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token28001

Wintersowing a cottage garden.

14 years ago

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

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

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

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

December 15, 2008

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February 12, 2009

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February 26, 2009

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March 2, 2009

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March 29, 2009

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April 10, 2009

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May 24, 2009

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June 12, 2009

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June 21, 2009 - summer solstice.

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July 19, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

Comments (120)

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    They live near Florence, in the sandhills.

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Not my picture, {{gwi:454264}}. They look like garden beans, but only 1" long.

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

    Bonnie aka brit5467

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

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

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

    Bonnie aka brit5467

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Token,

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

    Any advice is appreciated.

    Thx.

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

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

    Bonnie aka brit5467

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

    That is so funny!

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

    Lynda

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hey Brit -

    No denseness implied! :)

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

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

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

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

    Lynda

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Welcome!
    Pam

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

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

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

    BTW, are they a good source to order from?

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

    Bonnie aka brit5467

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Brit -

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

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

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

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

    Lynda

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hey guys,

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

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

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

    Bonnie aka brit5467

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Token,

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

    Bashful

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

    bonnie

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

    Pam

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

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

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

    I appreciate the ideas. I will use them.

    Thanks
    Pam

  • 14 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    bonnie

  • 13 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    bump

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