Return to the Growing from Seed Forum | Post a Follow-Up

When to sow in winter for outside summer Garden

Posted by squid4life 6 (My Page) on
Wed, Nov 17, 10 at 16:30

I hope you all can aswer this. After all you seem to be the experts. What dates are best for sowing the following in zone 6?: Basil, Oregano, Sage, rosemary, chamomile, tomatoes. I know tomato does better sown early but what about the herbs? Would it be better to sew directly into my growing pots or to sow early indoors with peat pellets?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: When to sow in winter for outside summer Garden

Me personally I would sow directly in your pots outside in febuary or march. I do not like to grow indoors.

RE: When to sow in winter for outside summer Garden

Try posting this on the Wintersowing forum, as they are some serious experts on what and when to grow. I've gotten WS basil and tomatoes from swaps and they are no different than the ones started indoors, in terms of size by July.

I've grown Basil, Rosemary, and tomatoes from seed, all indoors, so here's my 2 cents. Basil can be started in the growing pot, if you have room, 4 weeks before last frost. They need a LOT of light to keep from getting leggy, so you must provide for that. I would start tomatoes in pellets or soil, but not in the growing pot. Again, about 4 weeks before final frost. You're going to want REALLY big containers for the tomatoes come summer, and you want to plant them deeper than what they sprouted from. I usually pull off the first set of leaves from the stem come potting up time and get that below soil level. Makes for a more stable plant, and more roots will shoot out from where the leaves were. Again, tomatoes need lots of light. Both basil and tomato need warmth too, so make sure they aren't subjected to temps below 55F when they are babies. Both grow really fast, so don't start them too early.

Rosemary is a slow germinator. They definitely need to be started early if you want any sizeable plants in the summer. Again, lots of light, and don't over water! Rosemary likes to dry out between waterings, but doesn't like dry air (go figure). If you see white fuzzy bits on the rosemary, it means they could use a light misting of water, or just a trip with you into the bathroom during the morning shower! I did not have trouble transplanting them, and if you put them into their growing pots too soon, they won't get a chance to dry out.

All 3 needs to be warm at germination time, especially the rosemary. I found the best way for rosemary was the baggy method, set over the warm vents of my cable box. Nice warm even heat 24/7!

Hope this helps...

RE: When to sow in winter for outside summer Garden

For basil, oregano and tomatoes, at the least six weeks before your frost free date or the date you plan to transplant them. I tend to go with eight weeks. That gives them a week to sprout, a week for you to harden them off, and the other six weeks to grow.

Of course, a lot depends on what size plants you want, your growing conditions, lighting.


RE: When to sow in winter for outside summer Garden

I just looked at my chart and I winter sowed grape tomato seeds February 28; they sprouted March 2. I winter sowed Stupice tomato seeds March 28; they sprouted April 29. With winter sowing, there is no hardening off because they germinate & sprout in the chilly spring temperatures. The WS containers protect them from frost. My grape tomato plants grew 9 ft. tall & produced enough fruit for me to give lots away.

RE: When to sow in winter for outside summer Garden

Most gardeners are just itching to get things going, but I have learned over the years that one of the greatest virtues of any gardener is PATIENCE. Seeds sown too early stand a much higher risk of damping off. I use the 60 rule. Don't sow anything until the outside temp has reached 60F but then rush. Get the seedlings outside as soon as poss.

RE: When to sow in winter for outside summer Garden

The first question is where will you be starting these seeds? In the kitchen window sill, under lights, in greenhouse? There are different dates and conditions that will determine when you want to start them.

Where is zone 6 are you. I am in the same zone in southern Indiana. I have been keeping a chart for years of when I start my plants and the successes or failures of each.

I start my seeds under 4' flourescent light units in my unheated garage. I keep them at least 65-70 degrees. Because I start hundreds of plants I start them in plug trays. Once there up and have about 4 true leaves I transplant them into larger pots.

I have a small greenhouse that my husband and I built that is unheated. Once the weather gets nicer I put all of the pots in the greenhouse. As long as it doesn't get below 38 degrees in the greenhouse at night (few and far between)they do fine. You certainly would not want a constant diet of those temps but a few chilly nights won't hurt them. This of course is for the tomatoes. I would wait longer for the basil because it is much more sensitive. It could not take cold nights.

My notes from last year show that I started my tomatoes and peppers the 2nd week of March. The basil was started the 3rd week of March. They were planted in the garden sometime in the first 2 weeks of May. I don't plant any sooner than that because the ground is still cool and I think it stunts things especially peppers. They like hot weather.

Rosemary is better grown from starts. It takes way too long to grow from seed.

I hope this helps. Let me know where in zone 6 you are.

RE: When to sow in winter for outside summer Garden

As has already been suggested I think the Winter Sowing - GardenWeb people could be very helpful.

RE: When to sow in winter for outside summer Garden

I used to start seedlings under lights 5+ years ago, and can't even remember when I would start them. Maybe about 6 weeks before the last frost? Now I start all seedlings outside, winter-sowing perennials and "spring-sowing" the tender plants like basil and tomatoes, usually in the 1st half of April.

The perennials go under the shrubbery on the east side of the house and I don't worry about the snow or frost with them. The tender heat lovers get sown in large cups, the cups are lined up in a large plastic container, and the containers put along the foundation on the south side of the house. This is the warmest spot outside - the foundation holds heat at night and the southern exposure receives maximum sun at that time of year (until the trees get their leaves!). There has been a hard frost in the rest of the yard and the seedlings along the foundation aren't at all frosted, so I don't even usually cover them on cold nights. I water them from the top and bottom by filling the container with a bit of water. This method works really well - no lights, no damping off, no extra elec. charges, and the herbs and tomatoes grow great.

However, if I really wanted earlier yields - I would start a few things under lights to get a jump on the season. (Or you can buy big seedlings someplace, but seeds are so cheap and easy.)

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Growing from Seed Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here