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skybirdforever

Winter Sowing 2008/2009!

Bonnie, Im going to start this now, and I hope youll pick up on it for me! I have a couple of the people I sent seed to asking questions about winter sowingwhich I recommended for some of the seed, and youre far more experienced than I, and far more qualified to answer their questions, so Im going to steer them this way so you can help them.

Im not going to be able to do any winter sowing this year since Im working and wont be home consistently enough to cover/uncover, and otherwise care for them. But Ill be following the rest of you to see what everyones trying, and Ill be hoping for everyones success.

Happy winter sowing,

Skybird

Comments (96)

  • sister_k
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Wow, thanks for the quick responses, I just went and grabbed my seed packets to check!

    The baby's breath says: Gypsophila g. elegans (botanic) annual, so I suppose I should probably wait on that as suggested

    The moonflower doesn't say if datura or ipomoea -- it just says Burpee's Heirlooms, Moonflower, Giant White but doesn't have any botanical names. Hmm, I guess it does say grow as annual, though, so probably wait on that

    The cosmos I am just dying to have since I saw a picture of them on one of these forums! Oh, well, I held some seeds back so it'll be okay if they don't make it and I have to replant.

    Well, now I realize I also have some more seed packets that I forgot about when I wrote earlier:

    Pyrethrum daisy
    Mesembryanthemum sparkles mix "the livingstone daisy"
    Morning Glory (Shiva and Picotee red)
    Penny Black
    Coleus

    I've got blankets over a bunch of my containers with bulbs in them, and so they can be joined by the milk jugs when it gets too cold for some of the more tender seeds/shoots. Thanks everyone for your help, this is fun!

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I checked the Burpee catalog and the moonflower is an Ipomoea, a night blooming "morning" glory! Theyre pretty tender so Id wait a while to start them and the other morning glories you listed. And, I happened to notice in the Burpee catalog that it says they dont like to be transplanted, so I recommend either waiting a while and sowing them directly into the ground where you want them, or sow them in individual pots (or cups) so you dont need to disturb the roots when you transplant themjust knock them out of the pots and plop them in the ground without messing with the roots!

    I assume your "Pyrethrum daisy" is a painted daisy, and theyre hardy perennials and could definitely be started now.

    Your Mesembryanthemum must be an annual since I dont recognize the name, so I dont know when that one should go in, and I never heard of penny black! What is it???

    The coleus is definitely tender and cant go out yet. When you do sow it, if I remember right, the seeds need light to germinate, so just sow them on the surface of the soil and dont cover them with more soil.

    You dont need to worry at all about covering your containers until the seeds start to germinate, Sis. And even after they germinate, as long as its not actually getting below 32 degrees, and assuming you have "tops" on your containers like Bonnie shows, your things should be ok. If its getting below freezing, cover the containers with the cosmos and probably the Four OClocks, stocks and lobelia, but the parsley, chamomile, and sweet peas can take the cold, and will probably do better if you just leave them fend for themselves.

    Have fun,
    Skybird

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    I'm in Michigan, too. I echo what the others have said. I am a fan of the aluminum pans with clear plastic lids. but I think the milk jugs are probably the most secure and time tested. Here's what I do with my foil pans: I make sure they are at least three inches deep, and that the clear top is about 1 1/2 to 2 inches high at least. I move them to shade as soon at it gets warmer- the aluminum tends to cook the roots if not. I start them in sun until about late February, then I move them to partial shade. Also, remember that foil pans need more venting as it gets warmer- just make the holes bigger. If there's condensation on the inside of the clear top, there's no need to water-- but also remember that condensation can become boiling water. foil pans do need a bit more tneding than milk jugs. I work full time too. I just do my moving around and tending on the weekends and in the early evening. When in doubt, I have learned that more shade is better. I water them thoroughly BEFORE putting in the seeds. It took me three years to fugur out that if I poked the drainiage holes, filled with soil, and then set the container in a roaster pan fullof water it would suck up the exact right amount of water in less than ten minutes. Plus, less messy for my hadns. Then I press the seeds very lightly into the moist soil. When I planted seeds to deep, they did not germinate. they may heve germinated, but they couldn't make it allthe way to the surface. Remember, the rule is no deeper that half the diameter of the seed. In my humble opinion, the freeze/thaw cycle will pull them down farther anyway, so lightly pressing is much better. I had several failures becuase I pressed seeds in too far. My first year, I made deep holes with a pencli, and buried tiny little seeds in them. later, I realized that a deep hole is usually only good for sunflower seeds, and sometimes even too much for that. Also, top watering tended to wash some seeds away or down the sides of the container. Sometimes what I thought was no germination was actually no seeds left. I stuck with perennials all the way through February. Didn't start any annuals till March or later. I had really good luck with these perennials: Black Eyed Susan Gaillardia Evening primrose (not a beautiful plant, but a great confidence booster) Daisies and several other natives. If you email me, I woudl be happy to send you a Bubble envelope full of seeds that have worked well for me here in Michigan.
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  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Charlene, for me, one container of each type of lettuce, or broccoli is enough, but my garden is waaaay smaller than yours. Last year, I sowed 12 broccoli seeds, gave away part of them at the spring swap, planted out 8 of them, and it was too many for my small garden. Those things were space hogs! I'm not sure how long your row is, but I would say you could get a dozen or more plants out of one jug, which if allowed 2' per plant, would plant a 24' row.

    With lettuce, I always tend to oversow. I'm not one of those that lines the seeds up in neat little rows. I'm more of a sprinkle and go kind of sower, so I plant the lettuce out in little clumps or HOS (hunk-of-seedlings). If I took the time to separate all of the tiny sprouts, I could easily get 20 or more plants per milkjug, but I usually plant 4 or 5 clumps and let the sprouts fight it out.

    Hope that helps some,
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  • camontour
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    How can it be March 2 already? I am a long time WS lurker and decided THIS was the year for me to explore Wintersowing. I have all the ingredients, but haven't sowed ANYTHING yet. I swear it was January just last week! :) Too late or can I get in under the wire if I sow this weekend?

    Seeds:
    Cosmos
    Marigold
    Hollyhocks
    Oriental poppies
    California poppies
    ox-eye daisy
    Black-Eyed Susan
    Pansies
    Zinnia
    sweet alyssum
    Foxglove

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Bonnies gonna need to help you with some of these, Camontour, but I can help with some of them. Youre not too late, but Id get the Hollyhocks, Oriental poppies, California poppies, Black-Eyed Susan, Pansies, and Foxglove in SOONand Ill defer to Bonnie on the rest of them.

    But theres one hardy one I didnt put in above! Thats the oxeye daisy. Is that what you really have, or do you just have a shasta daisy? If your seed is for the oxeye, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (a/k/a Leucanthemum vulgare), you might want to reconsider growing it. Its on the Colorado Noxious Weed List! The good news is that its only on the "B List," so youre not "required to eradicate it," but it would probably be good if you didnt start any. If you want a really, really, really good shasta daisy, go with Chrysanthemum maximum Becky. Its far and away the best tall shasta! Large, long lasting flowers on nice strong stems! You should fairly easily be able to find seed for Becky, and plants are available at any good garden center (not the box stores.)

    Have fun with your winter sowing. Bonnies always happy to find another convert!

    Welcome to RMG,
    Skybird

  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hey Skybird, I just recently converted my first "live" person, as in "not online". It was a lady that works in the garden center at the local Walmart.

    Camontour, I'm not sure where in Colorado you are, but I think you have plenty of time for most of the ones on your list. I'd go ahead and WS the ones Skybird listed as soon as possible. Some of the ones on your list are pretty frost tender, such as Cosmos, Marigolds, and Zinnias, so I would hold off on those until April. If you sow them now, they will germinate during the first warm spell, and and then they will need protection from frost.

    On the Alyssum, if that is a perennial Alyssum, sow it now. If it is an annual one, sow it with the other tender stuff.

    I say jump in, the water's fine : )

    Bonnie

  • camontour
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thank you SO much Bonnie and Skybird! Whoosh! I feel better getting some advice from you experts!

  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Your welcome, Camontour! You'll have to report back to let us know how everything turns out.

    I just wintersowed a dozen containers of tomatoes yesterday. The list is posted on the Tomato Lists '09 thread if anyone's interested. I may try to get another batch of hardy annuals out tomorrow. It's starting to get a bit crowded on the porch though : ) Current total = 62 containers.

  • singcharlene
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hello,
    62 containers! Wow! Would you say it takes twice as long for the seed to germinate or even longer? Mine are not in sun at all, well maybe just an hour in the morning on the East side of my house.

    Off Topic: We took an emergency placement Sat. night of two gorgeous baby girls 18 mos. and 2 mos probably temporarily but the other little girl is looking more promising for us :) Talks are in the works today.

    Trying not to blow away in the wind,
    Charlene

  • laura_42
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I know it's late, but I'm going to try WS a few things this weekend. I will be trying:

    Paris Island Cos lettuce
    Red sails lettuce
    Swiss chard
    Bloomsdale spinach
    California poppies
    Swiss giant pansies

    I'm also WS-ing a couple "bookmarks" (the kind where they put wildflower seeds in handmade paper), and an eight year-old packet of Cosmos, just as a wacky experiment.

    Hope this works... If it does, I'll be sure to report! :)

  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Laura, I don't think you're too late on any of those. I saw some of those gift tags with the seeds embedded in them this holiday season. I didn't buy any, but I thought it was a clever idea.

    Charlene, not sure I understood your question. Hope everything is going well with your search for a permanent placement. I admire you for being willing to live with the uncertainty of foster care. That would be very difficult for me.

    Well, I managed to get 16 more containers done today, including the 'Sugar Ann' peas that I got from Meteor04 (Thanks again).

    Snapdragon 'Rembrandt'
    Gazania 'Daybreak Bronze'
    Gazania 'Daybreak Sun'
    Gazania 'Kiss Bronze Star'
    Globe Amaranth, Orange
    Linaria 'Flaming Passion'
    Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy' (can't wait to see this one bloom!)
    Lupine 'Gallery Mix'
    Verbena 'Adonis Mango'
    Asclepias tuberosa
    Gaillardia 'Goblin' (I moved a couple of plants last fall, and not sure if they'll come back)
    Pea, Sugar Ann
    Pea, Sugar Snap
    Pea, Super Sugar Snap
    Beet, Golden Grex
    Swiss Chard, Ruby Red

    That's probably it for me until April, when I start the tender stuff, like Basils, Zinnias, Portulaca, etc.

    Well, that's not counting the peppers, which I plan to start indoors sometime this week.

    Anyone else have germination yet? My total containers = 78, my total germinated so far = 16.

    Bonnie

  • loveseeds
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I usually lurk every couple of months or so just to catch up, but Bonnie's plea to "stop lurking" has convinced me to post. I WS'd last year for the first time with probably about 30 milk containers. I think every single seed I planted came up! I don't have as many containers this year but last year I planted all perennials. After reading through this thread, I'm going to add vegetables this year just as soon as I can get containers together. I was worried about putting all my precious seeds out in the freezing cold last year, so this year I'm planting the other halves of all last years pkgs!

  • singcharlene
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ok, so most of my containers have sprouted and have teeny little seedlings.

    Now what? Let them continue to grow for how long?

    We are leaving this Sat. on a trip in the RV for two weeks! Is that too long to leave them in the containers? My neighbor will keep an eye on them and make sure they don't dry out. They are also in a very shady area.

    When do you move the baby seedlings to containers? I am such a newbie!!!!

    Thanks!
    Charlene

  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Charlene! As long as your containers aren't in full sun, and don't dry out, I'm sure your sprouts will be fine until you get back. We are going to be out of town for a few days next week, while the kids are on spring break, and I'm a bit worried about my sprouts too! The area where my containers are located gets a good bit of sun, so I'm thinking of covering them with a row cover while I'm gone to give them a bit of shade.

    As far as when they are ready to be planted out, I think that is more art than science. Sometimes, I've waited too long, and they resented being transplanted. Sometimes I've planted them out too early, and they were eaten by some type of bug. The first year, something crushed one of the containers, and I had to plant out some Verbascum sprouts while they were still tiny. I thought for sure they wouldn't make it, but by Sept. they were blooming! So you just never know. Usually, when I plant stuff out, it will sit there and appear to be doing nothing for a couple of weeks, but they are busy expanding their root system, and then they just take off.

    I don't plant them up into larger containers, unless that is their permanent home. They go straight from the WS container to the ground.

    Have fun on your trip! Going anywhere exciting? I think we are going to the Black Canyon near Montrose. Never been there, but I hear it's quite pretty.

    Bonnie

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Bonnie, heres a link to the Black Canyon info. If you click on all the different links, you can find out anything and everything about it. Scroll down at this site for some good pics! This early in the year, its gonna be COLD, so be prepared. I was gonna suggest you do the drive over Owl Creek Pass from Ridgway to Cimmaron, but then it dawned on me that it wont be open for months yet! If you head down that way in summer, or especially in fall, I highly recommend it. And you may want to take the drive straight down US550, thru Ouray, over Red Mountain Pass, The Million Dollar Highway, to Silverton. Both Ouray and Silverton are nice little mountain towns, but Im not sure how many of the shops will be open yet. Silverton is where the Durango narrow gauge train ride stopsin summer. It doesnt go that far in winter, so most things in Silverton are probably still closed up too, but the ride over Red Mountain is spectacular at any time of year. I almost forgot! The Ute Indian Museum on the south side of Montrose is small but pretty interestingdont know how interested the kids are in museums! But its also the Montrose Visitors Center where you can pick up info about other things in the area (thats where I found out about Owl Creek Pass!)

    Have fun,
    TravelBird

  • singcharlene
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks Bonnie. I will just water before I leave and have my neighbor check on them.
    We are going to California to see family and spend some time in the desert and on the beach.
    Have fun on your trip!
    Charlene

  • laura_42
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Now I'm up to 10 containers! *cheer*

    {{gwi:1231444}}

    Here's a question, though: As you can see, my WS jugs are fenced in with the garden, where they currently only get 2-3 hours of direct sun. I'm wondering if they need to be moved more into the light, or if I should just let them sit until the planet tilts further south, thus warming them with the rest of the garden? I'm guessing the latter, because our sun is so incredibly intense up here, but thought I'd ask for a second opinion.

    Thanks,

    Laura

  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Sounds perfect to me, Laura! Mine get 6 - 7 hours of sun, and I wish I had a shadier spot for them. I've fried sprouts before, by not venting the containers soon enough in the spring. My husband built a pergola over the patio this past fall, so the containers are getting some dappled shade now, which I hope will give them some protection.

    Bonnie

  • laura_42
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Oooh, a pergola -- how nice of him!

    I'm eager to get my first sprouts, but I also don't want to trick them into growing TOO soon.

    Now I have another concern: I just read that peas don't like their soil overly cold and wet. I hope they don't rot before they germinate. I soaked them overnight, as per tradition, and then gave the continer a super-big drink before planting. They're shelling peas -- "Progress #9". Upon reflection, the potting mix is rather heavy on the peat moss, and now I'm wondering if A) this will keep things too soggy, and B) if it will be too much on the acidic side.

    Guess I'll just have to wait and see...


  • glok
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    My Tidy Tips have sprouted! I was so excited when my grandson and I discovered them this past weekend! I am so ready to start planting! My dh is about to ban me from any stores that carry seeds, roots, and anything else garden related! I bought 2 blueberry root stock, a forsythia, 2 honeysuckle, and more peonies and some hosta to go with my pink and white bleeding hearts and ferns. My garage looks like a plant store! The deer will probably love me! (if anything grows up here!)

    happy sowing,
    glo

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I just thought I'd come post this pic of a couple of the things I winter sowed LAST year. The front one is an Aubrieta, and the back one is a Sweet William--I have several more, but I love them, and I keep hoping they'll attract some hummers to my yard like they did when I lived down near Parker. From the looks of the dark leaves on this one, it should be a nice dark color--hopefully a red. They're just getting started, but I'm expecting big things of them this year. Thanks for telling us all about winter sowing, Bonnie!

    Skybird

  • greenbean08_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I have sprouts!
    I was watering my containers today and found a few Rocky Mountain Penstemon, Dianthus knappii and Liatris sprouts! I think once the cold weather moves along next week, I'm going to take the jugs out of the straw bale "corral" and move them to the porch.

    From Tales of a Transplanted Gardener

    I had them in the "corral" because I didn't want the strong sunshine or few warm days to fake them out. They're a little shaded there and I think the straw bales might help insulate them and keep the temps more stable. I think I'm going to move them out of there soon though. I'd better get busy on the bed prep though...:-)

  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Congratulations on your sprouts, Greenbean! Did they make it through the cold snap okay?

    We were out of town from Thursay through Sunday, and the lows while we were gone ranged from 14 - 25 degrees. I thought about bringing the sprouted containers into the garage, but didn't want them to get used to those warmer temps, so I took a chance and just covered the containers with a 25' row cover, which I folded in half and secured. I haven't checked all of the containers, but lifted one corner just now, to see how the sprouts were doing. Everything looks just like it did before I left, even the tender annuals. The low tonight is supposed to be down to 20, so I'm leaving the cover on one more night. I am so pleased with the results! Moving jugs back and forth is kind of a pain, so I'm glad to have a simpler solution for those springtime cold snaps. It was $12 for the medium weight cover, but there was also a lightweight one for $9. Worth the investment in my opinion.

    Bonnie

  • greenbean08_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I looked at the penstemon jug the other day and I still have a couple sprouts in it, so I think they're ok. If not, there's still a lot of unsprouted seed in those jugs as I only had a tiny number that were sprouted. After this next storm rolls through, I'm thinking I'll move the containers to my front porch (maybe warm weather will come back this time). On the porch, they'll get strong west sun, a little south sun and may warm up faster. Of course, now that I think about that a little, they may get colder faster without the ground to insulate them. I may need to re-think the location a little. Anyway, I plan to move them to a sunnier spot soon.

    I also started some more jugs that I put onto the front porch at the beginning of the cold weather last week and I added a couple more today. I started some herbs, annuals & perennials for companion planting and also some mesclun, lettuce, spinach, onions & broccoli.

    I'm hoping to have a little nice weather soon, I want to put in a couple apple trees. I want to get a head start on digging the planting holes in case the ground is as hard there as where I put the lilacs. I think it will be better, especially after getting some snow, but I want to be ready before I bring the trees home (which I'd like to do this weekend).

  • laura_42
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    No sprouts here, although the snow finally melted off the the jugs.

    {{gwi:1231447}}

    I have another question. It it OK to water from the top instead of the bottom? The winds have been so strong and drying up here that I added some water though the openings at the top of the jugs -- and now I have a bit of a depression in the middle of some of the container's soil. Hope the seeds weren't too disturbed...

  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Laura! I water from the bottom once I have sprouts, but before the container germinates, I use the mist setting on the hose sprayer when the top of the soil dries out.

    Our forecast is calling for a couple more inches of snow tonight and tomorrow, so I guess I'll leave that row cover on for a couple more days.

    Bonnie

  • laura_42
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Well, I checked my containers late this afternoon and guess what I saw coming up? All my lettuce sprouts! *cheer* I now have Paris Cos, Buttercrunch, mesculin mix and salad blend mix all peeking white hypocotyls up out of the soil.

    Thanks for the tips, Bonnie. Since I don't have a row cover yet, I'll find something else to put over the jugs in case the temps drop too drastically overnight. Hope it works...

  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Laura, you could use an old sheet, or blanket, or curtain sheers, even old towels.

    Well, I actually planted out my first couple of jugs yesterday. They were annual poppies.

    I put the top half of a water bottle over them, since we have snow in the forecast. Last year, all of my poppies died after transplant, so I wanted to get them in the ground earlier this year. Just hope I didn't do it too early.

    Anyone else planted out yet? Once this snow storm moves through, I plan to get the lettuces, spinach, and chard planted out, and just use a row cover if it gets below freezing at night.

    Bonnie

  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Well, today's Wednesday, and the poppies are all still alive. I've even taken the caps off of them now. Lettuces got planted out yesterday, and seemed fine today, even though it got down to 30 last night. Feeling brave after all of that success, I planted out two kinds of wallflowers today. They have caps on them though, since we are having 45 mph wind gusts, and a chance of snow tonight.

    Out of 95 containers planted so far, I have germination in 57. That doesn't count the one tomato sprout I had, which sadly, did not make it throught the last cold snap. (sound of trumpet playing taps). Okay, enough grieving, I already resowed it, LOL!

    What I have left to WS - basils, marigolds, zinnias, and sunflowers. I should pass the 100 mark this year.

    So how many containers have you guys sown? How many germinated so far? Anyone else started planting out? No one has checked in for a while now. I'm hoping everyone is having a successful wintersowing experience.

    Bonnie

  • greenbean08_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Mine were frozen solid again the other day when I moved them to the front porch. The few sprouts I had are still there though.

  • camontour
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi -- I am a newbie and sowed 21 milk jugs the first week of March:

    Sprouts:
    Hollyhock
    Rudbeckia
    Foxglove
    Panises
    Poppies
    Bachelor Buttons
    Delphinium
    Moulin Rouge Sunflowers
    Alyssum

    Still waiting:
    Columbine
    Northern Sea Oats

    Do you all usually wait for true leaves to plant out? Is there a danger in waiting too long after true leaf stage?

    This week I will sow
    Zinnia
    Marigold
    Cosmos

    Thanks for the great post!
    Christy

  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Christy!

    Congratulations on all of your sprouts!

    I usually wait until the first true leaves, but I know some people don't even wait that long. Then again, there are folks that still have sprouts in their wintersown containers in the fall! The problem that I have had with waiting too long to plant out, is that the sun is so intense here that the sprouts can't handle the heat stress. My strategy this year, is to plant out as early as possible, then provide frost protection if necessary. Today, I planted out the peas, broccoli, and spinach, but if I need to I'll put the floating row cover over everything.

    The lettuce is looking a bit beat up after the 45 mph winds yesterday.

    Oh, the sunflowers are not frost tolerant, so they will need extra protection until after the last frost date. The poppies, alyssum, pansies, delphinium, and probably the rudbeckia could be planted out now. The others I haven't grown, and am not sure about. I'll be sowing my zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers, and basil in the next week or two.

    Bonnie

  • mayberrygardener
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Another first-year wintersower checking in here!

    I have read this thread a couple of times, and I'm glad it has been revived. Regarding the earlier questions (from February, no less!) about if it's too late to wintersow, and bearing in mind that I "discovered" Trudi's wintersowing site probably late April 2008 and so didn't WS anything last year, my thought process was this:

    In the intense sun of Colorado, and the well-known warm spells that frequent February and March around here, followed by the infamous spring storms, I waited until March's first big storm, which just so happened to be late March. I can just picture it, should I choose to sow at the Solstice, as many do: the jugs sprouting in February, after having been through a couple of good freezes in late December and January, and then everything dying off later when the temps hit 10 degrees in April. I'm not one to run out in a blizzard and cover everything, nor do I sweat lugging jugs back and forth (hey, I work for a living; besides, I'm lazy!). So, my plan was to wait, and I think I did OK in doing so. We DID get big storms, and big snows (in fact, that first biggie was when I sowed my first batch, and Hubby thought I was NUTS for throwing them out on the porch in a white-out!), and WAY cold temps after that, and I am pretty sure that I would have lost anything that had sprouted at that point had I sown earlier.

    So far, I can report what I consider success: We have only had a couple nights of NOT freezing since the last of the serious cold, and only my alyssums have sprouted (without ONE night of not-freezing temps!?! Hardy!?!), so no "lug-the-jug" dances going on at my house. My containers are on a south-facing garage wall, which is dappled by the ash tree branches, then full sun for 2-3 hours, then shade pretty much by 2:00 for the rest of the day (the house is west of this, so it's technically an "eastern with south" exposure. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!). I did stick my hand into one of the larger jugs about 12:15 to feel the air temp, and it's pretty toasty in there--not enough to cook sprouts, but it likely would be if they had full sun for the rest of the afternoon.

    I figure this is pretty ideal for these babies: in Colorado, with the intense sun, and lots of it, as well as freakish warm then cold spells, it's probably good to sow a little later (those of you with experience, feel free to put this newbie in her place! However, I have a scientific mind, and tend to "think" of what makes sense. A natural for wintersowing, no?), and subject them to cool nights with a period of intense heat. There's a bit of tongue-in-cheek to that thought for anyone who knows that old Colorado saying about waiting 5 minutes for the weather to change, but the hot days and chilly nights are pretty much why I can't seem to grow okra here!

    Any other thoughts on crazy weather-patterns and sun-warmed containers causing a earlier-than-desired sprouts? Is my hypothesis going to result in less-hardy eventual plants? I am hoping to see some more sprouts now, since we're due for at least a week of above-freezing temps, so I hope to report that I have more babies soon. Lot's sown: tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, radishes, carrots, let's see... Oh yeah, did I mention tomatoes? I can't stop myself in that department! Tomatillos, goji, pansies, petunias...

  • laura_42
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Bonnie wrote:

    "So how many containers have you guys sown? How many germinated so far? Anyone else started planting out? No one has checked in for a while now. I'm hoping everyone is having a successful wintersowing experience."

    WS Status Report
    Date: 4-10-09
    Location: Fort Collins, CO

    -- 10 milk jugs

    -- 8 germinated so far.

    -- No planting out yet.


    I'm beginning to wonder about the peas, though. Shouldn't they be coming up by now?

  • dafygardennut
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm so far behind it's ridiculous. I've only managed to get three types of beans sown in the 6 packs covered with a baggie (with vents) and only have one scarlet runner bean that isn't quite sure it wants to completely sprout. It's little head is still tucked, barely peeking out of the soil. I am still planning on getting tomatoes, peppers and eggplant started; hopefully soon, but i think I said that last time :-).

  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Laura, how long ago did you sow the peas? Mine took about three weeks this time. Last year, they were up in 10 days, but I sowed them later, so they came up quicker. You've got an 80% success rate, not too shabby!!!

    Mayberry, I think sowing later to avoid babysitting sprouts is a good idea, if you are sowing mostly annuals. There are some perennials that actually need several weeks of cold to germinate. The other issue is that the sprouts won't be very large by the time the heat sets in here, so they will have to establish their roots in a stressful environment. Sprouts planted out early will already be established and better able to handle the heat. So the way I see it, you're either going to cover the wintersown containers with a row cover, or old blanket, during cold snaps if you sow early, OR your going to have to provide some kind of shade, a lawn chair, or upside down crate, for the sprouts after you plant them out if you sow later. Does that make sense?

    Dafy, great to hear from you!!! Are you starting the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant outside or inside?

    Gotta run! The town's having it's annual Easter Egg Hunt this morning.

    Bonnie

  • dafygardennut
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I have no time to babysit seedlings inside so it will be outside in cups with bags again. The tomatoes and peppers loved it last year so we'll try it again.

  • loveseeds
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Does anyone know where to find seeds for SugarHat lettuce? I got some of this lettuce from a CSA, but I can't find seeds anywhere. When I search on it, I get hits from several CSAs but no seed companies. I loved the lettuce.

  • laura_42
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Bonnie -- Make that a 90 percent success rate! I planted the peas March 18th, and they just came up today. *cheer* Now everything I planted has sprouted except for the pansies...

    Dafy -- I'd like to hear more about this cup/bag technique of yours.

    loveseeds -- Have you tried looking for it under the name "Sugarloaf" or "Zuccerhat"? I think they might be the same variety:

    http://www.dkimages.com/discover/DKIMAGES/Discover/Home/Gardening/Kitchen-Garden/Vegetables/Vegetable-Groups/Leaf-and-Salad/Chicory/Plants/Plants-2.html

    http://www.kingsseeds.co.nz/shop/Vegetables/Vegetable+Groups/Salad+&+Leaf+Crops/Chicory+&+Endive/Chicory+Sugarloaf.html

  • greenbean08_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Laura,
    You're giving me hope still. Mine are being slow, and now it's supposed to snow again this weekend. Maybe it will rain, but they were saying snow above 7000' and we're right about 7000'...

    I did see the beginnings of a broccoli sprout tonight.

  • dafygardennut
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Laura, it's easy. Just a plastic cup with holes poked in the bottom, a ziplock inverted over the top with the corners cut off and a V cut in the middle, and a chopstick to keep the bag propped up. As you can see I wrote the name of what was planted and when it was sown. Just make sure not to completely enclose the cup; you need to leave the bottom open.

    After planting out, I just stack them back up in the garage and reuse next year.

    Jen

  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Just be sure the name is on the cup too, like Jen did, and not just the plastic bag, so that when you take the bag off, you'll still know what you have, LOL!

    Well, I believe I am done sowing for the most part. I actually ran out of my seed germinating mix, so there are 3 or 4 odds and ends that I'll have to sow when I pick up some more dirt.

    New count:
    107 sown
    61 germinated
    15 planted out

    25 of those were sown in the last two weeks though, so I'm sure my germination percent will improve shortly. I've got quite a few things that are just about ready to plant out. I'm just waiting on this next little storm to pass.

    Happy gardening!
    Bonnie

  • laura_42
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Well, now I've got all ten jugs sprouting -- 100%!

    {{gwi:1231455}}

    Now that I know it works so well, I wish I'd done more. :)

    (Is it too late to try nasturtiums, marigolds, or tomatoes? I noticed that Jen's cup n' ziploc tomatoes were planted back in March....)

  • highalttransplant
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Laura, now is the perfect time to sow nasturtiums and marigolds, since they are not frost tolerant. They need to be sown pretty close to the last frost date, otherwise they will need extra protection every time the low drops below freezing. Only one of my wintersown tomatoes has sprouted so far, so I don't think you are too late on those either, but I would do them as soon as possible.

    Well, I'm having to resow a couple of things. The forecast called for a low of 34 the other night, so I didn't cover my newly planted sprouts, and it got to 32 with a light frost. I lost some English wallflower and dianthus. I also lost a few pea sprouts and a couple of broccoli sprouts, but I don't think it was the frost. They weren't looking good from the beginning, not sure what I did wrong there, maybe killed them with kindness by watering too much? Anyway, those have been resown, the dianthus I'll sow tomorrow, but unfortunately I don't have anymore of the English wallflower seeds, so I'll just have to find something else for those spots.

    So what are those cute little sprouts in the picture?

    Bonnie

  • greenbean08_gw
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I have some lettuce and broccoli sprouts now. I'm going to put out a few more containers this week. Home Depot has seeds buy one get one free right now, and I couldn't help it, I bought just a few more things...

    Most of my containers haven't sprouted yet. They're going to be moved to a more south facing location soon I think. The weather this week should help I think.

  • laura_42
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Bonnie -- the sprouts in the photo are either Paris Island cos or Buttercrunch lettuce (didn't check the label on the bottom, and they looked the same at this point.)

    It was so warm up here today that I actually moved my jugs to the shade! As soon as I get some wire to make extra hoops, I'm going to plant out and protect 'em with floating row cover...

  • dafygardennut
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Reporting in after 2 weeks the peas (Alaska & Snow Peas) have all sprouted, but no signs of anything else yet. I've got scallop squash, eggplant 4 variety, wisconsin tomatoes, sweet peppers and more beans.

    Where is everyone else at?

  • sister_k
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Okay, I have one or more WS sprouts of the following (see list below). I think there are 75 things, so you don't have to count! Some of them I only have one lonely sprout, but some are more plentiful. I definitely lost a few sprouts along the way and re-sowed a few (lost night stocks, a morning glory, some parsley, beets, lettuce, etc.) I'll be bringing a few things to the Spring Swap (need to figure out which this weekend & will post then on that forum). I don't know if any of these are going to survive the transfer to my containers and to planting my friend's yard, but it's still pretty exciting to know it works so well!

    I used the following types of containers for my winter sowing:

    Seed flats with clear domed lid
    Dixie cups in lasagna pans with clear lids
    Milk jugs
    Cat litter jugs
    Clear plastic cosmetic jugs
    Jiffy peat pots

    Maybe I'll get around to post a picture or two this weekend. I went a little overboard since I don't even have a yard (of my own) to plant in! I think it will be so funny when I have one carrot, one beet, one squash one hollyhock, one daisy -- it's not exactly a huge crop of any one thing since I wanted to try lots of different things! Oh well, I'll learn from many mistakes this summer, I'm sure! Okay, here are the sprouts (it looks like so many when listed out, but doesn't seem like much out on the balcony...)

    Alyssum (Sweet, Rosie ODay, Lobularia maritima)
    Aster
    Babys Breath
    Basil (Fineleaf Dwarf Bush)
    Basil (Fino Verde)
    Basil (Genovese Italian)
    Basil (Lemon)
    Basil (Sweet)
    Beet (Detroit Dark Red)
    Beet (Early Wonder)
    Black Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata, Spanish Eyes Blend)
    Cantaloupe
    Carrot (Long Imperator #58)
    Cat Grass
    Chamomile (German)
    Chamomile (Roman - Chamaemelum nobile)
    Chives
    Chives (Garlic)
    Cilantro
    Coleus (Rainbow Blend)
    Cosmos (Candy Stripe)
    Cosmos (Dwarf Sensation Mix)
    Cosmos (Dwarf White - Little Princess)
    Cosmos (Sensation Mix)
    Cosmos (Sonata Dwarf)
    Daisy (Mesembryanthemum sparkles mix "the livingstone daisy")
    Daisy (Painted Daisy, Pyrethrum)
    Dianthus (Ipswich Pinks)
    Dianthus (Microchip Mix)
    Farewell to Spring
    Feverfew (from Bakemom in Ohio!)
    Feverfew (Tanacetum (Chrysanthemum) parthenium)
    Forget Me Nots
    Hollyhock (Mix)
    Lavender (Munstead)
    Lavender (Vera)
    Lettuce (Bibb)
    Lettuce (Black Seeded Simpson)
    Lettuce (Buttercrunch)
    Lettuce (Cook's Blend)
    Lobelia (Cascade Mix, Trailing)
    Marigold (Giant)
    Marigold (Snowball Hybrid)
    Marjoram
    Mesclun (Sweet Salad Mix)
    Nasturtium (Glorious Gleem, semi-trailing)
    Nicotiana Alata (Tobacco Jasmine)
    Pansy (Blueberty Sundae Mix)
    Pansy (Springtime Mix)
    Pansy (Trimardeau Mix)
    Parsley (Curly leaf)
    Parsley (Flat leaf italian)
    Parsnips
    Penny Black
    Pepper (Jalapeno M)
    Petunia (Tidal Wave Hybrid Mix)
    Phlox (Night Phlox - Zaluzianskya)
    Poppy (California, White Linen)
    Poppy (Shirley, Falling in Love)
    Portulaca
    Rosemary (French)
    Sage
    Sorrel
    Squash (Straightneck Early Yellow)
    Stock (Night-scented)
    Sweet Pea (Old Spice)
    Sweet Pea (Wedding Blush Mix)
    Sweet William (Double Mix)
    Sweet William (Wee Willie Mix)
    Thyme
    Tomato (Endless Summer)
    Tomato (Fourth of July Hybrid)
    Tomato (Roma)
    Tomato (Yellow Plum)
    Zinnia

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    LOL!

    Hooked!

    Skybird

  • austinnhanasmom
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    FINALLY finished my WS project for 2009.

    I sloppy sowed 400 varieties of flowers.

    Now they need to sprout so I can plunk and run:))

    And then wonder - what is that? Is that a weed?

    The BEST part - DH said I can keep my jugs!!! Yipee!!

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