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Why so many?

14 years ago

I found this forum a few days ago and I have been reading up on this fascinating way of sowing seeds. It seems to me that this time of year is the time to ws perennials. This maybe a silly question but why do you guys sow perennials every year and why so many?

I thought perennials came back every year. I am not only new to ws but new to gardening also. I always had an interest but never seemed to have the time. I have plenty now, I got laid off about 3 weeks ago and thought this might be a good hobby not to mention since money is tight, growing my own veggies from seed would help a lot.

I did a small garden at my first house,mostly tomatoes and other warm season veg., but I never planted from seed so I am looking forward to giving this a go. It seems like I will have to wait a bit since I want to do mostly veg. I am in zone 6b so from what I read it will be around april to start?

Comments (49)

  • 14 years ago

    Why? Because we can.

    Perennials do come back each year. But that doesn't mean you have to keep them. About every other year I rip out half of my gardens and redo them. WS makes that possible because it's so incredibly cheap to sprout and incredibly amount and incredible variety of plants.

    We WS NOW, you can WS cold season veggies any time, and warm season veggies can wait until winter is just breaking into spring.


  • 14 years ago

    Because I like to stuff my garden with plants.
    Because I like to trade/give away plants.
    Because I am planting for neighbors. Lol

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  • 14 years ago

    pitimpinai - That walkway is to die for! I absolutely love how tall evertything is and how many different things you have in there! I am so jealous of the space you have!

  • 14 years ago

    There are so many plants to try:-)


  • 14 years ago

    if you are planning on growing tomatoes and peppers from seed, plan to dtart them indoors in early March.
    You may also want to start brassicas, brocolli. cabbage, kohl rabi at that time too.
    I understand you can winter sow vegies too.

  • 14 years ago

    so I can have extra plants to take to the plant swap and trade for more plants.


    BTW, there's still lots of grass out there, each blade is a spot for a new plant!!!

  • 14 years ago

    More photos pitimpinai !!! Those are super great! WOW!
    I sow so many, because I want what pitimpinai's got!!!

  • 14 years ago

    I keep at it because I have 5 acres to fill and it takes a while. I also like to go to swap meets and I give away a lot. I plant 14 paper pots in each jug with the same kind of perennial seed, then anything over the 3 or 4 that I want to add to my garden, I give away or trade at swap meets. I keep most of the annuals for my garden, and, of course, most of the veggies, too. But this year there's a veggie swap up in Redmond and I've promised to take some seedlings to give away and trade. I hope to get some newbies interested in wintersowing with my most excellent veggie starts!

  • 14 years ago

    Because I can. It's easy, cheap, and this is only my second year. I have a lot of space to fill since converting my entire backyard into flowerbeds this summer. I hate cutting grass and it seems a waste to me, so I'll be planting almost all my seedlings in the back this year. My perennial bed was filled last year and I expect a lot of returning plants or self sown volunteers.



  • 14 years ago

    pitimpinai , oh my goodness, your pictures are just what I needed on a snow covered winter morning. Absolutely beautiful! I am really looking forward to overstuffing my beds as well. Thanks for the pick me up.

  • 14 years ago

    the pics are great WS'ers

    I have many places to fill so I keep sowing them.

    Also, I like perenials and I can always remove some grass.

    pitimpinai, that combo of Ruds and Monarda is one I want. I am sowing both this year so I can get that look.

    I love your pics Token. Cause I know your yard was pretty bare before you moved in. It is nice to see the change.


  • 14 years ago

    Why? Simple.... Grass is over rated! ;) And I want my garden to look like pitimpinai's and Tokens!

  • 14 years ago


  • 14 years ago

    Wow pretty cool pictures, they would make Adam and eve envious. I gotta get started. My yard looks bare in comparison.

  • 14 years ago

    WOW!!! all of the pics are just wonderful. It is snowing this morning and it gives me hope for spring. I have never WS before and this will be my first year. I move a short time back and have 2+acers to full. You WS's just gave me the boost I needed to show me I can do it and on a small budget at that.

  • 14 years ago

    I enjoyed pitimpinai's and token's photos so much. I've got a back and front walkway. Mine look blah compared to that. Also love token's rocky, curvy paths and arbor there in front.

    My jugs are covered with little tents of snow, think that will be good for them. We got about 2 inches last night but it's not so bitter cold like it was.

  • 14 years ago

    Another reason to sow so many...disregard the spacing distance on those seed packs. Most plants are happy if the soil is well amended and fertile with a smaller root zone. You can really pack the plants in if you amend and give them lots of fertile soil to grow in. I started that bed up there with leaf mulch, which is really just one year old leaves that have been allowed to sit through the winter and a summer. It breaks down into really nice dirt. I mix a little into the native soil every time I plant. There are tons of earthworms doing their business under the soil as well. The number of robins in my yard today tell me there's plenty to eat. ;)

    So sow on! And give them good dirt.

  • 14 years ago

    OMG, what beautiful gardens pitimpanie and token. BTW, what's that white flower to the left of the walkway, piti? It looks a little like Queen Anne's Lace, but more compact. And why don't my Ruds look like that? :) Guess it's time to do some dividing and discarding and get them organized again.

  • 14 years ago

    Pitim.. WOW !! Such beauty !! I can only hope for that one day. This is my first WSing winter and I'm so excited.

    What are those beautiful red flowers in with your Gaillardias (??) and in other pic, with your Stellas?

    And below that pic, what are the blue/purple ones? And the ones that look like Lamb's ear -- are they Lamb's ear? I ask since I was given something this summer that looks similiar (has survived winter) but mine got long skinny stems with flowers.

    bonnie aka brit5467

  • 14 years ago

    Because ...

    Sometimes in my zone perennials DON'T come back.

    I get tired of a particular plant, or it doesn't perform as well as I had hoped, or the color isn't right for where I planted it.

    Because I one can never have too much pesto, or jars of tomato sauce, salsa, pickles, etc.

    I love being able to walk out the door and pick a salad for dinner, or peas, or fresh herbs.

    I love to try new things, and wintersowing is the best way I know of to sow a lot of variety for very little expense.

    ... and because it's addictive. Once you see those first sprouts, you just keep filling more jugs up, even when you don't know where they are going to go.

    Which leads to planting things for neighbors, friends, family, co-workers, plant sales, plant swaps, etc.,


  • 14 years ago

    For me, it's my fun money along with my photography; the latter is far more expensive, and they fit together hand in glove. I love to try plants I never dared to do before, and it was hard the old-fashioned way, turning the soil, getting it fine enough, so much work.

    I started all this as a child the traditional way with my father doing most of the work, of course, but he plant me plant some easy seeds.

    WS is so much less work overall, and you get plants right where you want them. By buying seeds online (and those who are into trading), you can find things you'd spend days looking for locally and never find them. I'm planting things I never even heard of before!

    Why so many? I'm asking myself the same question. I like to keep trying new things I thought I never could grow before and it gives me something to look forward to. Also, I get tired of some or they don't work out as well as I'd hoped. It's all a continual work-in-progress around here.

  • 14 years ago

    Because not all perennials come back every year...they may come back for two years and then die.

    Because you may grow one perennial and not like it, then you can rip it out and replace it.

    Because you may grow tired of the same old garden after a few years and decide to re-plant it. I'm doing that to my front bed this year - it is bare right now.

    Because there are new perennials being developed every year and you may want to try some.

    And most of all because we can!!

  • 14 years ago

    token and pitimpinai your gardens are absolutely beautiful

  • 14 years ago

    piti, token: Thanks for the great photos - they inspire and help us remember that spring and summer are just around the corner. It's time to start or continue winter sowing.

    Anyone notice how much more daylight we are getting? In late December, the sky was dark at 5 pm. It's nearly 6 here, and we still have a little light.

    For the weather junkie, here are the numbers in VA:
    Length Of Visible Light: 11h 17m
    Length of Day: 10h 22m
    Tomorrow will be 1m 59s longer.

  • 14 years ago

    Thanks, everyone. :-)
    Oh, no, gardenluv, mine is one tiny garden, just a fraction of token's beautiful spread. :-D
    My house and garage sit on a 34 x 125 ft. yard leaving me with a tiny garden.

    The flower bed on the right of the walkway in picture #5 is only about 24" wide. :-P

    The white flower is Feverfew. The blue/purple flower in picture #4 is Brodiaea/Tritelia laxa 'Queen Fabiola' or Brodiea corrina. They were planted so long ago, I can't remember which Brodiea it is. It is a North American native.
    Yes, brit, that's Lamb's Ear. I noticed that the colder area it is planted, the larger and fuzzier Lamb's Ears are. I came across it in a garden in Cody, Wyoming. It was so large and fuzzy I could not recognize it at first.

    The red flower is Monarda 'Gardenview Scarlet'. Want some? I pull some out every year, because it spreads very well. Someone asked me how many I planted at each spot. I started out with 3 little shoots.

    The yellow/brown flowere next to Monarda is Rudbeckia hirta. :-)

    This forget-me-not was Winter Sown:

    My very first successful WSown Primula vulgaris:

    And my pride and joy, Prairie Smoke:
    Last year, I grew veggies again after many years of hiatus. Yummm:

  • 14 years ago

    That bowl of veggies is to druel for!

  • 14 years ago

    I was looking through my photos and saw veggies tonight too. I really want a fresh tomato. BAD>

  • 14 years ago

    pitimpinai, those are some great photos. The myosotis doesn't look quite like mine, and I think they're both the Chinese ones. I know you got in real close and the special effects of the raindrops, backlit, they just shimmer.

    Canon 40D. No wonder. And it looks like you have the 100mm macro or might be one of several others. I'm still using the 20D but have stalled about upgrading. I got my gdaughter the 40D for her graduation, and there is a difference. IMO only the 40D is the best of the lot. And I love the bright, larger lcd.

    Anyway, when you said the size of your lot, my jaw about dropped. Mine is 40 X 140, but I have several "issues" that makes it impossible to plant certain places.

    Now I see you are in Chicago. Somehow I got the idea you were in Georgia. So we can grow pretty much the same things. That prairie smoke is marvelous, not familiar with it. I planted some Baptisia Purple Smoke but don't think that is the same thing.

  • 14 years ago

    Darn, someone on the seed exchange was offering rudbeckia hirta and I didn't ask for any. Mine don't have the red in them and that's such a nice highlight.

  • 14 years ago

    "The red flower is Monarda 'Gardenview Scarlet'. Want some? I pull some out every year, because it spreads very well. Someone asked me how many I planted at each spot. I started out with 3 little shoots. "

    Oh yeah I want some... I got 2 spots from you but they did not do so well where I put them. (got a little wilted but I am hopeful they come back)

    Also, is the Prairie Smoke hard to grow? It is so neat looking I am curious. That might be a seed I look for soon.

    Maybe I should just come visit you when you pull stuff out? lol Then I can help and run around and grab all those plants you remove.....hehehe

    Token, I too want a yummy garden grown tomato. I hate the yucky pinkish ones we get now. they are not the same!

  • 14 years ago

    aliska, Thanks. The camera is very heavy. I really bit off more than I can chew. It's a pain to tote around when traveling, unless we drive. I also cannot handle it without a tripod.
    Prairie Smoke is not very tall, only 18" on average.

    Karendee, I'll be happy to see you. Please come over in March or early April. That's the best time to transplant things. It might be fun if you come the same time as Neil. :-)

  • 14 years ago

    pitimpinai, you really take great photos though. Maybe yours would be heavier than mine. If I have a lighter lens on, I don't have a problem yet if I don't have to walk too far with it or too prolonged, always put the strap around my neck so can get some relief. Yesterday I had on a heavy tele lens, and was pointing up a lot, handheld, no way I could have used a tripod or monopod for those shots. My arms got so tired I can still feel it today; sometimes my back gets to hurting. And sometimes I get so caught up with what I'm doing, I don't think about the strain. I have some half hello kitty gloves my gdaughter gave me, and use one on my trigger hand, my fingers was afraid would be frostbitten but were ok, 'spose I could get some knit gloves that would fit in my heavy ones I need. I don't know how much longer I'll be able to keep it up with my tele lenses. Last night I was looking at some new introductions of Nikon, Fuji and Olympus, 30X zoom and HD video, image stabilization, will watch for the review and sample photos on those. I might use something like that for a backup camera.

    My hands are starting to shake a lot, don't know why, maybe aging or a harbinger of something else but don't seem to affect taking photos.

    Do you have a monopod? They're much easier to carry than a tripod (I use my tripod for night shots, and it's heavy). The monopod works with image stabilization turned on and easy to carry, telescopes compactly but wish I had one just a bit taller as I have to stoop over plus can't flip easily into portrait mode.

    Sometimes I get down on my stomach to get the shot I want, but if the subject is too low, it's really hard on my neck to crook it back to be able to see through the viewfinder. My neighbors are used to seeing me do odd things lol.

    I was shocked to see last night that the 40D is more expensive now than when I bought that one almost two years ago, about $1150 then, body only. Now it's $1399 and up body only.

    Oh, I bought the niftiest car window tripod and right adapters for that and my tripod in case I feel like getting out of the car or shooting from the car window, haven't tried it yet, wanted to try it for Christmas lights but didn't this year. It's really sturdy, can do drive by shooting with it, can't drive very far right now, hope to remedy that. It's a Giotto, and I can tell you where I got it if you're interested in something like that.

    I hope you won't give up on the 40D; it's one of the best I've seen yet although my pro friend takes marvelous photos with his Nikon or Fuji dslr.

  • 14 years ago

    I love WSing because it makes it so easy to grow plants from seed. Especially temperate perennials/shrubs/trees that require cold stratification of the seed.

    I love starting plants from seed because I can grow (or at least try growing) any plant from seed my heart desires. If it doesn't work out, try again or try something else.

    I grow a lot of native plants that are difficult to find at nurseries, and growing from seed is the most efficient and economical way to obtain these plants.

    I have 1.25 acres, and will move before I run out of space to plant. Although removing weeds and invasive plants and prepping beds is MUCH more work than growing the plants.

    And last but not least, I am addicted to very enthusiastic about gardening! I could stop if I wanted to...maybe...(not).

  • 14 years ago

    My hands are starting to shake a lot, don't know why, maybe aging or a harbinger of something else but don't seem to affect taking photos.

    aliska, I read somewhere that if your hands shake when you try to use them, and you are over 40, it is most likely essential tremor (or possibly overactive thyroid). If your hands tremble when they are at rest (and not tired), it might be Parkinson's. It could also be a medication side-effect.

    To the OP, WS can be addicting, that's why so many! I did end up with unplanted jugs last year.

    Here is a link that might be useful: medline - tremor

  • 14 years ago

    I'm going to start learning all about WS and it might be a little late to start collecting containers. Didn't understand about toilet paper rolls. If anyone can give me any advice I'd cerainly appreciate it.

    Thanks, Trudi for everything.


  • 14 years ago

    Betty, it is never too late. you can use large ziplock bags if you have to. Also, mcdonalds cups. I used a lot of those last year. (the lids tend to crack in my cold area so I add a baggie on top now)

    aliska12000, if not a medical problem try to take in a deep breath and hold when taking the photo. I learned that trick and it helped me. My body was wobbling when I was trying hard to be still.

    pitimpinai, sounds great! I would love to see you too. I also want to check out those beautiful gaardens in person!!


  • 14 years ago

    ajpa, I started to explain the whole thing but thought better of it. Thanks for the link. The prime suspect is my separate anxiety and depression meds, leave it at that. It's not shaking now, doesn't shake when resting, and mainly my left hand but sometimes a little with my right one. I may or may not say something about it my next appt. I don't have much confidence in doctors any more for any of that, but do for some things, definitely.

    Thanks for the link and caring, could be any of several of those things. I'm waiting to run by one or two of my caregivers to add up all the D in all I'm supposed to take that's in this or that to see if adding cod liver oil would be too much. I don't expect miracles from it, but it might help some.

    If it is some of those things, it will become more apparent soon enough.

  • 14 years ago

    Pitimpinai~~~~~~I am in love with your Prarie Smoke flower. Could you tell me where I can get seeds for it???
    I have enjoyed seeing your gardens, I look forward to them every year!!!!

  • 14 years ago

    Ginger, thanks. I am not sure where you can get Prairie Smoke seeds. I got my first plant from a friend after searching all over for plants. Another trader even sent me a couple babies from France; imagine that! High Country Garden carries plants. I'll see if I can collect some for you this year. I was away last year and missed mine when they ripened.

    Karen, the garden in March will be rather bare. :-P

    aliska, I am still learning to use the camera and lenses. My tripod is pretty light. A car window tripod sounds interesting. I am holding back on spending anymore on my equipment, though. :-D Have been researching graduated neutral density filters.

  • 14 years ago

    pitimpinai, I'm still learning, too; there are many techniques, features and tricks that I haven't tried or mastered. I hear you on the equipment. That car tripod was the last, and that was months or a year ago. Re the filters, the problem is if you have several lenses, you need different sizes. I bought one circular polarizer, tried it one time and hate it. I also bought one graduated neutral density filter and have yet to try it. I should try it on days to get more contrast with the sky . But I bought it primarily to try to get the blurred water effect which requires a tripod - and some flowing water, preferably a waterfall. I don't even know where there is a waterfall around here. I did get lens hoods for all my lenses that didn't come with them, helps protect the lens some and also lens flare since I don't use UV filters.

    I though more about what you said, and if I travelled, I fear the camera would become very heavy indeed, would need a lightweight cart of some kind.

  • 14 years ago

    You can get prairie smoke seeds at Prairie Moon Nursery. They sell it as a plant too. The latin name is Geum triflorum.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Geum triflorum at Prairie Moon

  • 14 years ago

    A long thread, but few people confessed the truth - it is an ADDICTION. Trudi, have you developed a 12 step program yet?

  • 14 years ago

    Darn, I forgot March is not quite spring yet :)
    It will still be fun to see you.

    It is an addiction :) I want to add more and more until I am filled. then I will keep going

  • 14 years ago

    Pitimpinai~~~ Thanks for the reply on the prairie Smoke Flower!! Would it be a good one to winter sow??? No I can't imagine getting a plant from a swap in France!!!

    Thanks dawiff for the nursery info!! Now I can't decide if I should order seeds or plants!! What do you 2 think would be best??? I am thinking both, just love the looks of that plant!!! Thanks!!

  • 14 years ago

    DITTO to all of the above reasons why so many...

    It's an affliction err passion.

    (((HUGS))) to pitimpinai and token for the inspiration photos when it's snowing here...

  • 14 years ago

    It's kinda like rearranging your living room furniture....only better! ;)

  • 14 years ago

    I will start the 12 step program:

    Step one: Admit you have an addiction.....and then go dumpster diving

    Step two: To tear yourself away from sowing, go to the closest store that sells them and buy more seeds just because you can

  • 14 years ago

    :-) We are getting over a foot of snow the next 24 hours. We'll see if it misses us again or not.
    Bring it on! I love snow. :-)

    mulchy, To tell you the truth, WSown Prairie Smoke does best in my garden. All the bare root babies I received from friends died after a season. I sowed all the left over seeds from 2005 - 2006 or I would have offered you some.

  • 14 years ago

    We are getting it now and have already shovelled once, help came along which was nice, then it has started again and falling steadily, kind of quiet and pretty out there if it weren't for all the other.

    Am I fighting addiction, no no no. I'm fighting covetousness. Somebody posts a picture of a plant, and I just gotta have it. Or I see it on a website. Or another forum. Or a catalog. Or a botanical garden (their bougainvillea and a couple other things come to mind).

    Maybe it's ok, that commandment, can't remember which one says do not covet thy neighbor's house (have been guilty of that but not my neighbor's, a particular one that overlooks the river, just that one, not all of them, so I have an out), thy neighbor's wife (no, not an issue, well husband, let's not go there), thy neighbor's goods (oops, guilty of that and 'twould include plants).

    But wait. You people aren't my neighbors much as I might wish it otherwise. But I posted over on perennials on another thread a dwarf Asiatic lily, Crimson Pixie, almost a neighbor has one. Does down the block and across the street count? No, why lie to myself and the world. I've gone overboard on plants and seeds, no question. Then starts the rationalizing, but, but, maybe.

    I wonder if that company has any other seeds I might want, most of it is wildflowers. Anybody know of something else there? They don't have that gorgeous Sanguisorba menzii I saw paired with Patty's Plum Poppy over on the perennials forum, just a white one.