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My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Posted by heavenlyfarm 6 (free2be_any1@yahoo.com) on
Mon, Nov 25, 13 at 12:00

Hi,
So I'm taking the plunge and heading back down the rabbit hole and going back into my passion of gardening again!! This year will be my first year attempting winter-sowing as well....as in the past, I have either started indoors (with varying results and leggy seedlings everywhere) or after danger of frost, in pots all over my porch. I also managed to order myself a patio greenhouse for Christmas to use along with the jugs and containers.(I assume it basically is the same concept?)
I'm planning on positioning the containers and greenhouse on the east side of the porch where it gets sun only till a little after noon and then shade. Now once they sprout and I can open them up during the day when its warm, can I move them to the south part of the porch that gets primarily full sun all day? Also, the patio greenhouse, i will just be using normal flats in since it is covered in plastic.
Also, maybe not related to winter-sowing exactly but I am excited in a few things I bought!! Besides the patio greenhouse I'm getting, I also will be ordering a seedling nozzle for watering(the disappointment and frustrations of the normal hose will be gone!), ordering weatherproof markers( and they better work so I can not strain my eyes and try to decipher what everything is), also now have a rubber-maid container to hold seed starting soil in!! I do love being organized and it seems my 'comeback' as I will call it, will be a success this coming year! I feel like its been ages since I did gardening and had my porch filled with pots and seedlings and my seed list is so bleh right now since I'm basically starting over!
~michael

P.S. Do they really make the old milk jugs elsewhere? Because all the stores around here, carry those new white ones which irks me cuz you can't use them right?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 25, 13 at 21:20

Hi Michael, I'm glad to see you've been bitten by the gardening bug again ;)

As for the patio greenhouse, if you have purchased the type I'm imagining, do you have a way of anchoring it in wind (upright, about 3 shelves and a zippered covering?) If not a lower model, you wouldn't be the first to have it tip over in wind, spilling its contents. You may have to water flats, give them a little more attention in your climate if enclosed in a structure, not either open to the weather (few climates other than mine can get away with that) or lidded individually where they would retain moisture longer.

Whether or not you can move your sprouted containers to a sunnier location would depend on if they are sun loving plants ;) You'll move your shade plants if there are any, closer to the house and out of the sun, the things that like a brighter location into more, but be careful, those winter sown pots can dry out quickly and you don't want to be caught off guard, find wilted seedlings. But that would be Spring and Spring is a long way off....enjoy your winter sowing in the meantime and your garden should reflect your effort next year.

And I buy milk at Costco, we probably drink more milk than any other two adults you might meet. They are solid wax coated cardboard so I don't know about the translucence of other name brand milks these days, I'm not using milk cartons for my own sowing, hopefully someone else closer to your area and picking up milk not at Costco can tell you :).


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Yes it is a 4 tier shelf with a zipper cover! It was pretty cheap so I'm hoping it will help to give me some good results with little expense!! I figured, itd be more a challenge to make sure the seedlings dont get dried out or baked in there but let's take a chance! haha and thank you, I didnt think of anchoring it but I have a gameplan now to keep it anchored to its spot!! thank you!
I dont think I really will be winter-sowing a whole lot of shade lovers for the most part! ( Just had a big pine tree removed to give our one hill full sun all day so I can plant alot more sun lovers!)

And the milk jugs, I just get so confused lol Nowhere around here seems to sell the old ones that are more translucent anymore! Maybe its just pennsylvania lol
~Michael


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

oh and for clear containers, I guess that's what friends are for ;) I'll just keep bothering all my friends and coworkers for clear ones or soda bottles!! haha
~Michael


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

I had 2 of those greenhouses My back porch is screened in and I put them on that porch.I bought aluminum baking pans that have clear plastic lids.These hold in the moisture real well and I had 100% germ.using this setup.One yr I used them outside and the plastic tore up.If you use the white milk jugs cut them in half leaveing the area at the handle uncut as a hinge.Cut most of the top away.keep the corners intack as a frame.Put a clear bag over this make a hole in the bottem of the bag and the spout goes in that..Hope this helps


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Another option is water jugs. In our area they are clear gallon jugs. I actually preferred to get water jugs from recycling bins as they didn't have the sour milk smell of not well rinsed milk jugs.


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

I strongly recommend anchoring the greenhouse to something solid and using every tie on the plastic cover. The plastic will catch the slightest wind and try to carry the shelves into the next county. I used screw eyes and wire to hold the shelves to a deck and adjoining fence. Do this now, before a dark and stormy night (voice of experience).


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Hi Michael! Just wanted to wish you the best of luck! I am starting winter sowing for the first time this year too and very excited! As for the clearer milk jugs, Giant around here has them.

Karolina


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Update!!

My mini greenhouse arrived about two weeks ago :) It is all set-up now but I did not move it out this week like planned cuz of the snow we got :( Once the snow melts or if I feel like actually shoveling all the snow off the porch where I'm putting it, I will also anchor it down so it doesn't blow away lol.
As for containers, I purchased water jugs the other days, getting containers from co-workers, and a few I got from work....I think this year will be an experiment to see which containers worked and what doesn't! :)
Finally, I'm gonna keep updating this thread once I begin wintersowing to show my progress and my efforts and hopefully the rewards!! :)
~Michael


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Good luck to Michael and Karolina!

Kroger carries milk in the translucent jugs here. But you can also look for water, iced tea, orange juice, etc.

You can re-use jugs as well, though the plastic starts to degrade eventually. Just depends on how tough it is for you to find new containers each year!


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

UPDATE!!!!

So I winter sowed 11 containers so far!! Super excited to see what comes up from all these containers! I plan on doing lots more but my faith is swaying as I look at the containers outside in the snow and see snow over them and inside them and I just can't imagine how this is going to work out! lol I will be posting pics soon of the containers I did so far and definetely when I get my first sprouts! Yes, I will be one of those newbies who will be screaming to everyone how it really works!! Lol
~Michael


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Michael,
You will soon be a convert and addict of wintersowing. Your neighbors will grow accustomed to your yearly "pot ghetto" and they'll look forward to your gifts of spare seedlings that you have no time or energy to plant, because you have more than you know what to do with. Your lawn will shrink as you expand your garden beds to accommodate all your plants. Birds and bees and butterflies will become increasingly frequent visitors. Life will never be the same. Welcome.

Martha


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Oh Michael, do not allow your faith in Winter Sowing to sway...it's magic, and it works oh so well. You will be amazed at the amount of plants you are going to have! Plus you won't be spending all that money at the nurseries in Spring. It's a win/win.


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Michael, why is there snow 'inside' the containers? You do want them covered with snow, but not inside. I can see rot happening if the top is open so snow can come in.

With milk jugs, you should tape the flap closed. The hole in the top is fine --- snow isn't going to come in there.


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

I just meant a little from what got through the hole on the top where the cap used to be...and thanks everyone! I can not wait to see the results. I'm up to 21 containers I've done so far lol I have a lot more perennials I wanna winter sow in the next couple months from trades. I feel so fortunate to have a lot of new varieties to try and a new technique to use and it seems easy enough!!
~michael


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Congrats on your first containers, Heavenly! Sorry to hear about the white milk jugs, but as Docmom says you can probably find water jugs, and there are many other options for containers.

My favorites are 2 LTR bottles. They work well, are easy to cut, and last for years. I rinse, store, and re-use containers from year to year, and prefer not to fuss over prepping containers each year. Milk/water/cider jugs with the translucent #2 plastic work well for wsing but that type of plastic only lasts a year or two - gets brittle in the cold and breaks down.

Btw, it''s okay if there is snow in the containers. It won't hurt the seeds.


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Thank you terrene! I wanted to make sure everything was okay so I even went back and made sure I was suppose to remove the cap lol. The reason for the tiny bit of the snow was probably cuz I was doing some winter sowing that day during a snow shower and setting them out right away! It is a nice activity for the Winter blues and makes me think about new flowers, new beginnings, and new gardens to make up!
I feel like I'm getting my own way of doing it too with the jugs/bottles. I have various containers but I'm finding the 2LTR and water/milk/cider jugs are the best and easiest for me to do so I think I will stick too them next year if all goes well!

~michael


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

So far I have I think 55 containers done :) will be doing more throughout the cold winter and do the annuals probably in March :)
~Michael

I think I've been bitten by the winter sowing bug and I hope I will be rewarded with lots of seedlings this year!!


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

You go Michael! Very impressed! I was bitten by the bug too. Do you have a list of what you have sown?
Susan


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

I just finished my first 16 and have lots more to do but wanted to take advantage of the 40 deg. we have today. (a relief after days of below zero!)

One important tip if you use milk jugs is to take twine and tie them together (in fours) to protect yourself from losing them to wind. One winter when I first started WS, we had heavy wind and mine were scattered all over the yard. Fortunately the soil was frozen solid so I didn't lose anything. Also, use a long enough piece of twine so you can tie a bow for taking them apart if necessary.

Also one winter my jugs were scattered because our new lab pup thought they were toys. A little training was necessary there.


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Just a gentle warning about all your enthusiasm. You really don't realize that every milk jug and bottle that you've sown will sprout many seedlings. When spring arrives, you are going to have to find time, energy and space to plant them in the ground some where. Just ask my husband. He's so tired of tip-toeing through my jugs much of the summer because I haven't had time to get them all in the ground. We've all been there, and it's a nice problem to have, but the sowing part of the process is just the fun beginning. I look forward to hearing your squeals of joy when you see your first green sprouts.

Martha


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Martha,

I know, it really hit me the past few days that it means, alot of containers to keep track of and open up on warm days and close on cool nights! I'm basically done with my perennials besides what I might get in two round robins I'm doing ( I am also gonna most likely stop trading for this year). Now, I'm just gonna wait awhile to start the annuals around march and then I'm gonna be one busy bee!! (BTW, can i winter sow hardy annuals now or should most wait till later, march?)
I think this will probably be my biggest year winter sowing containers as I am trying to redo alot of the flower beds that have been neglected.(my mom has dizzy issues and has left the reins to me!) The only other year I can forsee doing this many is when I can afford my own house and small farm which I'm saving for in the future...but that is many moons away.....and I just can't wait to see the sprouts all start coming up!
~Michael
P.S. yes I will be overjoyed, screaming, jumping and exclaiming that it really works! especially to my mom who doubts all these containers.

OHHHHHHHH and I will include a list of the things I sowed soon :)


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

50 MPH winds gusting today and my jugs are all staying put. If I hadn't tied them, they would be all over the place (and the soil hasn't frozen yet!)


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

I've already sown some hardy annuals. These are native varieties of annual monardas that I grow for the pollinators and other beneficial insects. They are very cold tolerant and are usually some of my first sprouts each spring. Whether you want to start hardy annuals yet depends on how much you'll have to do later or how much time you have now. It doesn't matter to the plants, unless they need cold stratification.

Martha


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

I have my first wee little Kale, 'Dwarf Blue Curled' sprouts!!! YAY!


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

I'm jealous!!! Ive been sneaking peeks at mine the last couple days lol. and for some of the things I've been winter sowing:
~a few varieties of columbine (tho i still want to find the one that appears on the gardenweb page sometime lol)
~balloon flower...i need more of those plus i got white and double blue this year!!
~asclepias tuberosa :) hopefully the seeds will also give me some yellow ones
~hmm drawing blanks already lol...well i did more blackberry lily for the side garden leading to the back of the house
~scabiosa...never had any sprout for me when i tried indoors so hopefully this works
~yarrow...have a few new colors to try :)
~black hollyhocks
~pink peony poppies (i know about transplanting but i thought i'd do at least one container this way!)
~pacific giant delphiniums (found pics in tasha tudor's book and fell in love!!!! here's hoping they aren't fussy for me!)
~russell lupines....i always want this plant but can never seem to find it at any nursery (?)
~wild saphyr flax (not sure if I'm gonna love this or hate it when it grows up)
~arizona sun gallardia (use to have tons in the garden that my mom got but now i have one lonely plant that gave me tons of seeds to try)
~many more but i forget and will have to look later! lol
Eventually I'll start working on most of the annual including carnations(never had them but they look so cute!!), envy zinnias, red eye verbena, and some tomato varieties....After these two round robins I'm in, I will probably be done winter sowing for the most part unless I decide to break and order what I didn't get in the swaps from Sample Seed Shop. (which I'm trying to stick too all these new seeds already that I got in various seed swaps to try but its really tempting when something you want is within reach!) So far staying strong....
~michael

P.S. it is very hard being a seed/gardening addict


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

oh and its hard being a newbie winter sowing addict! it's really hard for me not to say, "hey lets try another container of this plant, it won't be that much work. just one more."
lol I will be very busy this spring and summer but for me this year, it is really refreshing getting back into gardening and it's the best way I found to cope with my anxiety/stress.
~michael


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Whats with all this cold and snow?!?! feels like 2 degrees with wind chills in the negatives....I haven't even peeked at the containers lol I hate this waiting and no new seeds to keep me busy! I can't wait for it to warm up! :)
~Michael


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

I'm on day three of four teenagers home from school due to cold and slippery roads. I still have to drive all over heck's half acre to reach patients, while they sit home eating everything in sight. Though, I must say I enjoy that moment when I get to deliver the news to their sleepy heads. Even they are getting tired of it. They've past the point where they will need to extend the school year due to snow days. Bummer.

I'm also not allowed to sow anything until spring. Bummer.

Martha


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Omg I hated that, it was no longer fun after that to have off cuz of snow cuz it meant another School Day in Summer! lol too funny....So is it bad that I'm putting all my faith/seeds into winter sowing? Here and there, i've thought about whether to sow another container or save the seeds and try the rest indoors but then I think of the haphazard of it, the cold soil, the damp off, the lights needing to be installed so i just winter sow all the seeds lol...I guess it doesn't really matter, whatever doesnt sprout will just be added to my want list again and the hunt will begin again!
~Michael


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

What a depressing last couple of days!! Its been snow and more snow and then ice. I had gotten a few seeds in a trade so i thought I'd winter sow today but Idk if its gonna happen. I went out with a shovel to dig spots on the porch for more containers and well.....everything is ice, a thick layer of snow ice. I can't even shovel it, its like an ice skating arena.( this is actually how our whole yard is right now, you cant really make footprints in the snow cuz its frozen too much lol) Most of the containers are also covered in a layer of snow and ice still from the last couple days :(

And so i mentioned how I'm using one of those mini-greenhouses and okay there is moisture all over the sides of the greenhouse itself but i look in it, and most of the pots look dried out....do i water or leave it be for now? I'm sorry if this is a stupid thing to ask but I don't know what to do with it! lol
~Michael


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

If your weather has been freezing temps, there usually is no reason to need to water. But, if you have condensation inside the greenhouse, that may mean it's been warm enough inside for drying to occur. As long as you have adequate drainage, extra water will not hurt.

Also, it's fine to set containers out on top of the snow and ice. I have containers that are at least a foot off the ground because we've had record snowfalls this year. As the snow melts, they'll settle down. Some may tip over, but I just pick them back up and set them down somewhere stable, if I can. They don't fall far enough to knock the dirt out of place.

Try not to be too anxious. Spring will come and you will have more seedlings than you know what to do with. Spend some time reading up on seed collecting. That will be your next addiction. Even when you have more plants than you know what to do with, you won't be able to resist collecting seeds until your seed boxes are overflowing.

Wintersowing is your new way of life!

Martha


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Thank you so much docmom for basically holding my hand so far! lol i watered the seed trays in the greenhouse today :) there was condensation and some seemed dried out a little...and omg, i bought like 3 or 4 books on seed saving and seed planting different seeds. the one contains info on planting alot of different varieties and care on each plant and i keep it close with me when new seeds arrive!! I also can not wait to attempt to save more varieties this year and have much more to offer in fall if all goes right!!
I've also informed several family members, if this all goes good, i might have extras to give away. also might do some flemarket or yarden sales in the future...I really love gardening and I'm so glad I am taking time to do a hobby that I love so much again! I would love to find a job in gardening in the future or just to sell a few plants at fleamarkets and stuff. The garden is fun but it's also more enjoyable when you have people ooo and ahhhh over your plants and are asking you questions or ideas. :) : ) :)

Thank you so much!
~michael

P.S. Even without sprouts, I am thoroughly enjoying this new project and experience! <3


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Hey UPDATE!!!
I have my first sprouts!!! yay, i am so excited and can't wait for more! i've been spot checking here and there and even made my sister go check them for me the other day and of course, she was the one to find them sprouting!!! maybe I need to start wearing my glasses all the time....anyways so far I have :
oxeye daisies ( hopefully to take over our one hill)
cardonna salvia (really excited about this one as I love its color)
lavender poppies
shirley poppies
fruit punch and coral reef mix poppies
roman chamomile (really excited to try tea from it this year to see if it helps with my anxiety)
dark purple malva (pretty sure this is the one from you docmom so thank you!!!)

I am so excited at my success so far, so even tho its cold again outside and flurrying, i am spending this day, planning out all the new gardens!! I originally had them planned out till i did so many more seed trades and ordered a few other plants so i am starting over with my "plan" :)))))))
thank you everyone!!


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Yeah!!!! Isn't it exciting? I hope you get lots of the Purple Malva. They really are a pretty color, and bloom all summer, if you dead head. Congrats on all your sprouts. We've barely been above freezing, so I haven't checked my jugs. But, next week we might get to nearly 60. I'll check then. I also need to be on the lookout for the dreaded, foreign, invasive garlic mustard. It is the first plant to show green, so early spring is the time to get out and kill it, before anything else sprouts. I've got about an acre of wooded area that has significant garlic mustard growth. So, I need to be diligent.

Keep us posted on any new sprouts.

Martha


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Oh, I remember the excitement of new sprouts. Still gets me even after years of ws.

Still below freezing here for a high but 40s are forecast for the rest of the week. Time for me to get started so I can check my containers for sprouts, and yes, I check them every time I walk by, can't resist.

Sounds like you are having fun, Michael. I reread all your postings on this thread and know you will be delighted when those perennials start blooming next year.


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Congrats on your sprouts Heavenly! It is exciting to see those little green baby plants emerging, such a wonderful miracle of nature. So much potential in a tiny seed.

I do not have any sprouts, it has been cold here until only the last 3 days or so. Finally Spring is in the air - although we had some cold sleet today, so apparently March came IN as a lion, and it's going OUT as a lion too!


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RE: My first wintersowing project! Tips? Very excited!!

Congrats on your sprouts. It's so much fun the first time that you see this method work.


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