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Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Posted by trudi_d (My Page) on
Wed, Dec 22, 10 at 11:06

It's so hard to be new at anything, and Winter Sowing, if you've never heard of it before, can cause some confusion. (Like, if we put the seed outside in winter, won't they freeze and die?) Skeptical friends and family hoot and howl with glee--it can hurt feelings.

The good people at this forum are experienced, friendly and welcoming. Let us know your concerns, doubts, problems. We'll give you a hug and hold your hand through the process, start to finish.

T


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Hi Trudi!

As a newbie here, I just wanted to say a big thank you to all who has helped me here! I, for one, haven't gotten any funny looks or remarks about it. Everyone whom I've told so far thought it sounds neat! It was a little confusing at first but I've had lots of help from nice members on here (especially gardenweed!). I just hope Mother Nature is on my side and I have seedlings popping up all over the place next spring! I'm going to plant some more today!

Thank you everyone! Merry Christmas! Happy Winter Sowing!

Brad AKA Moonwolf


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I'm brand new as well, put out over 40 containers! Thanks, by the way, to everyone who traded seeds with me, I have a bunch of things I'm looking forward to come Spring (with any luck).

As far as hand holding, I'm just paranoid about the drainage of my containers, so I thought if we get a warm period mid winter (above freezing for a day or two) I'd check them and add more holes if need be. What do you think?


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I actually was a ding bat yesterday and I had put my soil in my container. Well I watered it and I couldn't understand why it wasn't draining. Well I gave it a few more minutes and I came back to find I didn't put holes in the bottom. LOL, oops!! Well I just decided ok well I will put the holes in now, well I have to say I was glad I didn't put my seed in. Cause when I went to poke the holes in the bottom, well I made a huge mess and part of my soil came gushing out of the top. I guess my plastic was tough enough that I needed to use enough force that it plopped some of my soil out actually enough where I had to add some more.

Well in other words, I would be extremely careful when you go to make holes in the bottom if you have already planted. Cause you wouldn't want to err like I did and plop out your seeds or bury them to deep.

Oh and thank you pvmisaccount for the trade also, I planted a few of the seeds that I got from you yesterday. I was very excited about it!! I can't wait till spring!!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

LOL, CC. It happens. When I need to add an extra hole I use a cheapo steak knife and make a small gash in the side near the bottom, then twist the knife which opens the hole and lets the extra water drain away. A power drill might do well too, but sometimes they are a little tough to handle.

T


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

pvmiscaccount - how many holes did you poke in your containers?

I probably put too many but last year in late April/early May we had monsoon rains week after week. I think I'd have lost a lot of sprouts if there weren't so many drainage holes. As it was I ended up carrying 200+ jugs inside the garage where they could dry out a little. WS sprouts are VERY tough, sturdy little guys.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! One more thing...

One lesson I only needed to learn once was to poke holes in the container BEFORE cutting it open. I got distracted once or twice last year and cut the milk jug open before poking the holes in the bottom. Made it just a tad more difficult to use the ice pick.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I have different types of containers, I have a few milk jugs and juice containers, but the majority are the clear plastic "take-out" containers. Those are the ones I'm worried about. They sit so flat on the ground that I don't think they get as good of drainage as they should.

Trudi, that's brilliant, I was worried about adding holes to the bottom, I'll just slice open the side! Ha, so much easier that way.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Thanks so much, Trudi! This is such a warm and welcoming forum. I am new to the concept of wintersowing, have sown some so far, experimenting with containers.

I found a video online about how to make origami style paper containers, as well as the ones using a glass cup. I have some seeds that I am worried about transplanting well, I thought if I use the sheets of an old phone book the origami method would work well for individual containers. Have you used paper containers like this? What's your advice? I have pretty much been using what I can find, my favorite so far Dunkin' Donuts coolata cups with the dome lids...

I haven't been sowing mine too deep, just moistening the soil, adding seeds, then some vermiculite on the top. How does that process sound? I wonder if I am over or under covering them. I try not to worry, and just let Mother Nature do her thing........

Thanks to all for the wonderful advice on this site, and the support and humor as well.

Happy Sowing and Merry Christmas everyone!!!!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Thanks Trudi! I'm so glad that you and the other gardeners here have written so much and already asked so many questions. I've ordered my seeds and can't wait to get them and start planting.


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RE: Welcome Beginners!

cab321 - welcome to the most fun you can have in the winter without strapping on snowshoes, skis or ice skates! It's aerobic exercise for gardeners, not to mention more fun in January & February than gardeners are normally allowed.

I discovered a year or more ago I'm most content with my hands in dirt/potting soil so you can imagine how wonderful it was to stumble upon wintersown.org and all the great folks on this forum.

We're happy you're here--please stay awhile and share your winter sowing stories with everyone!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Gardenunusual, when you say phone book are you talking about the inside pages or the front and back covers??

Also it depends on what seed you are covering with the vermiculite. Some seeds respond good to that procedure and then some do not need it and it could end up being a hindrance.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

A big WELCOME to all the newbies and HAPPY HOLIDAYS everyone..TomVa


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

What seeds are you sowing that you are concerned about their transplanting? Generally, with WS, we transplant while the seedlings are very small--mine are usually a half inch or less when they're transplanted. They have great root systems too.

I think I could prep a milk bottle in my sleep. I do it with cheapo scissors from the dollar store. I make four snips, one each on a side where it curls around to become the base. And then I stab the middle and cut through all the equator except for the label. I don't cut the label at all because that's where I bend back the top of the jug--the label the hinge. After sowing I do a mostly accurate tape job with either duct tape or packing tape. My experience with tape is that you get what you pay for. Some tape glue doesn't hold well in very cold weather--dollar store tape can be very iffy.

Just want to add that before I put soil in a container, I flip it over, put on a piece of duct tape and write the seed name on the tape with an industrial sharpie. I also add a tag inside the container before I tape it. Tags bow away, or they get lost, or shuffled around, or the writing fades. If that happens I just pick up the jug, look underneath it and read the writing on the strip of duct tape. The sun can never fade writing under the flat.


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Forgot to add...

Some people have done paper-pots, maybe nine or sixteen can nestle down into a milkjug base. I've never done it so I have no experience as to how well they will hold up against repeated freezing and thaws. Most of the paper is not going to be exposed to sunlight and UV rays so I doubt there will be much deterioration from that. They might be nice for an early spring sowing of annuals--it's like making small plant-plugs. I think they'll need to be snuggly wedged into a container so that as-a-mass they evenly (if possible) distribute the available water in the container. It might be better to do these in a rectangular container with a reusable lid, like a clear dollar store shoebox, so that you can remove the lid and water the individual cells as needed.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I made the origami paper pots last year and used them in a lasagna tray using a different type of seed for each pot. They worked OK. They were easy to plant - paper and all, but I felt like they dried out a little faster. The paper tends to wick the water away. I know when you plant them you don't want the paper sticking above the soil surface or you will have that problem. Would I try them again, maybe, but I don't think I will this year. It warmed up so early last year that I really had to keep watering everything and it was a pain. The milk cartons without the paper pots didn't have to be watered so often.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Hi Trudi,

There is an assortment, some really tiny seed, others like morning glories, too.

I did just a light covering, to mimic a possible natural mulch like in the wild.

The paper pots do seem to work well stacked together. Kinda fun to make, time consuming though. The plants I am worried about are sweet peas, poppies, cleome. Do you think I ruined them? Should I go back and put more seed on top, or try re-sowing the leftover seed I saved 'just in case'? There are some I put a light covering of soil on. *sigh* What's a newbie wintersower to do?

And the paper I used was the black and white listings paper on the inside. I was concerned about using colored paper.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I knew I had read a thread before on toilet paper roll pots. Here are 2 threads about them. I know there is another thread about them cause I remember reading on it last year before winter time rolled around.

I tried the toilet paper rolls myself and to be honest I didn't care much for them. How I did it was used my old faithful pan and placed my rolls in the pan. I would water by adding water in the pan. The pots just dried out fast. To be honest I am not for sure if it was because they were so small or if it was the location I had my pan at or if it was because it was a paper product. From this thread they are saying the newspaper pots are better. In my mind newspaper is like the phone book pages.

Anywho I hope this helps you out some!!

First link is:Toilet Paper Rolls

Here is a link that might be useful: Newspaper pot


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Last year, or rather this past Jan. I read about somebody using a soldering iron to make the drainage and air cirulation holes in my containers. I knew my husband had one of those and at first he was reluctant to allow me to use it..(nobody touches his tools!)but when he showed me that he had two soldering irons, I asked which one could I use? Reluctantly he gave me the oldest one..after I asked him when was the last time he needed to use either of them. Like that ice pick, one must be very careful not to let that or the soldering iron slip and cause injury or a burn to one's self or anything else. Gardenweed..I bet some people don't know what an ice pick looks like or what it was originally used for! LOL! I know we have one around here somewhere(out in the garage in one of those tool drawers)I'd have to go through every drawer in the metal cabinet that he has and I bet he'd have to do the same but he'd know "about which drawer to look." The soldering iron works so quickly once its heated up. It does cause a slight odor from melting the plastic, so if one is sensitive to those fumes..be aware. Some people have written that they turn the gas stove on, take a screwdriver and let the tip get hot from the flame and poke holes in the containers. That seems like a tedious process to me.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I thought I might use some 2 liter bottles my first time so I asked my neighbor to drill holes for me. He drilled a single hole in the middle of the bottom and declared that was enough for drainage. I thanked him, drove to Home Depot & bought a soldering iron. It worked fine but I didn't like the stench so I pretty much gave up on 2 liters. The ice pick works fine on the milk jugs. With their wide flat bottoms, they're not as tippy as 2 liters either. A few milk jugs on the north side of my garage got tossed around in a storm, the potting mix was thrown up one side and it looked a mess. Seeds sprouted anyway!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I user a soldering iron, , it is quick and easy.But I do agree with gardenweed, the smell is not a good one, go out to the garage, ot better yet,go out side when you use it.I have a plug in on my porch,but I pretty much, reuse the same containers, year to year, so I don;t have to use it as much as I did the first time.
I have used a knife,and scissores,which I do use to cut the jugs around.
Happy sowing every one,gotta get busy
cAROL


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Wireless electric drill - works great. Last year I was using drinking cups in large storage boxes (those "under bed" type) and smaller shoe box size type. Drill would go through 15-20 of stacked cups without a problem. I also used yogurt cups. In general, these cups were too small. I had to water constantly. However, they were very easy to plant - whole cup straight to the ground, I mean content of the cup. Here, some pictures:

Ready to go.... This year, however, I'll use Pro-Mix
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Ready to go out...

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Last year, they went to my unscreaned yet poarch. This year the poarch is already screaned. So they will be outside where they belong...

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Getting some freash air

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The large boxes were the best

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and it worked.. this is WSed petunia

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I aslo WSed vegies.. welcome to my jungle

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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

@adamark - that's freekin' amazing! What kinds of hots did you winter sow?


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

The past 2 years I have winter sown and very disapointed. Between both years I planted over 450 conainers with probably only 15 containers sprouting. I used bottomless containers so the extra water would drain very quickly. I am not sure if it is too cold here, not enough snow cover, too windy or just planting it wrong. I had quite a collection of some wonderful seeds and I think poppies were mainly what came up. I guess I am going to need some instruction before I plant again. Now that I have a greenhouse, this year I will probably resort to that unless I just try a few left over seeds to see what happens. HELP! It sure would make life easier to put in ground and not worry over too warm, not enough water, etc. that a greenhouse requires.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I'm not sure what a bottomless container is, and how would you lift that and move that as needed?

That you have a 3% success rate shows that you must be doing soemthing very wrong. Tell us all you did with your WS and then maybe we can help you to have a resaonable 90% success rate.

In my experience, when something goes so terribly wrong with WS that there is practically nil germination, I first suspect the soil. What brand did you use?


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 WA coast (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 23, 10 at 12:37

That must have been disappointing, I'm sorry you had bad experiences with your seeds.

Maybe a little more information from you would help us. When did you sow, and were you putting tender annuals, less frost hardy things out at the same time as tougher perennials, or were you sowing shrubs?

Do you have an idea of the moisture in your pots? You say bottomless, were they in a larger holding container then and were they covered for protection against drying winds if you have little snow? I don't have predictable snow either but the rain essentially never stops :)

Did you cover seeds with your sowing mix and what were you using for the mix? They can sometimes settle deeper with repeated freezing and thawing in cold zones and could end up too deep if already topped as per indoor sowing.

I don't know if the bottomless contributed to your problem - I wonder if the top area of your containers was too dry too quickly for germination, most seeds that have absorbed some moisture through the seed coat then allowed to dry out again will die. I do have a couple of bottomless deep cell trays I use to sow outdoors in winter, but my climate is so vastly different I have to question how they would work in yours, nothing out in the weather will dry out in coastal Washington in winter, not ever.

And, they aren't bottomless for reasons of drainage, it's a root developing aid - bottomless pots self root prune, useful for those things you may not be planting out very young and will want to wait until the plants mature some.

So, could you tell us some more - many here sow in Z5s and there's no reason you have to continue to have your pots fail :), there's a way to fix it.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs - Add-on

Trudi, I started typing and stopped to answer the door (in pajamas) to accept a tray of cookies from my neighbor, you got to the question in the meantime :)

The deep cell bottomless I have are from Charleys Greenhouse and I don't think they have quite the same size any more. They have to be prepared on a hard surface and the first layer soil is tamped in (moist) pretty firmly - I have a mini-tart press that just fits the cells, of course dedicated for only use with the dirt :) That keeps them semi-secure until you can put them where they are going to stay to germinate, but you're not moving them much (successfully) until there are roots to anchor the soil well. They really are meant for greenhouse or unheated cold frame use, you don't see them offered much other than for commercial applications and professional growers. They will work for me in a wet Z8, I have my doubts about a windy frigid Z5.

They self root prune, and help to prevent roots from encircling the inside of the container, not that useful for most germinating, and not for things that will be planted in more immature stages.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I LOVE PICS!! I LOVE PICS!! I LOVE PICS!!!
JUMPING UP & DOWN FOR JOY!!
Nice pics adamark!!!

I have the under the bed clear storage bins too! 10 to be exact. I am undecided if I am going to plant directly to them (as in fill them w/ dirt & plant) or use cups. mmm..... decisions, decisions.......

I hope you experts can help out farmgirl! I'm sure you can.... That is MY BIGGEST FEAR! Somehow I'll plant all these & mess up & get notin' LOL


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Same here, jodie!! Very nice pics adamark!!

I have an oddball pan that I was wondering the same thing. Well I made my decision the other day, cause the bottom was not flat. So holding containers would not be practical. So I am going to sow several things in my BIGGGG MOMMA aluminum pan. Me I prefer to sow in containers and set them in the pan. Though I only plan to do a bunch of poppies and some other annuals in the pan so I really could care less if they get mixed up. I will mix them in the bed anyway!!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

The cups that I cut out the bottoms were the 16 oz cups. I cut them out for better drainage. I made a whole as deep as each cup and then inserted the cups into a raised bed.. I then filled with dampened seeding mixture that I bought from NW Seed, put the seeds on top and covered with a fine grit. Sprayed water a little more to hold it down. I did this in early November because usually by the middle of November we have snow. This year we had 26 inches before Thanksgiving. I did not cover any of the containers because I was thinking with all the snow pack we usually get the extra moisure would go through. Last year we didn't have hardly any snow but the cold frigid winds were really strong.

Now is this where I went wrong by not covering each cup with plastic? The weather is not condusive here to plant in December through February and March is marginal.

I use this same seed starting mix when I plant under the gro lights and have no problem with the seeds not germinating. Do I need a heavier mix for outside planting?

Ellie


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I just got my SASE seeds from WinterSown - thanks for a fabulous early Christmas present Trudi! I'm getting so excited about this endeavor. Will be buying the potting mix after the holiday.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Farmergirl, first off in able to wintersow 1 criteria is that the seed normally reseeds with out any help from us. So my opinion is that the lid part really had little to do with the non germination.

On an older post I noticed where you had said you had used potting soil and not the mix, I think it was a thread where we were talking about what types of soil to use. If you were using a heavy or a light soil when growing outside that might be the problem. Growing inside is different in the ways that under lights and such pots tend to need more water. Well plants grown outside under snow actually need less.

As far as the grit some seeds actually benefit from that method, and when looking up growing instructions that is part of the method. Though there are seeds that you just toss on top of the surface. I actually find more seeds that you just toss on the surface and press than find seeds that recommend the grit procedure.

I also noticed where you said you buried your pots or cups to help protect against the winds. I am not accustom to gale strength winds, though I know several more west of me are. Maybe they can give you some advice on how to protect against the winds without having to bury your containers.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Ellie, you need to put your indoors sowing experience aside and rethink this.

Most everyone in your type climate uses clear vented lids to protect the seeds and hold in condensation, moisture. I think it would work topless in California for a sower with a convenient hose and good attention span - and I know works topless other than grit in England and my own - we're exceptions and not the norm.

The indoor seed sowing mixes are the wrong product (too fine, lightweight, and need you staying on top of them watching moisture), you want to use a good quality container mix/potting mix, just as you would use for growing full sized plants in pots.

You won't have to worry about planting out in March - if your weather isn't going to let you do it comfortably, chances are those seedlings will be keeping pace with that weather. These seedlings germinating outdoors aren't going to grow at the same rate as seedlings indoors under lights, they'll wait for you and not demand your attention.
My temperatures would be comfortable enough Feb and Mar, but my beds so winter wet and saturated and don't dare put a shovel to them before April most years without risking destroying soil structure - and I'm planting out all Spring, Summer and into Fall, this is a very forgiving method of sowing.

Try again. Lids. Not bottomless either, bottomless pots are designed for growing on things that wouldn't be planted out that season, just make adequate drainage holes. Use your container potting mix you would use for the plants on your patio.

And my zone still isn't showing above, so Z8 wet and rainy coastal Washington


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

But would just a few holes in the bottom of a container be enough when it rains? What about drainage. I thought I read somewhere that you need to put holes in the lid or plastic that is covering it and what about the sun light? Will it get enough sun to grow? I am really confused about this whole thing. I have a nice little collection of seeds again and don't want to waste them since the past 2 years I didn't get much. I really want some plants since I am starting with virgin soil. I built a home on 1.5 acres a couple years ago and it was a horse pasture. Just looking forward to having some flowers to look at. Thanks for all the advise. I suppose its too late now to plant now since it looks like alot of people did it a couple of weeks ago.

Have a wonderful Christmas! Hoping Santa will bring me more seeds.

Ellie


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Farmergirl as far as the drainage holes on the bottom or side. I add enough before I put soil in I add my soil then add water. I let it drain. Well if it does not drain then I got a problem somewhere. Of course the very first time you water mix that has been dry is going to take a little longer to absorb the water. Though still it should drain. So adequate holes on the bottom or sides, I prefer corners and one in the middle, are extremely important. Just like any pot you would buy a plant in from any block and mortar store.

The theory of wsing was based on the idea of reseeds. A reseed is just any plant regardless of what type that actually reseeds in your area through out nature naturally. In other words if you can winter sow it to begin with then that means that it was distributed by reseeding and growing without a lid. So lids are used in this method but it is not like it is a HAVE to have sitiuation. Though special things are required in order to do that process to be successful, for one plenty of soil. If you look over the faq's there is something Trudi wrote up about a swimming pool she planted some seeds in. She did not have a cover, and she also had a lot of snow that year. Well two things she did have was drainage holes and deep enough soil to account for the rain. Well she had germination!!

As for seeds needing light to germinate, yes some seeds do need light to germinate. Which might be another reason your seeds did not germinate due to the grit you had on top of them last year. The holes in the lids are for ventilation. When the sun comes out regardless if it is freezing outside the container becomes a mini green house, (ugh have you ever been in a green house, with no ventilation, yikes) so in order that you do not smother your seedlings the ventilation process is important. More important than the lid itself.

As for to late no no no granted some including myself have already started sowing, but that doesn't mean that was the only time people are going to sow. As a matter of fact most of us will be planting more seeds periodically through out winter till march. So no it is not to late!!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

This is an informative post. Thanks Trudi, Happy Holidays!

I think I planted too deep, from what I read so far. I gave any hard seeds (delphiniums, Larkspur) a good push at least 1/2 to 1 inch of soil on top. I did cover the Hosta seeds as well, but, not that deep. The seeds that were really tiny (Monardia, Veronica and Stock), I put a little bit of soil to cover. I did not want it the seed to drain away with the water.

Today, was my first time sowing with cups. It got messy! I like the jugs way better.

However, I went to Starbucks, they got a rule no recycling give outs except coffee grinds. Something about they have to put them into the recycling bins and keep them locked.

Since I'm a VIP, they are going to ask the Manager to make an exception. I could use at least 50 more jugs. I'm not sweating it. I'm getting creative with containers'.

GREAT Pictures Adarpe!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Thanks for the pictures..gardenweed and adamark. Yes, I'm new also and I am looking forward to winter sowing. So far I have read everything on wintersow.com and I got a list of seeds and I am working on collecting seeds. Some I got off ebay, it's the only kind of shopping I have time to do most of the time:( Also I will sow some that are not on the list and let you know how it goes. Anyone with suggestions ?


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Well I am sowing some that are not on the list also. If I am not mistaken above where the list is on wintersown.org it says that if you do not see the plant it is not because it can not be successfully grown it might be that it hasn't been tried yet.

So I research my seeds prior to sowing, and that lets me know where to go from there. Trudi gives such great tips on key words to look for on seeds, that it will become second nature to you when picking out seeds before long.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I have some smaller size plastic cups and was curious what would be a SLOWER growing plants to WS in them. I was thinking of the following:
hostas
lilies
crocus
siberian iris
eventually tomatoes & peppers

Are these slower growing? Can you help me add to my list that do well in individual cups? Basically I have 10 of the under the bed storage containers & I am going to use cups inside of these - that's why I need a LONG list! LOL

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Jodie


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Ladyrose...check out another Starbucks location. Each Mgr. may have a different rule on the jugs. Just a thought. My guess is that maybe there are people who come in asking for the Free milk jugs and don't buy any coffee or other products. I can understand that. If you are a regular, be sure to ask the Mgr. If you don't know the mgr. or he or she doesn't recognize you as a regular customer, make yourself known. It can't hurt. Become their new friend!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

jodie74 - hostas are very slow growing and only get about an inch tall the first year. My only ongoing concern with small cups is the growing mix in them will dry out more quickly. I did WS hosta seeds last year and got lots of adorable tiny sprouts but they were in milk jugs with plenty of moist growing medium. Daylilies are also slow growing but they could outgrow the small cups the first year--mine in quart pots grew 7" tall by the time they went dormant in the winter. Ditto Siberian iris. Astilbe is a slow grower as are a few other shade lovers.

Ladyrose - I get all the milk jugs at the Starbucks kiosk in the office building where I work but they know I'm a good customer in the adjacent cafeteria so they're glad to give them to me. I don't drink Starbucks coffee but others on my team do. Another good source of milk jugs is a nursery school or day care center.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Did I plant too deep! Will planting too deep cause automatic seed rot?


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RE: Planting Depth

ladyrose65 - the seeds don't need to be planted deep in the growing medium. I sow mine on the surface and just for peace of mind sprinkle bird grit over top of them to help them make contact with the moist growing medium. As a first timer last year I did poke some larger seeds (i.e., lupine, baptisia, Siberian iris, hibiscus) down into the soil about 1/4 inch but folks on this forum say even that isn't necessary--the alternating freeze/thaw cycles allow the seeds to make contact with the "soil," naturally and in their own good time.

I don't know if the seeds will rot being so deep in the growing medium but hopefully someone else with similar experience will chime in. If you need more seeds, send me an email--I might have extras I could send you.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Seeds don't rot because they're planted too deep, they rot because they fail to germinate, and then they rot.

Small seeds don't have a big fuel reserve, and they need to be planted at or just below the surface of the soil. There is enough energy to get the root down and the leaves up to begin photosynthesis. Too deep and sprout can't get above soil.

T


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

when is the best time to wintersow in northern florida? i believe it is zone 9. i know all the flowers i've done in the past in ohio will not live in this heat, but i would love some ideas on flowers and wintersowing methods.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I had a long post but lost it. Here is a recap.

Elle, if I understand in fall you are sowing seeds in containers and placing those containers in a raised bed outside, right? That is basically direct sowing and will have the same results as any direct sowing.

Though it is sowing in the winter, it is not the technique known as winter sowing.

Winter sowing is sowing seeds in covered containers that protect the seeds from wind, washing away in a rain, being eaten by critters and keeping the seeds moist for germination. We start sowing on Solstice, Dec. 21, and continue until spring which is the "Winter" in winter sowing. One can use the same techniques in spring referred to as spring sowing.

These containers are placed outside on the ground, a patio, a table, etc. during the winter. When the seeds germinate in the spring the seedlings are planted in the ground.

Please do some more reading about winter sowing techniques and try again. Trudi's site wintersown.org has all the information in one place. Those of us winter sowing for years can vouch for the effectiveness. Some of our containers may not germinate but most will and we find we have more seedling than we can use.

The following link tells how others winter sow.

Here is a link that might be useful: How Do You Wintersow


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Zone 9: You can WS anytime after the Winter Solstice, your seeds will start sprouting way before those in warmer zones. What flowers did you sow in Ohio that won't grow in Florida? I would be concerned about fruits not getting enough chill hours to set their fruits. However, you may find that some of the annuals you grew in Ohio are perennial in a warmer climate--California Poppies come to mind.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Here's my first batch of babies! Lots more to come. I surely would never have attempted this without such encouragement from all of you.

16Jan first fifty


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Not actually a newbie as i did this several years under "normal" garden conditions.
This year I'm trying for the first time in the arid south west desert. My problem seems to be about the reverse of most.
My containers are drying out too quickly. I put them on the north side to avoid too much sun and kept them closed pretty tight but I am needing to put them into trays of water every few days.
I worry that they will dry too much and kill my seeds.
Has anyone else done this in a very dry climate? Will it work?
Love the photos and thanks to Trudi.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Hi, Beth. I remember you posting before about ws. Though I do not live in a dry area some years I have needed to water every day or so. Have always had an abundance of seedlings. Keep checking your containers and watering as needed. Once the seedlings are big enough to have the tops off the containers I water with a watering wand on gentle stream. Doesn't take as long as bottom watering.


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cab, your first batch looks good.

Beth, here is why I use a watering wand. After several years of hundreds of containers this year I am limiting myself to 50 containers. Have only done 8 so far so maybe I can hold to that limit. Each side gets half day sun/half day shade. Patio is on the north side of the house.
2008 Wintersowing set up

WS Spring 2008

Most of the jugs are open. I use the window with a plastic baggie over the jugs and the baggie has been removed. If frost threatens I put the baggie back on or cover with plastic sheeting.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I also have the problems with my containers drying out since I use smaller containers. A few things I do is I set my containers in a pan. I did have to score a few places in the pan so it wouldn't hold to much water. Also I make sure I have plenty of ventilation. I personally think that you can not have to much ventilation. The sun will come through those containers and our containers become mini greenhouses, so even though it might be freezing outside the trapped air inside our containers can usually be quite warm. If the air is to warm then it will hasten the drying process.

Now when I say you can't have to much ventilation of course you don't want your vent holes big enough where a critter can get in them. Every time I add more containers to my collection I can hear the crows going coooo coooo like saying hey ya she is adding some food for us. LOL They must be able to smell some of those seeds, especially the dill and fennel.

Cab, I love your collage of containers, it makes me feel a little less insecure about all of my non matching ones I am using. Also yes I love that your also using a grated cheese container. Aren't they just great?? Tough little boogers to cut though!!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I have a newbie question! I've been putting my wintersown containers against the back wall of my house. We sometimes have a very strong wind that blows down the side of our yard, and this is the safest spot in terms of wind to keep them. However, they're underneath the house eaves there, and so they don't get rained or snowed on. Is that bad? Should I put them in a more exposed spot?


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

We get few snows here. Actually our biggest snow of the year was yesterday. LOL @ biggest, we have about 2 inches of snow on the ground. The town stopped moving for that 2 inches also, LOL. Kids were out of school yesterday and today!!

I seriously think that as long as your containers are moist then it doesn't matter if they are getting rained on or snowed on.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

serenae, they should be fine, just be more watchful about watering to keep them from drying out.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Okay, thanks both! I'll keep an eye on them and make sure they don't dry out. :)


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Hi everyone! I am new to gardening and this is my first attempt at winter sowing. I'm using empty folgers coffee tubs (that I scored from the office)- covered with large freezer bags.

I'm also worried that I sowed my seeds (Alyssum Carpet of Snow & Cottage Mix) too deep. In hindsight, I should have just patted them down instead of adding soil on top for cover. I really hope some of them will manage to survive!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I've put my containers under the back porch the last couple of years because of wind, too. Now, when I say under - the porch is about 15 feet off the ground. So they get plenty of light, just no rain or snow to speak of. I do pay attention and water them when it's warmer out. But I also use the Miracle Gro Moisture Control potting soil to help them stay moist longer. That might also be helpful in a very dry desert climate.

I use it in my porch pots in summer for the same reason - I'd be watering twice a day otherwise, in our heat!


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Hello,

I'm new to WS and had winter sown some containers in Jan. I'm in Clackamas, OR and while its been cold the last few days it has not really rained. I noticed today that the condensation has gone down (losing the condensation). Should I put them in plastic shopping bags or tape some of the vent holes? I did add some water to the containers (and noticed my chamomile have sprouted!!)

Misty


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 1, 11 at 17:47

Misty, I wouldn't close the ventilation holes up more, and especially not on anything that has germinated like your chamomile - I've got tops off my containers. Those of us in PNW have to be careful not to have our containers too tight and encourage mold or mildew with only slight temp changes between overnight and afternoon - and that means you are going to have to watch the water if it isn't raining.

Do you have many containers? You can sit them in a pan to bottom water, mist with a hose, or if just a few put some water in a pump spray bottle and make your own rain....I'd be happy to send you some of mine, I put on hip boots this morning just so I could get down in my beds without getting wet legs.

How'd you get away with no rain, we're just on our second consecutive dry day here, it stopped yesterday morning :)


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Thank you for your reply Morz8. I have horrible memory (get it from my mother). I know that yesterday was cold and dry as was today. Before yesterday I really cannot remember there being rain. Last week there were a lot of days that were super foggy until noon and then just cloudy or small sprinkles.

I only have 12 containers so far. So I should not worry too much about the vent holes or the drainage holes? It would be safe for me to take the lids off the containers? Winter sowing makes a lot of sense (from what I have read) but I am nervous that I will make a lot of mistakes. Plus it sounds like each area/zone is different from when to WS certain seeds. To be safe I did mostly perennials for Jan. I'm not too worried about the chamomile because I know it self sows easily here.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 1, 11 at 19:06

Misty, you do need adequate vent and drainage holes, I wouldn't cut back on either - it's hard to correct soggy seeds, water you can add if they seem on the dry side. My Mom is in Longview, my brother Raleigh Hills PDX so I know you get less drizzle and rain than I do and I hesitate to tell you to completely remove covers, but I'd be opening farther or venting more on those containers that have germinated. Those that have not may need the condensation, too wet and I think you would have been seeing 'fuzzies' or algae by now if you sowed last month.

No rain in the forecast that I can determine before about Friday so add water if needed - 12 containers shouldn't be too much extra work.

When you've seen how things do for you this first year, you'll know how to tweak for your own micro climate - when my sis was in Oregon City, she had a lot of cement around her and was not in an area that took longer to become dry!
I can have my feet in salt water in less than 20 min and have all the ocean influence here :)

Don't be nervous, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. There's another poster here close to you but I haven't seen him active lately - his WS very successful and productive. You were on the right course with perennials first, that's all I've done so far and will get to those few things that don't require a chill in the next couple of weeks or so.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Scratchits, I wouldn't see what it would hurt to go without the lids in your zone, that is my opinion though. I am close to taking them off myself and I am zone 6. Give me a few weeks and I will be saying adios lid!! Though when I take off my lid that is when rain is something you have to watch. I am still undecided about the rain, one part of me says that it will push my seeds in the soil more which may be good. Then the other side of me says it may wash out my dirt. Ugh, decisions!! Maybe under the eave, hmmm, oh well I have a few weeks to decide for myself!!

I guess I need to remember last year, I sowed with no lid at all and I got germination. Though I started in march!!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

everyone i've talked to has told me to keep lids off and to cut more ventilation holes later, when i have sprouts in the spring. i'm nervous, too, scratchits-- my first year too. everyone here is so positive and optimistic that i'm trying to keep the faith!

except for the daylilies. still fretting about what to do with the daylily seeds, having read sooooo many mixed reviews of every single technique i have read about. would appreciate more reassurance on that one, experienced folk, please! :D


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 1, 11 at 23:13

rose, by 'lids' I meant any tops of any kind, my pots are uncovered and there is nothing to vent, they are open - I just don't want to confuse Misty. It works in coastal Washington, other areas of PNW and while I've spent time in Clackamas I'm not sure if her air is enough more dry in the afternoons that she would have trouble keeping seeds moist enough to germinate in February. It isn't something I would recommend to anyone outside Z8 Pacific Northwest or England.

With a good quality potting soil that has been settled into a pot, rain does not force the seeds down in too deep or force the soil out. The soil has a saturation point and can only get so wet, any excess water after that point runs out the drainage holes. I barely have days without rain in a normal year and Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan all had above average rain this year, we're getting a little taste of sun this week.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Morz8, countrycarolyn, and Rosemctier,

Thank you for the encouragement!

morz8, I will go with your advise and after a couple of days will take the lid off of the container that has sprouted (if the air does not seem too dry).

Misty


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

morz8, it never occurred to me until WSing that there were so many ways to interpret the word "lid" LOL.

now i'm all worried! i never expected torrential downpours this early in the season-- i do hope my drainage holes are adequate. hopefully the rain will melt the chunks of icy snow covering them enough that i can check on them tomorrow and make sure they're not flooding along with everything else around here-- there is a river coursing through our driveway.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Kinda late getting to this topic, but thought I would share what I have done so far:

I'm a WS newbie in Portland, and we got so much rain that I started to get "the fuzzies" in my containers. I posted about that here, and was advised to take the tops off for air. I did so, and the fuzzies went away.

We havent had much rain for the last few days, so I added some water a couple of days ago. Last night's temps were at the freezing mark, so I covered my containers back up. We expect freezing temps tonight as well, so I have just kept the covers on, and added more water due to lack of rain.

The weather report calls for rain no sooner than this friday, so I am just making sure that the babies are staying moist. Keeping their tops on is going to help with that I guess, so I am not too concerned until the freezing weather passes and I have to take the tops off again.

My main concern has been the wind. Over here, its been pretty gusty, and I lost one container already this season from the wind. I also WS'ed a hanging basket which got the fuzzies when it sprouted, so I removed the garbage bag that was on it and hung it up. When we got the freezing overnight temps, I put another garbage sack on it, but I guess not securely enough because it blew away. The seedlings *look* ok, but I wonder if the damage is done and they will eventually wither away.

Anyway, yeah. Thanks to the advise of everyone here, I have been successful, for the most part, in tweaking my methods to our soggy climate. I know for me it helps when someone from the same area chimes in with their experiences/successes/failures!

Steff :)


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 2, 11 at 19:45

Steff, it sounds like you are doing everything right, especially for walking that fine line between dryness and enclosed too tight in our climate - much more mild than most of the country including other Z8s.

Your basket may be OK. Usually if a freeze is going to take out seedlings, you know it as soon as the temps warm up above freezing again and those tiny leaves thaw - you would probably be able to see damage this afternoon if there was going to be any.

We've got basically the same forecast here, rain Friday. Not quite as cold overnight, it was just 30 on my deck this morning. Beautiful afternoon though, I moved my car out of the way of the lawnmower - DH got the hint when he got home and is mowing as I type :)


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Hi everyone. You are all so helpful. I asked this question before but can't find the answer (or my question). In some pictures I see the tops off, then tops on with snow, then tops off. After I get sprouts and take the tops off, if bad weather strikes, do I need to put the tops back on?


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 3, 11 at 11:29

Yes Linda, sometimes Ma Nature presents us with conditions that has the seedlings needing our help after they've sprouted, like most gardeners you'll be keeping an eye on the forecast. If something is looming that makes you concerned, cover again. One of our more damaging freezes a few years ago came the last week of February after about three weeks of much more mild...that one bit the new growth on established roses even. I had seedling pots covered with both plastic and old tablecloths and they were fine.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Hello. I'm in zone 7, the NC Sandhills. I did my roses last month and I'm pretty confident about them. But I'm looking for some handholding on tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, marigolds, tomatillos, poppies, and, if anyone's ever tried them, pepino melons (yet another nightshade relative).

I'm still learning about gardening in this ridiculously sandy, excessively well-drained soil but so far its seems that I want to put in fairly good-sized transplants that have enough roots and resources to survive a whole day between waterings. Over the past few years I've lost a number of cabbages and brussels sprouts to the fact that they just weren't big enough to reach the moisture below the surface dryness. So I was planning on using the styrofoam cups for most things.

Anyone able to help me with the timing on planting these and offer advice about getting them to the stage where they can survive the transition to the garden?


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I already started some broccoli and today I plan to start some brussel sprouts, cabage, yellow onion, and some bunching onion.

Your in a higher zone than me and we only have like 3 more weeks, per average temps, of where are temps will drop at night below freezing. So in other words for me in my zone I plan to maybe start my tomatoes and other things about the end of february first of march.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Hey Folks - I'm so new that I just found you guys - and its starting to warm up (after really, really cold snap). So this looks like winter entertainment for next year.

My suggestion is not WS, but winter setting out. Last year, I started Tomatos way too early inside and they were getting leggy. I set out 4 grape tomatoes on March 10 in zone 6 and they survived snow and ice storms. I was gardening in containers after a hip surgery. I put 2 tomato plants near the bottom of each container and covered them with bottomless milk jugs. Then I put soil over the milk jug with just the very top and and spout showing. As the plants grew to the top, I would lift the milk jug a little higher and add more soil. When the milk jug was finally taken off over a month later, the soil was spread around the stem for strong roots. These grape tomatoes were the first tomatoes to make it to the farmers market.

I know this defeats the WS idea of sprouting seeds in sync with mother nature, but mother nature would not sprout my tomatoes early! Tomatoes cannot come early enough for me, so cheating with just this one plant seems fair.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

  • Posted by morz8 Z8 Wa coast (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 14, 11 at 19:08

There's no such thing as cheating with a plant :) Whatever works to get you from seed to fruit is just fine, short of growth hormones or totally unnatural chemicals.

Hope your hip is healed and you have a great gardening season!


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Hi everyone,

Just took a peek at the containers I've sown a couple of weeks ago. Some seem a little dry. Frozen, yet dry. Should I water them?

Also, is it too late to wintersow perennials in zone 5?

thanks a million ~ T


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Hi gardenunusual,
This is only my 2nd yr ws'ing, but from what I learned last year, I only pay attention to the containers once things have sprouted. If you don't have sprouts yet I wouldn't worry about whether you think they are dry or not. As long as they are somewhere they are going to get more rain or snow they'll be fine.

Once things are sprouted, as long as you can see condensation in the jugs they are generally fine, no condensation then I water.

Also I think you are still fine with perennials, there may be some that need a more prolonged cold strat. that might not work, but many do not.
cheers, weebay


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

gardenunusual - I'm still WS perennials altho' I tried to get all the ones that need cold stratification done first and am now working on the things that don't need the cold. There will be plenty of nights below freezing between now and April--you should be fine.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Many thanks Weebay and Gardenweed.

It was so neat peering into them today. The hibiscus seed is already expanding and I can see it's working it's magic.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I thought I was beyond the need for hand holding. I've seen things reseed in my yard. I believe whole haertedly in winter sowing. (Thank you, Trudi.) So imagine my chagrin when I walked past my jugs the other day and saw that the tape on the gallon container with my strawberry ice petunias had given way. The jug was open to the elements. Cold air could freely spill inside it and was doing so. Suddenly, I felt my first glimmer of real fear. I so hope those petunias will be okay.


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I've been half tempted the past few days to dig out the containers from the front of the house, and see how they're doing. With at least six inches of snow on them with the sun beating down, they must be insulated and warm inside. Maybe there are some sproutlets....? My nose is bothering me! I keep telling myself, let Mother Nature do her thing....


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

If your containers are still frozen and look dry don't worry. The moisture is just freeze dried and will reappear when it thaws.

I find that I need to watch the moisture before seeds germinate when the temps are warm enough that the mix can dry out. It needs to be moist for the seeds to germinate. For me, that means I need to water if we don't have a wet spring. Out of six springs, last year was the only one that I didn't have to do much watering.

tempusflits, it isn't the cold air that is a concern if the seeds haven't germinated. As long as the seeds weren't blown away, washed away, dried out, or eaten they should be okay when you closed the container again.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Tempus, trust Ma Nature, a few days of a container being open is not a problem. Think of the seeds that are naturally sown--they are not in a container. I WS in patio planters, I've WS in wide open huge containers made from kiddie-pools. I don't cover them and I don't worry about them because they hold a huge amount of soil which retains a huge amount of moisture. If anything, you could check the moisture and dribble some in if needed.

Gardenun, patience is a virtue. No reason to rush in zone five, your ground is still frozen rock hard. Let the snow melt on its own and then look.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

trudi, mnwsgal, big sigh of relief here. Thank you.


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Just wanted to share my little tutorial slideshow for anyone who's curious. I do most of my sowing in cups and have a lot more to put out this season. Luckily I just bought more labels. : )

http://www.flickr.com/photos/28903418@N00/sets/72157623054085036/show/


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Heya all!!! I am new here and I am doing my first winter sow, hopefully I am not starting too late in the year but I just finished all my milk jugs and will be putting them out in the morning but my question is, should I start out with the pink twist on caps on or off of them? I did not poke vetilation holes in the top becasue from what i could tell I should leave it off but I want to be sure ;O)

Thank you everyone!!

Tammy


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Yep, we go topless when we winter sow! I'm a newbie too, but everyone's advice on this forum has given me a little confidence. I found my first sprouts today!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

hehe..... topless ha ;O) Thank you sweetie I really appreciate your help so much!!! Hopefully this grasshopper is able to share some pretty flowers with you in a couple months!!! Do you have a blog liv? Mine is http://prettypinkcherub.blogspot.com/ if anyone is interested!! I am pretty new all together to gardening, I did real gardening for the first time last year when we bought our house!!! I look forward to learning from everyone!!

Thank you again so very much!!!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

pinkcherub - does this help?

See the feverfew jugs at the bottom of pic #2? Here's what the sprouts looked like:


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Hiya hun!! Yes thank you so much, I love to see pictures!! I did put a photo of my milk jugs on my blog "do not see how you upload a picture on here"!! From what I can tell I did it right but we will see in a month or so ;O)

Many BIG hugs!! Looking forward to getting to know you all!!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I'm a first year ws. First many thanks to trudi and bakemom for the free newbie seeds. My DH says he's never seen me so excited to get a package! And thanks to the experienced gardeners for much needed advice and to adamark, cab321, mnwsgal, floodthelast and gardenweed for the fabulous photos. The photos help so much.

I need some hand holding regarding:
I've got little poppy sprouts and a couple of others that are starting to sprout. I"m in Maryland zone 7a. Our last frost is May 1. If we have a hard freeze, will the seedlings be OK in their little mini greenhouses? Or do I need to cover them up with something?

I'm not clear on the uncovering/cover back up of the winter sown seedlings.

Also, gardenweed what kind of marker are you using that is so nice and dark? Your handwriting is so nice you could have your own font (called "Gardenweed"!)


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

ellicottcitycathy - it's a Deco paint pen & thanks for the compliment. I flunked penmanship in fifth grade and have spent the years since attempting to make up for it!

I could tell you not to worry about your sprouts when the freeze comes but you'll worry anyway so go ahead and cover them if it makes you sleep better. Just be sure to uncover them in the morning. They don't need to be covered but I was a newbie last year and I covered mine because I was worried they'd get frost-nipped. They didn't and it wasn't thanks to the old bed sheet I threw over them. They're tough and can handle the frigid temps.

It was the pictures folks posted last year that helped me believe winter sowing would work so I tried to take as many pictures as possible. Now I'm glad I did but wish I'd taken more.

Wow!! My very own font!! Thanks! (;-p)


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I put out my first attempt at WS a couple of weeks ago, only two containers of hardy perennials, so not taking a big risk. However after reading this thread pretty carefully I realized that I should not have used a seed starting mix. Hopefully it wont be a problem.

Yesterday I received some seeds in the mail, plus picked up more in town, so I am planning on getting more out today.

I have a couple of questions - watering - So far the two I have out are frozen solid. Its mostly in the single digits at night and in the 20's during the day. I dont really need to be checking them for water needs at this point do I? We have had lots of snow this year, and I dont shovel the back porch, so I dont realy want to have to go wading out in the snow anymore then necessary. When I put out the containers, I just cracked the door, stuck out my arm and set them down. (It was darn cold that day)

Second question - I have been looking at Trudi's WS web-site (thanks for that !) When I check out the zone 4 listings, there isnt much in the way of dates. In the far left column which is "month germinated", there is either a Y or a N. Can I assume that the Y means yes this can be winter sowed at zone 4? I can't imagine that it could mean anything else but just thought I would check.

Thanks


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

mandolls - if the growing mix was the consistency of a fudge brownie when you sowed the seeds, your containers shouldn't need watering yet since they're still frozen solid like mine. Also, thanks to heavy, drenching spring rains last year I never needed to water any of my containers. Mine are mostly in the shade which helps.

I believe the Y in the germinated column on wintersown.org means the seeds germinated, not that they're hardy to Z4 or can be WS in Z4. I copied that chart down for my own use last year and replaced the Y and N with the actual dates the seeds germinated in my own containers. It has been valuable information for a lot of folks' questions on this forum to be able to look it up and say what date I WS the seeds and what date they germinated in my zone.

Hope that helps!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Also keep in mind that when N is used though it did not germinate in the containers reported to the site it could still germinate in your container. Who knows how many people tried to germinate that seed or the conditions? Your results might be different so if you want something, try it.


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RE: Germination

Also keep in mind that when N is used though it did not germinate in the containers reported to the site it could still germinate in your container. Who knows how many people tried to germinate that seed or the conditions? Your results might be different so if you want something, try it.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Thanks To you both - I will just have to experiment and find out - I guess thats what its all about anyway !


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Hiya all!!! Well it has been 22 days since I started my first winter sow project "listed earlier in this thread" and out of 20 jugs I only have one with green sprouts coming up and that is the Primula. I am wondering if you all think this is a good or bad thing? I was thinking I might see more green by now :O( The weather has been so strange here in Minnesota, all our snow had melted last week but this week we got several inches of it again and it is cold again if this makes any difference. would love to hear what you gals/pals think? Thank you everyone!!! Tammy


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

It is still rather early for sprouts here in MN. Over the years most of my seeds have sprouted in April and early May with only a few in March.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

I've only got lupine & lettuce sprouts so far and they're not even green yet--just white squiggly things visible on the soil surface. Most of my containers sprouted towards the end of March/beginning of April last year with a few holding off until May. Be patient. Give them more time. Mother Nature and the seeds know what they're doing.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Oh THANK YOU SOOOOOOOO MUCH girls!!!!! You made my day!!!! Hugs Hugs!!!! I was feeling a bit blue thinking I must have used bad soil or .. who knows with me ;O) So glad I found this forum, you all are so wonderful!!!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Hi all!

I'm a newbie to winter sowing as well and am super excited about the prospect after learning about it a few weeks back. It was, I think, kind of late starting in the season but I put out 6 jugs anyways to see how it goes.

My question is about sunlight...should I have the jugs in sun or shade or what's a good combo? A couple of hours of sun, 6 hours? Obviously I'm just looking for a ballpark figure, as I have no clue :)

Winter here has been so crazy with some days getting up to around 15C/60F, then later that evening dipping down to -15C/5F so it's all over the place.

Thanks for any advice...I am so excited about this winter sowing thing I stayed up until 3am (way passed my bedtime!) the night I came across this genius method.

Thanks Trudi, your website is so helpful!!


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

WS works in all types of light situations. Most of mine are in half day sun as they are on my back patio which gets east sun in the a.m. and west sun in the p.m. Some people put the containers in more shaded areas. The things to consider are more shade means later germination and slower growth. In full sun both will be faster and containers will need more watching to keep from drying out or from frying the sprouts. Some place them in the sun to germinate then move them to shaded areas to grow a bit. Experiment and see what works for you.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

We'r supposed to get rain tonight and all day tomorrow. I have taken the top half of jugs off perennial seedlings and they are pretty wet already. Should I cover them in the cold rain (40)or just let them drain? So protective of my little seedlings, don't want to lose them now...


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

They're sprouting! I've been checking my containers haphazardly for a while now and noticed a possible sprout here or there. But I was stunned when I looked after not checking for a few days and found containers full of poppy sproutlings. Yay!

I'm over half-way finished prepping the big new bed and have been picking up more seed packets everytime I set foot in a store. I can't wait to see my yard in August.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Bumping this for newbies.


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RE: Welcome Beginners! Hugs and Hand-Holding Here

Greetings fellow dirt lovers. I have the opposite of a green thumb. Orange? Black? Not sure but, I was lucky enough to grow up on Hawaii where the gardens simply grew all around me. I never put a thought into how they got or stayed there.
I moved to the mainland when I was 17 so never had my own garden. Now, as an adult, living in northern California (I think it's zone 9? Not sure...Humboldt County), I have NO idea how to grow anything with gusto. Well, I may have gusto, but, my poor flowers usually only make it a few months at their best.
I am lucky, lucky, lucky enough to have inherited a beautiful garden with the home we bought last summer. Roses in the front walk, Lillys, tulips, daisy's, and....ummm....many others that I have no idea the name of. I have many questions, but, my first begins with::::::WEEDS. When we bought the house, it was pristine, of course. Now, fall has fallen, winter has frozen, and spring has sprung. The lilly's and roses and flowering vines are SO beautiful. And surrounded with weeds. How can I deal with a full acre of this without breaking my back?


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