light, but too cold?

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 28, 11 at 17:53

Vivid, you can use a top or cover on seeds while inside, but if you are thinking of using tops inside for seedlings - that's not a good idea and can lead to damp off. The tops inside are for germinaton, maintaining a humid environment for the seeds, they are removed at germination so the seedlings can have circulation/air.

The method Gardenweed is showing you is for sowing of seeds outdoors in winter.


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RE: Lots of light, but too cold?

@Gardenweed - My e-mail is on my profile, yes.

@morz8 - Oh, okay. Thanks!


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