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Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Posted by token28001 zone7b NC (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 14, 09 at 9:33

Just last year when I was a newbie, I read almost every thread in this forum. I'd stay up late at night trying to find more pictures of plants, how well this works, and so forth. I asked a lot of questions too. In the summer of 2008, I built a new bed in my side yard. I covered the existing soil with cardboard and leaf mold from the landfill. It's hard packed clay, so I needed to loosen it up a bit. Over the winter, I sowed my seeds, and planted out.

I also spent a lot of time in the cottage garden forum. There are some beautiful gardens there and wintersowing just seems to naturally go hand in hand with that type of garden. You can grow so many kinds of plants that it's hard to create a formal garden with so many choices and varieties available from seed. I wanted a cottage garden. Wintersowng made it happen.

Some things I learned from reading other peoples' blogs and posts on GardenWeb. Plant multiples. If you plant one of each plant, it tends to look like a hodgepodge. Planting multiples gives you repetition. I started with a hardy hibiscus, shastas, and rudbeckia. Then I scattered Hunks of Seedlings of various plants between those "anchor" points. Plant diagonally to the walkway, path, or street. It gives you a drifting look. Threes, fives, and sevens. Plant in odd numbers. Add in large foliage, vertical elements, mix small blooms with large gaudy blooms. Plant daylilies here and there for vertical interest. Add grasses. And shrubs. Don't be too worried about height and sizes. Cottage gardens tend to flop all over each other. If you don't like a plant, take it out. It's hard, I know. Next year, you'll sow more seeds of something you do like. Save seeds. Trade seeds. Spend time researching. Pay attention to sun exposure for the plants you're growing. Don't worry about the details of wintersowing. Provide drainage, a cover, label, and good soil. You will have some success. You will have some failure. Don't get too technical. It's supposed to be about having fun, right?

Just a few photos below of the process so you can get an idea of just how many plants you get from wintersowing. Not all plants were wintersown. Some were purchased, some were gifts, some were raised from cuttings and other means of propagation. Once you learn on technique, learn others. Plants do it in nature all the time. A stem touches the ground, gets covered with leaves, and roots to form a new plant.

December 15, 2008

February 12, 2009

February 26, 2009

March 2, 2009

March 29, 2009

April 10, 2009

May 24, 2009

June 12, 2009

June 21, 2009 - summer solstice.

July 19, 2009

On August 18, I injured myself with the lawnmower and a rock. The gardens went downhill after that. I couldn't get around much to water and rain wasn't coming as often as I needed it. Some plants thrived. Others wilted away.

August 30, 2009 - From the front porch, I was on crutches.

September 20, 2009 - the day before the official 1st day of Fall.

October 11, 2009. Lots of plants are done. Seeds collected. Seeds scattered. The garden is being put to bed for the winter.

Wintersowing works. Share your success for the newbies. Photos welcomed.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Speechless and inspiring! Thanks Token for sharing!


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

  • Posted by tomva 7-central virginia (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 14, 09 at 10:51

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

This has GOT TO BE the best thread ever - See the progression from bare to fantastic - with all the containers in between - Love it, token

Carrie


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Token: You are a good writer and a good teacher. This photo essay educates and inspires, motivates and alleviates concerns. By laying out the steps so clearly, with photos, you lead the reader to conclude, "I can do that too."

You are patient and encouraging you share your expertise and tips. It's difficult to believe that you were a newbie a short time ago.

This post needs to go into the permanent archives or FAQs section.

Thanks, Token.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

First a student, now a teacher.....Tokens gardens have always had me in awe. And he is always so full of encouragement and inspiration.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Fabulous thread, Token, it really embodies the true spirit of gardening, the joy and beauty that result from a wonderful relaxed attitude about it all. Thank you for showing us just how amazing a garden can be.

Mary


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Thanks for the compliments. And I hope others are inspired to do the same. Get the soil in the garden right and you've got it made. Those little wintersown buggers are tough as nails.

If I can do this, anyone can.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.2

And for a little more background, here's the side yard the day I saw the house when it was for sale.

My first attempt at gardening in the summer of 2008. It wasn't all I had hoped for.

Finalized design with leaf mold laying out a path of green grass. Rocks from the property were added later.

So you see, in less than a year, you can have a beautiful garden.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Here's my pix for newbies..snug seeds in bottles..
snow on the w/s bottles
Sprouted bottles set out to where I "think" they may look good as plants, in my newly expanded bed.
Photobucket
Here's my HOS (Hunk o sprouts) just starting..
spring 06
And here's what the bed looked like mid-summer..
Photobucket
Now..I did add some nursery plants, i.e. sweet potato vine and a couple of sunshine impatiens, but most everything else was wintersown, even the blue ageratum.
Wintersowing is the BEST!!!


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Token, you's the man!
-B


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Wendy, I remember seeing your pictures last winter. You have another trellis with a blue morning glory, right? Gorgeous.

So you see kids, I'm not the only one who went from nothing to fabulous using this method.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

wendy - I've always loved your pictures - thanks for posting them again!!

Carrie


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Absolutely fabulous!!

I see from your photos that I need a lot more variety.

My goal is the cottage garden as well.

Thanks for sharing.

Deb


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden./but grooming is important

My sweet little bed turned into a bit of a monster. Last year wasn't so bad because we hardly had any sun, but 2008 looked like this...
Photobucket
I have to cut back the bridal veil and dogwood which is nice in that it disguises the chain link, but really encroaches on the flowers. Sigh..I guess I could keep digging the bed further into the lawn...
BTW, my sea holly just looks like a thistle..none of those "steely blues" that I read about...mine is just a dull grey. I think I'm going to yank it.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

wish I had pulled of these magnificent changes from lawn to cottage splendor in a single season. These pictures are truly inspiring.

I bit off more than I could chew this last summer. I wanted lots of flowers everywhere. Thanks to wintersowing I ended up with tons but after dividing them between all the places I wanted them it ended up rather sparse with just a few here and there, and there, oh and a couple over there.

Wendy, I have to know what are the tall yellow flowers on the right? I cannot make them out on my computer, but I could use something with a little height in a sunny color. My rudbeckia are just not that prominent.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

I remember those pictures. Beautiful. I don't think I'll ever achieve that pretty, perfect spacing and and appropriate heights with tall things in back and short in front.

Karen


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Wendy, that's the bed I was thinking of. I love how it filled in the second year. I know next year mine will be better too. I've got a ton of perennials that didn't bloom this summer, so I'm hopeful they'll kick it up a bit this year.

Personally, I love the dogwood. It's variegated redtwig, right?


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variety

Deb, variety is what makes a cottage garden. Here's a shot from August 1, 2009. I can't make out all the plants that are blooming, but I know from walking the path every day that there were petunias, rudbeckia, melampodium, amaranthus, zinnias, cleome, cosmos, coreopsis, monarda, multi-headed sunflowers (which are actually just black oil sunflowers that got pinched early), salvias, knockout roses, and hardy hibiscus.

Lots of nonblooming plants have foliage that adds interest too. And height. Since the trees around this bed are so large, I needed BIG plants. Castor bean and a tree in that bed really helped. All these seeds will be available in the contest I'm hosting.

Shinyalloy, Rudbeckia comes in many forms. Some have just a couple blooms per plant, others bloom from many stems. I pinched a lot of mine to make them fuller. The first few blooms were sacrificed to force side shoots and more blooms.

The above are all from Rudbeckia hirta seeds. The one below is rudbeckia fulgida. It's a true perennial.

I even had several brown rudbeckias. I saved those seed separately. The original plant was "Autumn colors"

Here's a link to a garden that truly inspires. She posts in the cottage garden forum, so I'm linking to that thread.

Late June, posted October 2008 I drooled over these pictures for weeks last winter. I don't grow this many roses, but I might start.

These are from this past July. Still stunning.

So you find inspiration from others. I love the intimacy of her gardens, even if she doesn't wintersow. I can only imagine how expensive it was to create.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Looks like I'll be lurking in the cottage garden forum more often. You would have to post a link from a zone 5 gardener. Normally I drool over pics with zone envy, now I'm without excuses.
'autumn colors' just got added to my wish list that baby is showier than my 'hot chocolate'


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

shiny, I just wanted to show that you don't have to live in zone 7b to have a packed garden. You just get your blooms a month or so later than we do.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Cottage Gardening is my goal but I am sure I will never achieve anything like Token or Reginaz or Carrie. Totally Awesome!


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Sure you can. Just plant everything really close. Sow lots of containers and seeds. Direct sow easy to germinate annuals, and walk around with a container in one hand and a trowel in another trying to find a spot of plant just one more... :)


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

I will never know as much about gardening as you do Token but I follow every move you make (on your blog and here at ws) trying to learn more. (showed my husband your new hoop house in hopes he will make me one)I go over to CG once in a while too. I need to go there more often. I have 3 40lb bags of potting soil and 1 bale of ProMix in the back of my car now just waiting to start. How much do you all use? I plan to wintersow all of it in containers. I have 3 Plastic shoe boxes of seeds. One is perennials and another is annual. A third one for veggies. But I can't wait to see what new seeds I get in the winterswap! I am getting tired of playing with the same ole packets I already have. I need new seeds to play with. lol


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

I have a question about planting out...I hope this is the right place to ask. If you WS a container and have 10 seeds sprout. When you plant out those seedlings, do you only put one or do you put 3-4 close together so you have a big bushy plant? I hope this question makes sense...if not I can try to word it differently.

Thanks
Heidi


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Depends on what it is. Big seeds for big plants like zinnia or nasturtium I sow singly and plant out singly. Tiny things like digitalis I just sprinkle over a jug. When ready to plant out, I dump them out, cut into chunks with a knife, and plant hunks.

Karen


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

THANKS for the list of plants!!

I know I have much more variety then I did last year.

2010, I hope to have great photos to share!!

Such inspiration - again - thanks for sharing the photos!!


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Heidi, these are some various Hunks of Seedlings I planted out this past year.

Dianthus- this clump has spread to over 2' wide this year.

And dianthus blooming.

Rudbeckia's first bloom. You can see the other plant on the right just out of the picture.

There were three plants in all, planted about 8-12" apart. Here they are a couple months later.

The shastas in this picture are planted in a row of 5, diagonal to the driveway. They're the largest plant in the photo. This started as one clump. After a few months, I divided it. Then again, then again. I now have about 18 clumps around the garden.

And blooming.

So it depends. Some plants, I put several in a spot, some I only put one, but locate others nearby. I take the recommended spacing, and cut that in half. It gives a fuller look. The more plants you have, the fewer weeds you get.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.33

Gardencrazy, I don't know how much soil I used last year, but it was a lot. I sowed 800 containers. You've seen some of these above, others were in the hoophouse. Others I didn't even bother taking photos. These included veggies. I was already convinced it worked, so I didn't bother documenting all the sowing.

Oh, those rudbeckia above, here they were when I first planted them out. All three tiny little seedlings.

March 4, after the snow had melted. Lots of green in those containers.

But I also sowed some seeds indoors. I won't bother with that again, except tomatoes.

And I use a lot of soil to root cuttings of anything I can root. I can tell you, those three 40lb bags will probably not go as far as you think. Stock up. You'll want thawed soil in February.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Shiny alloy..the yellow flowers on the right are centaurea macrocephala (Golden Knapweed). Bloom second year, but first year growth is a nice green cluster. They like full sun, and not to be moved once established.
Yep, Token, that is a variegated dogwood..not sure of the exact genus..(Walmartis Redstick)!?
Only things I start indoors are tomatoes too, and Ricinis, to get the really big boys...
Photobucket

That's the Castor Bean..not the old man!


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Wendy, that picture is the reason I went looking for castor bean seeds last year. I didn't get the huge leaved ones like that, but mine were over 15' tall. I've gotten some seeds from others since then, hope to have those next year. I loved that photo.

I have several hostata walmarticas myself. Great plants. And only 50cents each. :)


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

I love the castor beans but how do you keep pets/kids from ingesting the seeds?

I bought a plant on sale this fall and the seed pods were amazing!! I googled the plant and felt just sick when I had to toss it. I wasn't sure who I would want to give it to.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Do your kids actually eat your plants?

Karen


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

The seed pods on mine are above any kid's head, and are so spiny that I have to wear work gloves to get the seeds out. I don't worry about it.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

The way I see it, there's no kid in his/her right mind that would eat those spiny seed balls. They look like sweet gum seed pods. And when they're dry, they'll cut you if you're not careful. It's like cracking pecans. But a sure fire way to keep the kids from eating them, just give them a spoonful of castor oil and remind them where it comes from. :)


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

I love this thread. It makes me think that I can do it too. Token, I am in the exact spot now that you were last year. I am a total newbie. I spend the summer prepping my beds. I am in Georgia and have hard, hard clay soil. I was told that I needed top soil, but I didn't feel like spending the $400 for dirt. Then I came upon this site and I found out about lasagne garden. That sound like it was just up my alley. FREE! So I dumped grass and more grass and lately leaves and more leaves. The soil now is becoming amazing. I can dig down 8 inches with the shovel with total ease. It's only been about 4 or 5 months and I have seen an amazing transformation. I love it!

Token, your garden is absolutely amazing! It inspires me to press on with my nothing garden, because it is possible because of what I saw in your garden. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

I noticed you used some cups for planting. Did you have to cover them? I ran out of milk jugs already. Only had 4. (I have to encourage the kids to drink more milk. LOL!) What other containers can I use.

I hope my garden looks as amazing as yours and Wendy's. Wendy, your garden is also a source of inspiration. I have to make it work because if it does, my neighbors will think that I have lost my mind. I am out in the (bare) garden day and night spread grass and leaves everyday. One neighbor said to me one day: "You know you should have tilled the ground first". I tried explaining the best way I could about lasgna gardening, but I don't think he bought it because of the way he looked at me.

Are there any tips that you guys can pass on to a newbie desperately trying to make sure she has a beautiful garden this spring? How many varieties should I plant to fill an area 20 X 20. I also have another area that's 1/2 that size.

Thanks so much guys!


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

  • Posted by pvick z6B NYC (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 17, 09 at 11:28

token, it is absolutely amazing how your garden changed from 2008 to 2009! fantastic!

PV


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

I would do a mix of annuals and perennial, mostly because you won't get much bloom (if any) from perennials in their first year. My first year, I tried to go by height. Most of the seeds I had weren't color guaranteed, so I didn't take that into consideration unless I was positive..i.e. shasta daisy. So, I planted tall perennials (monarda, digitalis, hollyhocks (which failed, and I still haven't had any success with) at the rear. Lupins, Shasta, coreopsis, rudbekia in the middle, and short lychnis, perennial alyssum, nigella, and ageratum near the edge.
Do yourself a favour and buy a flat of pansies to throw in there first thing in the spring, because it seems like forever till your babies start blooming, and they provide a nice splash of color till your bed gets established.
I'm not familiar with what to grow in Georgia, as the summers there are so much hotter and drier than mine. Maybe some more folks here have some advice.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Wendy, I bought some Shasta Daisies earlier this year and they are still blooming in my lasgne bed. I can hardly believe it. So far we've had about 3 or 4 rounds of frost and they just keep on going. That's what I call hardy. They are a keeper.

How long have you been gardening? Your work is wonderful. I realize I might have to buy some annuals to make some color. I've already sowed a few seeds. And have been mentally planning my garden (every night) before I fall off to sleep. The only thing I need to get are Catmint and Russian Sage. I think they are so beautiful. Can't find a place that sells both. (I don't want to pay for 2 different shipping/handling fee.

Are you also wintersowing this year too?


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Lowes will have catmint and Russian sage later this summer about the same time. They should come from Layman's Nursery at the GA stores.

As for what to grow, LOTS of rudbeckia. LOTS. And get lots of perennials sown this year so you can have blooms next year. Marigolds, petunias, cosmos (if you want them to return every year. Lots of seeds), nicotiana, bee balm, sunflowers, shastas, etc and so forth.

Take a look at the thread 50 packs of seeds. That'll give you a pretty good idea of what I harvested this year. Only about a dozen of those packs did not come from my garden. The list is a few entries down.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

  • Posted by lgslgs z6 SE ohio (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 17, 09 at 14:23

Msirie -

Swallowtail has catmint, Russian sage and decent shipping prices.

Lynda

Here is a link that might be useful: swallowtail catmint page


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shastas

Oh, and shastas normally bloom in June for us, so I wouldn't expect them to keep blooming this late every year. Are you sure they're Shastas? I'm wondering if they are Montauk daisies instead. They bloom in the fall. Next year, I'll have montauks next to my shastas so I can have the same color and flower type during two seasons.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Can't decide if I'm going to wait for Lowes or order seeds. Thanks for the link Lynda. I checked it out and they do have both Catmint and Russian Sage.

Token, that's a great variety of seeds you've sown. I will take your advice and plant lots of Rudbeckia. I think they are so pretty. I am pretty sure that it's Shasta Daisys that's blooming still as we speak. Take a look at my member's page and let me know. I was so surprised that they were still blooming that I took a picture.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

  • Posted by lgslgs z6 SE ohio (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 17, 09 at 18:57

Msirie - I wintersowed both catmint and Russian sage last year. Both did great. I wouldn't be surprised if you had seedlings before Lowes has the plants in stock.

The catmint bloomed quite a bit first year for me. Russian sage bloomed just enough so that I know what I have to look forward to this coming year.

Lynda


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

I have found that different varieties of shasta daisy will rebloom if deadheaded. My 'Becky' shastas finish midsummer while 'Snowdrift' and 'Crazy Daisy' and 'Broadway Lights' had rebloom even through light frosts.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

From the flower, it's hard to tell if that's a montauk or a shasta. That's why I asked. You'll know next year if they bloom in June. :)


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

I would not put it past my daughter nor my dog to try a nibble of a spiny seed pod...I'll give it a try;))


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

  • Posted by karendee 5Wst. of Chicago,IL (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 18, 09 at 19:51

Nice thread! I have lots of perenials I WS'ed last year. I got to see some leaves and can't wait for those to bloom this year!!
Karen


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Token....just how many hours do you have in YOUR day???!!! God only gave ME 24... LOL

I find it simply amazing what all you find time to do. I checked out your blog briefly and saw the demo'd then completed bathroom. You have time to photograph, then download, then post pics, write the blog, answer people on there AND on her, etc., etc. And I imagine you work, too? You MUST send your laundry out, huh...ha ha ha.

But seriously, I'm impressed. I bet you have a Master's in time management. Teach ME !!

A question - in the beginning of this post, you said you researched everything to learn about wintersowing. Save me the trouble (LOL). Either send me in right direction to learn or tell me how to start out. At first, I won't be doing it on as grand of a scale as you, but I have SO many seeds I've collected from plants and don't want to waste them by just tossing them around in spring and have them not bloom.

I mean, I see 2 liter bottles cut in half. No bottle caps, right? Are there drain holes? Do you have to start indoors or in warmth? What sort of outside environment do you need? THOSE are the basics that I need to learn. Can you send me to a particular post, suggest a website or book, OR -- if you have time, post here or email me. I'm in same zone, Hampton VA, near Va Beach so our climate is very similiar. Except we RARELY, rarely get snow.

Thanks so much!
Bonnie aka brit5467


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden --.

Oh, and another question, Token. Since seeds fall off flowers in the wild in fall/winter and lay around all thru the cold weather and snow and bloom the next year, then why can't the same be done in a garden? What's the difference? I know there must be one, just don't understand. (Obviously you can tell I'm somewhat new at gardening and REALLY new with using seeds).

Thanks again,
Bonnie aka brit5467


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

There's only 24 hours in my day too. I just happen to do things really fast. I try to find the shortest route between where I am and where I want to be. I've also remodeled the dining room, living room, built shutters, replaced the front door, chop firewood, and have installed new kitchen cabinets, but haven't painted or installed the countertops. I drink a lot of coffee. I work 40 hours a week at the local Big Box garden center as the Live Nursery Specialist. Let's grow something together. :)

Wintersowing.org Frequently Asked Questions.
Start there. It'll answer most of your questions. That's where I started. Then I came here and read threads at night when I wasn't outside. Lots of these questions get asked over and over, so it will save you some time. AND, it was written by our own Trudi. She's the one who made this method popular.

I use two liter bottles with slits for drainage in the bottom half, cut through the middle to make a top and bottom. I toss the caps. They sit out there all winter long.

You can direct sow, but many things happen out there. Birds and mother nature can destroy seeds in the garden. This method provides a little protection and the seeds germinate earlier than if direct sown.

The FAQ link above will show you the way. Let us know if you have any more questions. We love newbies.


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contest

Oh, and Bonnie...when you finish reading wintersown.org, you might want to enter the 50 packs of seed contest. The winner will be notified on Tuesday morning. Get up early in the morning. LOL!


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Bonnie,

In other words are you asking why not "direct sow" seeds in the garden as opposed to using containers? Because if that is what you are asking, I think anyone here would answer that there are more chances birds would eat your direct sown seeds; winds could blow them elsewhere or squirrels could dig holes in your gardens - where you had thrown seeds.

That is why putting the seeds in containers and protecting them from critters until they sprout - is a sure way of getting the seeds to germinate and grow into gorgeous flowers... (I do direct sow poppies, but do the upside down version of wintersowing - I put the seeds on the ground and then a plastic cover with holes over the seeds until they are green).

Hope that helped

Carrie


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Carrie has a beautiful cottage garden too. She's not far from me.

Some pictures of her borders.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Wowdont know where to begin. Backwards, I guess. Thanks for the link to Carries pics, Token. Theyre breathtaking. I had to stop looking so I could comment. Soooo beautiful and inspiring. Going back to finish looking after this.

Carrie, you DID answer seed question. Duhhh.I didnt think about birds. Or squirrels. I have both, but feed them plenty (actually right in front of my garden so I can watch them out my window) so I never see them actually IN my garden (plus my cat keeps them away). And speaking of cats.BBoy didnt seem too concerned about that mouse, did he? (That WAS a mouse, right?)

But nevertheless, Im sure my birds would eat MY seeds as well. And apparently Im just very lucky with the squirrels. I dont have but a few. The past few years theyve had plenty of strawberries to eat. Although the little rascals waste most of them, only taking a few bites then leaving the rest behind.LOL.

As far as wind, I guess I was thinking the mulch would keep everything safe and sound all winter long. Obviously I dont have a grasp of the whole seed thing yet and gotta lot to learn.

Oh.and those poppies were absolutely beautiful. So was everything else. I recognized some things, like that purple succulent looking stuff that trails (just froze the other night) that I "borrowed" a few pieces from in front of our local Radisson Hotel in Downtown Hampton a few years ago (not named that anymore, tho).

Token thanks for the link. Ill check it out in a bit. And will also check out the SEED contest!! Sounds interesting !!

Sooo, coffees the trick, huh? All I know is -- youve done what Ive always dreamed of being able to do. Find a fixer-upper and run with it. Im really handy with tools and such. But alas, dreams dont always come true. But I envy you. And YES, lets grow something together? HOW?? [grin]

And yes, Im sure Ill be asking many, many more questions. Too bad I didnt save all the Dr. Pepper bottles when my houseguest was just here last month, drinking at least two a day, Drat !!

Ohhh, and youll never believe THIS. I think I said we hardly EVER get snow here? Well, I walked outside just a bit ago to run to the store for some beer and what do you think was out there??? SNOW !!! Enough that I had to take the broom to clean my car off. SO WILD for around her, on the coast. You must be more inland, huh? I used to live in NC. But on the Outer Banks which was just about like here.

Well, thanks to both of you for all your support. Hopefully, Ill be posting pics someday, too !!

Bonnie aka brit5467


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Bonnie, mulch will keep your seeds from germinating. It robs them of sunlight if they need it, keeps them waterlogged and attracts things like pill bugs and other dead matter recyclers to destroy them. My first year, I direct sowed several packs of echinacea, rudbeckia, and shastas. I promptly covered it with mulch. I got two plants. One is the mother to all those shastas in my pictures. The other was a single rudbeckia that succumb to powdery mildew long before it bloomed. Live and learn. So I started looking for other ways to sow seed. Didn't have lights then. Didn't have a basement that I could keep warm then. Didn't have a lot of things I do now. But I'm still going to be wintersowing rather than starting seeds indoors.

We're about 20 miles south of where the snow line was for this storm. Our daytime temperatures yesterday hovered in the upper 30s. 45 minutes north, it snowed for 6 hours. We got the same precipitation, in the form of rain. It'll come. I was just hoping to see a little of the white stuff early this year. I live about 1 hour east of Charlotte near the Uwharrie National Forest.

Thanks for the compliments. Tonight I'm dead tired (splitting firewood today) and can't even think of doing more gardening right now. But on Monday, I'll sow at least a couple of containers. They'll christen the hoophouse. The 100 soda bottles in the basement will have to wait.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden - btw

BTW - wrong place to ask, I know, but don't know where TO ask. Is there something you can do so you know when people have responded to posts OTHER THAN ones you originated? Or do you just have to remember and keep checking back?


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clippings

Nope. Nothing you can do. Just have to remember.

You can make clippings of your favorite posts though. It's on the right hand side at the top of each post. It allows you to save your favorite responses for later. I believe there is a maximum number...but I can't remember what it is.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Re: mulch & germinating. I wondered about that & I get it. No true sunlight. My ex used to want to leave mulch plus the leaves on top when Spring came. Id show him where new growth was out of the soil and was all white, yet he wanted to insulate from potential last frost." I would say the books say to clear away leaves (and mulch) -- that they needed sun. Im guessing I was correct in that assumption???

Glad you mentioned that powdery mildew. I had that problem with the few Zinnias I got to grow. Some from seed. Some from Kmart. But it looked like they had that. Whats up with that? And even tho they were both in different sunlight & from two different sources -- both grew like a crooked stick plant (if I have that right). The stems were all wiggly and gangly. But the blooms were magnificent. ?????

And now that you bring it up.Ive got another question later about your experience with powdery mildew (after I find my post that will better explain). Got what Im sure is a type of Coreopsis I got on clearance at Lowes a week or so ago (no tag). Not sure if 'sick' or if the foliage is normal. You may be the best person to ask, considering your experience to 'clearance plants' due to your job.

Thanks for the hint about the 'post clippings.'

I should probably go read the link you suggested, but can't help asking (since I've never left this site yet).....you have those bottles in your basement, huh? Earlier, I thought you said they sit out all winter long. I'm confused.

And if you get frustrated with me and wanna say, "Bonnie, just go read that link" then say so. (smile) I wont mind. Ive just gotten so ahead of myself. When I see something, I wanna learn right then and have to ask questions. Sorry :o)


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

I leave last season's leaves in place until I start planting. That might be in January, it might be in April. I don't really rake the bed all at once. I shred small areas I'm working in and use them around the newly planted seedlings to protect them more from the wind and sun than the frost. Last year, I didn't even collect the leaves. They mostly blew away in the spring or turned to dirt with all the rain we had. The perennials will do just fine even with 4" of snow on them. Clearing away the leaves allows the soil to dry out a bit and let's the sun warm the dirt. As long as you have good soil to start with, a few leaves won't really matter, IMO, as long as you don't have 6-8" of them. Most of mine have already been used to mulch the shrub beds around the house. I hope to plant flowers in those this year too.

Powdery mildew is caused by excessive humidity. Zinnias are notorious. Crape myrtles too. Even coreopsis will get it. It can be treated with Immunox or a mixture of baking soda and milk. You have to stay ahead of it in our area.

My zinnias this year bloomed like crazy, but the plants were fairly ugly. If not for all the other things growing in and out of them, I would have pulled them sooner. I didn't pinch and cut back like I should to create fuller plants with more blooms. I made a note of that somewhere.

Those bottles are in the basement waiting for the seeds. It's just dirt at the moment. Since it's 30 degrees out, I work inside. There'll be plenty of cold days when I'll be out there planting little bits of soil with tiny seedlings. No reason to sow them in the cold. As soon as they're watered and the seeds are sown, they'll be moved outside for the rest of their lives.

Questions are fine. It's how we learn. My techniques may not work for everyone. Others swear by gallon jugs. I just have a rich source of two-liters and somehow, the consistency of working with the same containers throughout the process helps me. OCD and all that.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Re: leaves ~ when ex was alive (& assuming they'll be the same come Spring) they got really thick. They get trapped within garden. Like layers of wet brown paper and wont blow away. That's why when I see things (perennials) trying to sprout more than an 2" or so, I feel they need sun. They look so malnourished and frail.

I, too, have beds around the house but don't know how to handle them. Both sides lack sun. One side is doing well with hostas equally spaced, nothing really in between (& I hate that obvious spaced out type of garden (like the natural look) and the other side (well, that's another story).

Zinnias -- my mom said as much (mildew). She's not really a gardener, but knows her stuff. I wanna share a friend's pic with you that made me envious of her Zinnias (link at bottom if I remember.duhhhh). Asked what she did and she said nothing special. Different zone.

Bottles -- okay, so you're just WORKING indoors but the sowing itself can all be done outdoors. That's amazing. But great to know!!

Still haven't looked at that link. Been listening to web radio station & they must loop music each nite. Taken me a few nites to realize that, but there is ONE song that each time I hear it, I get pulled in. And it's the same song. Wanna buy CD. Am in the process of finding the best deal. I'm a spend-thrift (is that the right term?) But you see, THATS MY problem. AADD. Can't stay focused. Or as I like to say -- I multi-task. But just wish I'd finish one of my tasks before taking on another :o)

Back to the matter at hand -- I'll check out the methods(on link) for sowing prior to setting out for winter and keep fingers crossed. What side of house (sun source) is best?

Thanks,
Bonnie aka brit5467

Can't find Zinnia link right now. Will post it later.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Shaded side of the house is best bonnie, at least until things start to sprout then dappled shade is preferred. I'm sure someone can give you specifics on the direction of the sun etc.
I think you will like winter sowing, also if you can find them pitimpini has some wonderful pics of her garden that got me started last season. Token's would have done it but we started out the same year. :)


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Bonnie, if the leaves are really thick, I would pull them back in early spring, just as you see perennials starting to emerge. I shred mine with a leaf blower/vac and put them back. I got an old one from my dad, but you can find them at Lowe's for $99. A lawnmmower works too, but you have to run them over a few times.

My shady side of the house gets sun for 2 hours a day in the middle of summer. I've planted some clearance hosta and ferns. This year, I have a few shade plants I plan to wintersow. Those will be placed in those beds as soon as they germinate. My containers stay in dappled shade under an old oak tree all winter. You have to be careful not to fry the seedlings under the plastic containers. Lost a pan of petunias that way last year.

I'm a multi tasker too. :)

The link will get you moving in the right direction.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Thanks "Flood" Ill try to find pitimpinis pics. Always looking for more inspiration. And I AM getting hooked. Looked thru my 'special box' today where I keep all labels and seed packs of plants Ive bought that DIDNT grow so I wouldnt buy them again. I could not believe how many seeds Ive wasted !!

Token, good idea about the leaf vac. Didnt know they shredded !! Not ready to buy yet but will check if you can rent, maybe. Or borrow.

Ive got perfect place, as far as dappled shade. Its all clicking now. They can handle being outdoors because the heat from sun is creating miniature terrariums, hence not capping them closedthey need to breath. And thats what you mean about frying. I GOT IT !! Duhhhsometimes the obvious isnt that obvious to me (and I know, I know.I need to go read Trudis site :o)

I have lots of jugs that Arizona tea comes in (I save shower water while waiting for it to get hot - for watering). Theyre thicker then soda bottles and translucent and rectangular. Does that matter?

I guess I havent totally grasped the concept yet. Are you basically growing a plant with a root ball the size of the soda bottle? I see the reference HOS (hunk of seeds) and am guessing when the times right, you just take the whole HOS out and plant it?

Youve mentioned pans of petunias. I didnt know you could grow them from seed. Obviously, someone does. Just never realized they had seeds. Where ARE the seeds?

Re: using pans - Ive seen large foil pans (like bigger than lasagna pans) with the plastic covers being used. In that case, Im guessing you get lots of individual plants? How do you keep them separate from each other so you can take them out individually? Is that a dumb question?

Speaking of petunias, this is sort of OT but every year I put them in my hanging baskets. Every year they get pitiful and die when it gets really hot. I pinch them back, I cut them way back, doesnt matter. Dont even know why I bother using them.

BUT now that all my baskets have died, theres still two of them, growing magnificently, side by side. They've survived not being feed or watered, the cold, the snow last night (didnt get snowed ON, but still.).

Are they superhuman? Whats up with that???? Is this normal? Theyre nothing special. Im sure theyre from Kmart. Dont know if it matters, but one is Plum Crazy Madness and the other Burgundy Madness (and just noticed they have a trademark sign after their names, if that means anything).

Also wondering if I should bring them in the house and try to keep them growing thru the winter?? Can you do that with Petunias?

Thanks in advance for your patience with all my questions,
Bonnie aka brit5467


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Okay. First thing, go read at least this one link. Then come back to this thread. We'll wait.

*hums the Jeopardy theme a few times*

Okay, did you read it? If not, go read it. A lot of your questions will be answered with that one page.

As for petunias, they can handle a bit of cold. I had one last year make it through January before it finally died. It was neglected and hated. But it kept on growing. As for seeds, they're easy to collect. They're the tiny black specks in this picture. (I take pictures of almost everything) The brown capsule is where the flower was. I bet you have some left on your petunias.

Hunks o Seedlings.

Read that already? Good. Now you know how we plant out. We sow big containers of seeds and plant little hunks of seedlings once they have their second set of leaves. Some of mine...

Dianthus, planted out February 12. Yes, February.

And June 1.

Hollyhocks. Feb 12.

And on June 10

These are a little older. The ring of plants are Mountain Bluet, planted out February 26, all from one container in the HOS fashion. They bloomed a few months after planting out. This photo was taken April 14.

Here they are, just starting to bloom on May 6.

Back to the petunias. See those two lasagna pans in the bottom? Those are petunias. The one on the left was shaded by the cloth I draped over the hoophouse. The one on the right/bottom got baked.

Did you know that you can also wintersow directly into your hanging baskets? Just add some fresh soil, mix, sprinkle petunia seeds around (only a pinch, they will all germinate), and cover with pastic. Poke a hole in the plastic and sit (the basket, not you ;) ) in a semi shady spot until you see green. But wait until late March to sow them. Like I said, they can handle some cold, but not direct frost, so be sure to protect them from that.

So you see, it's easy. Trudi put all this together for us and some of us just up and ran with it. I wish I would have found this method earlier. It would have saved me tons of money and frustration. There is no plant I can't grow from seed now. I might not keep it alive, but I can germinate it.

Lilacs

Cornus florida, Flowering Dogwood Tree

Mock Orange

Butterfly Bush.

Red Texas Star Hibiscus

It really will change your garden and your life. :)


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trademark

Oh, the trademark thing..that means that the name has been trademarked. It's possible and most likely that the plant is patented as well. However, petunias rarely come true from seed. Most of mine came out pink and purple with a little white. Laura Bush is a reseeding petunia that reliably comes true. I begged some seeds from kqcrna this fall. She sent so many that I included some in the 50 packs contest along with some that I collected from my own plants.

Here are some of mine. They're the same ones in the pans above.

This was a late bloomer, May 20.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Glad you had enough seeds. You'll probably have those in your garden forever. Here's a clump of my volunteers last year.
Photobucket

Karen


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Well, you were absolutely right. I got many of my questions answered. Still have more, but just need to read more. So Ill hold off.

The only one Ill ask again is about bringing in the petunias and trying to grow them indoors. Without any special care, just sticking them in a window, would they continue to grow and flower? And I'll check for seed pods, however I typically cut those off once the bloom was spent.

Gosh, your pink dianthus is beautiful. Never saw them that vivid. And all that came from that one little plant?? Amazing.

So are the Mountain Bluet. Never saw them either. I need more blue, so glad to learn about them. I cant get over the hibiscus. WOW !! I have a hibiscus tree in a big container but blooms are nothing like that. I believe I collected the seeds this year. But you know, I have totally forgotten what color the bloom is?? (It wasnt originally mine, so Im not attached to it guess thats why I dont remember.)

I gotta ask. Whats that pebble-looking stuff in the lilacs, dogwood, and mock orange pics? I bet youre gonna say, "Pebbles".LOL !! But whats it for?

And what kind of camera is that? Takes great pictures !!

Bonnie aka brit5467


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Previously mentioned Catmint and Russian Sage

Funny, I was going back, reading old posts here and there was mention of both of these. I just so happened to find them on a clearance pallet at Lowe's the first of the month. Got two 1 gal. Walker's Low Catmint (Paseantes Catmint Banjo) and one Russian Sage (Salvia Rusa) for only $1.37 ea. Thought they were a steal. Of course, they were quite pitiful looking, but what the hey....

But the post mentioned planting from seed. How cool!! So I can do that? But guess I need flowers to get seeds from first, tho, huh? LOL !!

Bonnie


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Thanks again Karen. I hope mine get that large.

Bonnie, I've never tried to grow petunias inside, so I can't answer that one. It's worth a shot. They'll probably get very leggy though.

The dianthus is Pinks Maiden. I bought the seeds from Park Seeds. Another good one is Baths Pink. It's scented sort of like cloves. It's a good spreading dianthus.

The pebble looking stuff is common, SC sand. Since many of those seeds were sown in October of last year, the sand helps keep the green icky moss from forming. Dogwoods need warmth, then cold, then germinate when it warms up. So I covered that whole container with sand. All my shrubs were sown early that year, long before I knew what I was doing. I got lucky. ;)

It's just a point and shoot Sony Cybershot. It's an old camera, bought in 2003 or so. It does some great shots, but reds sometimes come out a little too orange. The time of day and lots of shade help with the photos. I've learned over the year when the best time to take photos is. Usually early morning or late in the evening.

My regular catnip has set seed, but I've never grown Walker's Low. My Russian sage hasn't done well at all. I think the clay is too much for it.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Yes, Karen..your petunias ARE fantastic !!! Im still amazed they can be grown from seed. Guess Im like the person who is surprised to find out hamburger comes from a cow. ..LOL

If you read my post a bit earlier, I was complaining about how mine do so awful in my hanging baskets. I realize planting in soil vs baskets is a whole different ball of wax and VA and OH are two totally different climates. But, nevertheless, any special tricks or hints to keep them so lush? Or do you think it's just the type (Laura Bush)??

Even when I grew them (different varieties) in my garden, after it got really hot (high 90s), mine never got full like that. They just wanted to flop down on the ground and got leggy (even with pinching and/or cutting back).

Ive tried WAVE and just regular ones. What am I doing wrong? Can you water them too much in a garden? I tried lots of water and also not so much water. HELP !!

Token, you said "SC sand" but I thought you were in NC? Is it something you bring in to use or did you mean NC?


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

My parents live in SC. I bring back 5 gallon buckets of the stuff whenever I'm running low. I use it for a lot of things around the yard. I'm hoping, if there's not too much rain, to bring back a 30 gallon trash can of the stuff Christmas Day.

In our zone, petunias can't handle full sun. You'll also learn soon enough that nursery grown plants falter and fade much quicker than wintersown plants. Those you buy have been fertilized to death and are forced to bloom so they can sell them to you. Wintersown plants take a little longer to bloom, but they last through the summer if you pinch them back a little every week or so. I bought 3 six packs last year. Those were the last petunias I will ever buy. You'll see a huge difference in the two.

For baskets, one trick is to line the inside with plastic. Especially if they are cocofiber baskets. You need to retain more moisture in our heat. Petunias just don't like the humidity. Karen is in a different zone too. That makes a big difference.

Instead of petunias, plant Madagascar vinca. It loves the heat.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Out of curiosity, what part of SC? I lived in Greenville at one time. Mountains there, tho.

Ah HA.its the sun. All this time I thought petunias were supposed to love it, but thats exactly when they start petering out. When it becomes scorching hot.

I buy them for the trailing effect, but have found herbs that take care of that. So why do I bother??? Those vincas will fit the bill, for sure because....

I REMEMBER THOSE VINCAS !! Had them in pots at another house, and they blew me away. Did have to water them twice a day, tho (terra cotta pots) but couldnt stop them from growing. Thanks for reminding me of those. They have such lush, green foliage, too.

I DID learn about the coco fiber baskets the hard way. Had wrongly assumed they HELD water, like moss, so first year it was hell keeping them wet. But the next year, lined them with plastic, poked a few holes, and theyre much better now.

I had varieties of mint in three and marjoram in one and they loved it. The mints took over, tho. They even wintered over and the next year the baskets had root systems entirely of mint.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

They live near Florence, in the sandhills.

My petunias get about 4 hours of sun a day and do really well. They did tucker a little in the heat of the day, but as soon as the shade was back, they perked up. Most of my garden did that. I don't usually share the bad photos. ;)

Vincas set seed too. They're long green seed pods that turn brown. The seeds are black and round. They're not as tiny as petunia seed. Once you have them, they tend to come back every year if you don't mulch.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Token...you don't have any pics, by chance, of the vinca seed pods, do you?


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Not my picture, but here's one image. They look like garden beans, but only 1" long.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Tom, I noticed that you have such massive liter soda bottles..that is a size I'm not familiar with or have never seen up here. Where do you find them? Where do you find a lot of your milk jugs or soda bottles? Have people that save them for you or you drink a lot of milk and soda? Or go scavenging on recycle day?


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Since the Laura Bush is reseeding, can they be sown now?
Tammy


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Pippi, those are just regular 2-liter soda bottles. I have my parents, my sister, and friends at their church collecting bottles for me all year long. This year, I forgot to ask in July, so I've only got about 125 so far. But I have other plans.

Tammy, I'd wait. Inside those bottles, the seeds will germinate with the first warm spell. In the ground, they'll take longer and germinate in early spring. I'm not going to take a chance on losing more petunias this year. I'll sow mine in mid March, about 4 weeks prior to our last frost.


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vinca seed pods

Tom, I remember seeing them on my vincas, but don't remember what they do, as far as do they dry out as the flower dies, or what? When vincas are in season, when would you pick off the pods? If I'm not mistaken, the seeds are like little peas in a pod, right?

Can you nip those pods off early and let them dry by themselves or should they stay on the plant and dry naturally? And if you can pick off the pods early, should you let the pods dry out before removing the seeds?

And that's a question I've always had about seeds in general on flowers -- once the flower has died, do you need to let it die completely and dry up before getting the seeds or can you pick off the flower early and just let it dry in the sun?

I guess what I'm driving at is -- does the flower need to stay on the plant for the seeds to receive any kind of 'nourishment' or is it that once it's gone to seed, it's gone to seed and it doesn't matter? Does that make sense?


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Most seeds need to dry on the plant. Last year, I collected vincas by pulling the whole plant when we had a freeze warning. I stored them upside down it the basement until the pods opened. They will POP! if they're ripe when you touch them. So I kept a canvas under them to catch whatever fell. I had to do the same with some other plants this year.

Most flowers, you'll want to collect the seeds once the pod is completely dry. You can always put a couple seeds in between two moist paper towels, stick it in a ziplock bag, and place it in a warm spot for a few days/weeks to test germination.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

I am bumping this up for a friend in the cottage garden forum, i hope this inspires more winter sowing! :)


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

I just wanted to say Token that your garden transformation is truly inspiring. I was wondering what you use to label your WS containers? It looks like pieces of mini-blind slats... is that correct? Also with planting perennials how do you remember where/what you planted from year to year? I have a horrible habit of forgetting what is what.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Linny, I used mini blinds with a variety of labeling. I used one of those handheld laser printers, #2 pencil, grease pencil, and permanent marker. The laser labels and #2 pencil held out the longest, as long as I used plastic tape in the little machine. The paper tape just disintegrated.

I used a few markers in the garden once I planted. I have some plants that I haven't identified yet. I've completely forgotten others and will be reminded when they bloom this year. Once in the garden, I'm not really that concerned about the botanical name or variety except on some things that are special to me. I did spend a lot of time that winter researching my seeds, sorting them over and over, pulling them out to look at, putting them back, sorting them, and talking to them. It became an obsession. This year, things are different. I bet I forget half of what I've sown and planted before July.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Token, do you know the name of that bright pink dianthus you have? It looks very similar to mine and I absolutely love it and want to get more seeds! TIA!


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Pinks "Maiden". I got it from Valueseeds, so Thompson and Morgan should have it.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Wow - all of these pictures are great! So very inspiring!


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Ohhh Token...not trying to be a nit-picker, but back when I complimented you on those dianthus, you said you got them from Park Seeds (see your post 12/21) not Value Seeds. Just didn't want you to give Gardenluv the wrong info...????

BTW (and I know I should check my info but picking your brain is quicker...) -- is it too late to still sow seeds? Life got in the way and I've yet to get started. You know we're basically in the same zone.

We've had some real freezes and tonight's calling for snow (???? we'll see....) but know I need a certain length of time of COLD weather, right??

Bonnie aka brit5467


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Bonnie: Although it maybe easier to ask others for info and answers, you need to learn how to find answers to basic questions on your own. That is how we acquire the knowledge and skills to help others.

Read the FAQs ... at least three times. It may help if you copy the text and paste it into a document so you can study it and refer to it later. I've read the FAQs several times and learned (or retained) new info each time. Just a thought.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

You're right Bonnie. They came from Park seeds. I got another dianthus (alba) from valueseeds. Thanks for correcting me.

It's not too late for anyone to sow seeds. Just sow perennials and hardy annuals if it's winter. Once the chance of frost is nearly over, sow tender annuals. Not all seeds need any cold. Some need 30 days. It really depends on the seed.


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dianthus

I just went looking for the seeds on all three sites, Parkseeds, valueseeds, and tmseeds.com. None of them have the dianthus "pinks maiden" that I planted. Jungseed seems to have the closest variety. Link.

I didn't save seed this year. I scattered it back into the garden.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Token, TKS for the answer and especially the tip about tender annuals. Didn't see that in the FAQS.

Took a look at the Jungseed variety. Color not nearly as vivid as yours!! Looking forward to pics of this year's bounty of them :)


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Pam...I did look up the answer per your suggestion. And realize I need to learn on my own. Granted, Ive asked many questions in the past 3 weeks but they werent ALL wintersowing related. And at one point I was told "Questions are fine. It's how we learn."

I dont mean to come across as defensive, but I felt I was being scolded. After the FAQS link was given to me, I think Ive only asked about 5 questions (including this last one) that I should have looked up first.

And with this last one, it wasnt like I posted it as a stand-alone question. I'd stuck it in my post to someone in particular regarding another topic, just looking for a simple 'yes' or 'no' (which I got, along with a tip NOT included in the FAQS). So I actually learned more by asking.

I've got a lot going on now, with a sickness in my family along with a death (as well as a 'crisis' with my frozen potted perennials that GW folks have been graciously helping me with), so frankly my time is quite limited. It just seemed quicker to ask.

But Ill be sure to refer to the FAQS first before asking any more questions. Thanks for your input.

Bonnie aka brit5467


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Thanks for the info everyone. I tried to save some seeds from mine this year, but it didn't have very many. I think throughout the entire season I only got maybe 20 seeds. Hopefully they will sprout. I absolutely love the brightness of that dianthus. Are the pinks perennials? I think my plant is from a couple of years ago so maybe it will come back?????


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Token,

Great pics! I love to see the before and after pics. I'm curious - what kind of soil do you use? Also, for the larger seeds that need to be covered, do you put anything special on top?

Any advice is appreciated.

Thx.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

gardenluv, my plants are still alive even through the bitter cold. We'll see if they survive the next couple of months.

Bella, I used a variety of soil last year. I used seeding/sod soil, top soil, and miracle grow potting mix. In the garden, I put down leaf mulch from the landfill that was a year old so it was fairly decomposed. I'll be spreading horse manure this spring, if it ever warms up.

For large seeds (1/4" or bigger), I just push them into the soil with my finger. Only a few seeds get covered entirely. They still managed to germinate last year. Castor beans are one that gets covered completely, but only sown once the weather is warm. They will rot in wet, cold soil.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Bonnie: Of course, it okay to ask questions. We all do. I asked a question about daisies recently, after I searched the Internet and couldn't find an answer. Later, I realized the answer was available but I wasn't using the right search terms.

I was puzzled when you asked if it was too late to sow seeds, since so many discussions in the WS forum are about the seeds people are sowing now v. in a few weeks v. after the last frost.

There is an old saying, "The only dumb question is the one we don't ask."


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Pam ~ please accept my apologies if I seemed a bit 'snippy' before. I'm having a rough time of it these days and it makes me a bit over-emotional. Sorry !!!

Believe it or not, this is the only WS post I've been keeping up with !!! A friend sent me a link to it during 'conversations' about how much I loved the cottage garden look. She said I should check out Token's garden (we weren't even discussing WS at the time :)

So I didn't even realize there WAS a WS forum, stupid as that may sound...duhhh. So I can see your point, now, about how that topic was being discussed there. It probably DID seem redundant of me to be asking the same question.

Glad we cleared that up. I'll definitely go and check out the WS forum and know I will learn a lot more :)

Bonnie aka brit5467


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden - ps

Pam ~ PS: It might not make sense that I didn't know there was a WS forum since when I just went to the top of this page to click on Garden Forums to go find the WS forum, I noticed (for the first time), that this post is PART of that forum....again, duhhhh.

You see, I never got here that way. Instead, I had this post page saved as a FAVORITE and just clicked it anytime I want to come here.

Just wanted to clarify that so my 'naivety' made sense..ha ha ha.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Brit- welcome to the forum! You will be amazed at how well this actually works. Good luck this winter and if you have any more questions, ask away! People here are so knowledgeable that someone will surely have an answer for you. If you are interested, you can also check out Trudi's site: wintersown.org. It has heaps of information there too.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Brit wrote: "Believe it or not, this is the only WS post I've been keeping up with !!! A friend sent me a link to it during 'conversations' about how much I loved the cottage garden look. She said I should check out Token's garden (we weren't even discussing WS at the time :)"

That is so funny!

So you started out with only one WS thread to enjoy? You are going to have so much fun reading the other 67 pages of threads! Be sure to look back to threads from last summer so you can see all of the amazing photos of WS plants and gardens.

Lynda

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to the main forum for anyone else who hasn't found it yet


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Gardenluv ~ tks for the welcome !! And Token already turned me on to Trudis site after I wore him out with questions (ha ha ha) that were easily answered there. It IS a tremendous help !

Yeah, Lynda.go ahead and laugh !! I hadda laugh at myself since it should have been obvious that the post was included WITHIN a forum, huh? But now Ive found it and my butt is already tired from checking it out. 67 pages, huh? OMG, I might need another pillow and another pot of coffee so I can check out last summers pics :)

Oh, and BTW.you may have not meant it to, but that link at the bottom gave me a chuckle. Do you REALLY think there are others out there as dense as me??? I perish the thought !! tee hee hee


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Gardenluv ~ tks for the welcome !! And Token already turned me on to Trudis site after I wore him out with questions (ha ha ha) that were easily answered there. It IS a tremendous help !

Yeah, Lynda.go ahead and laugh !! I hadda laugh at myself since it should have been obvious that the post was included WITHIN a forum, huh? But now Ive found it and my butt is already tired from checking it out. 67 pages, huh? OMG, I might need another pillow and another pot of coffee so I can check out last summers pics :)

Oh, and BTW.you may have not meant it to, but that link at the bottom gave me a chuckle. Do you REALLY think there are others out there as dense as me??? I perish the thought !! tee hee hee


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Hey Brit -

No denseness implied! :)

Your post made me realize how easy it is to stumble on a thread like this without knowing about the forums. I'm sure that at least a few other folks will find this thread some day from a web search or by having an e-mail sent to them.

And my ulterior motive: I wanted to make sure that WS newbies (you and others) are sure to look back to last Summer's threads with photos. Lots of little seeds in jugs are out in snowdrifts right now and this is the time of year when newbies start wondering if this will really work. (At least, that's what I was like last January.)

So no - I don't think you are dense. I might have wondered once or twice if you were confused - but that's different. And SO very different now that I know why. I'm still chuckling.

If you are feeling at all self conscious about any of this - don't be. I've done far worse. See the link. :)

Lynda

Here is a link that might be useful: The worst thing I ever did to a fellow gardenwebber


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Bonnie: Don't feel bad. Lynda sent you a link to the WS forum that includes this thread [discussion]. Gardenweb (GW) has hundreds of forums on every topic you can imagine.

I'm going to send you another link that will take you to the main page (Table of Contents) of Gardenweb. If you scroll down to the end of the page, you will see what an amazing resource GW is. (link below)

Look at the top of any page. You'll see a green navigation bar. Click "Forums." In addition to Garden Web forums, other interests are represented in Home Forums and Nature Forums. This is an amazing place!

A few months ago, I was doing research on the Internet about composting systems. What site was most helpful? The GW Composting Forum!

Since you are interested in Cottage Gardening, you HAVE to visit the Cottage Garden Forum at http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/cottage/ Oh yes, you live in Virginia. You want to see what's going on in the "Gardening in Virginia Forum" at http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/vagard/

You wrote how you found the Wintersowing Forum after a friend sent a link to Token's article (although you didn't know that there was a WS forum at the time).

How did I find the WS forum? Someone on the Cottage Garden forum mentioned it. I clicked the link and ... voila! I found a wonderful group of people who help and encourage each other.

Welcome!
Pam

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Web Forums


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Hey girls,
glad to see this teeny, tiny misunderstanding was handled with such love and grace.
hey "if you can't yank on your sister's hair...who's ya gonna pull?" lol
One big happy family here.and all that comes with it. :))))
:)Laura


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.OOPS!

I forgot to mention I have 8 siblings. 3 brothers and 5 sisters. Lol,
talk about a great childhood. and ALL that comes with it.
:)Laura


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Lynda, you said, "Your post made me realize how easy it is to stumble on a thread like this without knowing about the forums."

Well, I have to fess up just in case you stumble across one of my many, many other posts on other GW forums. I KNEW about the forums. But for some reason, I just didnt connect THIS post to a forum. Guess I was stuck in "Cottage Garden" mode and was also enjoying the post so much (so many beautiful pics) that my thoughts went no further. THATS where the "denseness" comes into play :)

But no.Im not feeling self-conscious. I learned to laugh at myself a LONG time ago (this aint my first rodeo :)

I checked out that link. OMG !!! I hadnt noticed youd said it was YOU whod done far worse. Not until I read the post. Thats hilarious !!! That made my day. Thanks !!


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

And thanks Pam for all that info. I must have been writing my post to Lynda while you and Laura were posting and I missed it.

I'm REAL excited about all this!! I spent 5 hours the WS forum last night (didn't eat dinner until 10 p.m.) A lot of that time was spent just reading one post about "Where do you do your WSing?" which helped me get un-stuck about where the heck I was going to do all this and how to go about it most efficiently. It really helped !!

And Laura, I too, am glad everything was handled graciously. I've been on other non-gardening sites before where people got really nasty about the stupidest things. I guess us gardening folk are just too mellow for that, huh?

And I want to sing praises to Laura for being so generous. She's going to send me some seeds to get me started!!! Yea !!! It's Christmas all over again !!! She's SO SWEET : )

Oh, and I turned my old neighbor/landlord onto WS and this site, so today when she came by to pick up the rent, she had a SEED CATALOG from Thompson & Morgan with her to show it had FREE S&H!! I think I got her hooked now, too.

BTW, are they a good source to order from?

Okay...I have to walk away. I'ts going on 1 p.m, I need lunch and have laundry to do : (

Bonnie aka brit5467


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Brit -

T&M has always been one of my favorite companies, but they were recently purchased by another company. I've spent a lot of time this morning sorting out a messed up seed order.

I'd recommend holding off on ordering from them for now. If the new company does things anything like T&M they may continue to have their half priced seed sale in June. By then the transition glitches should be sorted out and you could also get better seed prices.

Customer service this morning was really nice and helpful, but there's still a way to go before we get my order mess fully sorted out.

I'd recommend looking at Swallowtail instead right now. They have a wide assortment, good prices, good shipping costs, and get the seeds to you fast and without errors.

Lynda

Here is a link that might be useful: Swallowtail Seed Co


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Not to interrupt your conversation :o) but on the Round Robin thread they have a list of their favorite seed catalogs. Thought it might give some more options.
Heidi

Here is a link that might be useful: seed companies


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Hi Bonnie,welcome to the loony bin.
You are really funny,and it will be a delight having you here,ahhhhhhhhhh,question,question,questions,my 3rd season WSing,and i still have questions,all are always welcome here.
Lynda, I was laughing out loud reading your thread,how embarrassing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Did you ever get it cleared up?Way to funny.
Getting ready to WS some seeds,my house is a mess, the only way i can get it in order, is to get all these seeds out of my way, yea,right,like that's going to happen eh?
Thank goodness my hubby i a nice guy, the kitchen has been a disaster for a month now,and he is on his way home from Menard's to do a little work in the house, OH BOY, this should be fun.
Well, i guess i gotta take the tree down first, so, no sowing today.
Later guys.
cAROL


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Hey guys,

Been MIA for a few days : ) Lynda, tks for the heads up about T&M and the link to Swallowtail. And Heidi, youre not interrupting just being helpful. Thanks for your link, too. Havent had a chance to (well, have the chance, just dont have the entire day that I know Ill spend .) checking them out. You know how THAT is : ) Maybe tonight, over a glass or two of wine. After that, Im cut off or Ill regret my order total in the morning :O !!

Carol, I remember your postings on the "Where do you do your WSing" and how much I got a kick out of themha ha ha. My big endeavor today is to go buy 5 more deck posts for my raised garden (& more soil its not high enough), cut the length on two and cut one more into 4ths for the ends. Oh, and return/exchange the stakes I DID buy cuz now, of course, theyre too short.

Still have to find a giant drill bit to drill the holes for the support stakes. Boywheres a man when you need him, huh?

Bonnie aka brit5467


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Token,

How far do you space your plants? It sounds like you pack them in closer than what the plant tags say. For instance, if the tag recommends 12" spacing, how close would you put them? Thanks for the info - your gardens are beautiful!

Bashful


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Token, how come (do ya think?) no one's posting on here anymore? It used to be such a hot post????

bonnie


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Bashful, I'm sorry I missed your post way back when...I really don't get specific when planting out, but I pretty much ignore the planting suggestions on the packs. In a square foot of space, I'll plant three hunks of seedlings. I'll plant several groups like this in various places around the garden. It makes for some continuity and repetition along the path, and it makes for a nice full display. There will sometimes be variations within a certain type of plant too, especially zinnias, rudbeckias, and sometimes coneflowers. I think that just adds to it.

Bonnie...people moved on to more specific threads and questions. This year's garden won't resemble that one much at all, except it will be packed even fuller.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Token, Thanks a bunch for sharing your photos and information. I have learned some great ideas just reading all of these posts.

I do have a question or two. :-) I have winter sowed for a couple years now and have great success getting sprouts, my problem is slugs and pill bugs getting into containers (which I do have off the ground up on pallets that are on top of blocks)and eating my sprouts. I have the same problem when I plant out. Since you sow a ton of containers, wow 800 and I thought 295 was a lot last year LOL, do you treat for slugs and pillbugs? Do you have a problem with squirrels digging in your containers or digging up your seedlings once planted out? I have put some wire over a few seedlings but to cover an area teh size of your it would take a lot of wire. Any suggestions?

Thanks, any help to save more seedlings would be great. :-)

Pam


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Pam, I use simple tricks to keep slugs away. I spread firewood ashes around the bed all winter. Slugs don't like them and will move on to more hospitable environments. I sprinkle them over the beds once they've cooled off. In early spring, like last week, I pull the leaves back to let the robins into the beds. They eat a lot of bugs and it allows the ground to dry out a bit. Pill bugs need a wet, humid environment. They can't live where it's dry for long. Keeping the mulch and leaves away from the new seedlings is important too. I plant into bare soil and so far, I haven't had many problems.

I do have lots of pillbugs. I also have slugs. But keeping their homes away from my babies is the most I do.

As for squirrels. I feed them. If I notice they've run out of food elsewhere, I buy corn and leave a tray outside for them. They stay out of the birdfeeders that way too. If they're hungry, they're going to eat. I'd rather they eat what and where I want them to.

I have a lot of oak trees too so they get plenty of acorns. There's a couple of owls that live around here and a hawk I've been seeing lately. So the squirrels rarely trek across open ground. But feeding them keeps them away from my beds.


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Thanks a bunch. We have a fireplace so I will start distributing ashes now.

We have lots of squirrels because we have a lot of trees. :-) They run and play all over our property. I guess I should consider purchasing some corn during planting season so they stay away from the babies.

I appreciate the ideas. I will use them.

Thanks
Pam


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

Yeah Pam.....I have to agree with Token. Try feeding squirrels. The bird seed is ALREADY attracting them so thats a given. So feed then something more accessible. Preferably away from the birds, but mine is right nearby, since my space is limited.

I'd stopped (feeding them specifically) and definitely notice a difference. 'We' (and I say 'we' cuz he's passed away and now it's all up to ME) didnt deliberately feed the squirrels separately at first, knowing no better.

Originally put up our first "home-made feeder up that was too accessible for them a couple years ago. So my guy bought another better made BIRD feeder which we called the "bird condo" not because it was for housing, but because it looked like a stacked condo. Every bird loved it. Even doves who dont typically eat from hanging feeder learned how to use it. We got a lot of joy out of it (until the plastic rotted and it was time to lay it to rest).

But since we left the ORIGNAL old wooden home-made one still there, and easily accessible for Mr. Squirrel, my guy just kept filling it with cheap cracked corn feed and Mr. Squirrel just kept to himself, happy as a clam, and never bothered the bird feeders. Gotta say, this was LAST year when the 'condo' was still up in the SIDE yard, by the "squirrel" tree.
& "old" squirrel (sp?) feeder.

Now, the plastic rotted good feeder (the "condo" feeder) is gone
...:o)

No more "BIRD CONDO" -- so no seed on the side of the house, where the squirrel tree is.
It did have a cover over it for rain and such like a little house. In fact, he'd take 'shelter' under it during a rain - so that may be a thought when/if you designate one JUST for them. He seemed to like that he could 'huddle' under the 'roof' and stay dry (it WAS big enough for that).

I guess its one of those things like "if you cant beat them - join them" sort of things. In my case, I really didnt have but two or three squirrels visiting. And then eventually, they coupled off and mated.

So I can't speak for more rural areas with tons of squirrels. Just agreeing with Token that if you give them what THEY like, they WILL stay away from feeders.

bonnie


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RE: Wintersowing a cottage garden.

bump


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