Time to Winter Sow Your Seeds: Nice article Lynn

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Time to Winter Sow Your Seeds

By valleylynn
January 13, 2012

Have you tried winter sowing vegetable and ornamental plant seeds? If not, give it a try this winter. Many seeds, including tomato seeds and your favorite perennial seeds, do unbelievably well using this method.

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Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Jan 13, 2012 6:46 AM CST
Great job on both explanation and pictures to clarify the method. Thumbs up

This is my 7th year to wintersow, and I have filled my garden beds with wintersown flowers in that time. Though I'm not much of a veggie grower, I do wintersow some tomatoes each year, too. Growing from seeds not only saves money, it opens up a whole new world of plants to us that are unavailable at local garden centers. While I still start a few select heat-loving plants inside under lights, the vast majority of plants in my yard have been wintersown.

Like most people I too was a skeptic when I came upon this method on another garden website. I was encouraged by folks there, including Trudi Davidoff, and coached along. I was amazed at the results, and I continue to be thrilled when those seeds *pop* in spring. Those seeds that sprout and grow so naturally are so much more rewarding than those that I coax inside with fluorescent lights, heat mats, and tlc.

Karen
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 13, 2012 9:09 AM CST
Hurray! Karen, you were were one of the people that practically held my hand through my first time of winter sowing. I so appreciate all the help and encouragement you gave me. I remember fretting over my jugs sitting out in the freezing weather, covered in snow at time and other times just plain, cold rain. I kept thinking there is now way this is going to work.
Wish you could have seen the look on my face when I peaked through the pour spout of a jug a saw little seeds coming to life. Lovey dubby
This is only my third year, but I no longer worry and fret over my winter sow jugs sitting out in winter weather.
I'll be planting mine in about another week or two.

Can you give us a link to Trudi's site?
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Jan 13, 2012 9:30 AM CST
Trudi's wintersowing site is
http://wintersown.org/

I think we're all doubtful at first, Lynn. But confidence comes fast with that first year of success. People use all types of recycled containers to wintersow, but gallon milk jugs remain my favorite. Sometimes I use some half gallon ones, or 2 liter pop bottles, but mostly gallon milk jugs.

Thumb of 2012-01-13/kqcrna/163630

Karen
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 13, 2012 9:43 AM CST
What a wonderful site, all those seeds, all snug in their winter beds. Lovey dubby

Thank you for the link. : )
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Jan 13, 2012 10:18 AM CST
Terrific article, Lynn!

It is close to the time when I will begin winter-sowing! It is really sow easy!! LOL and you don't have to worry about soil mildew or problems with seeds damping off, which too often occurs when starting seeds indoors!!

May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Jan 13, 2012 11:28 AM CST
That helps! Thanks Lynn. Now to find jugs, have to call family to save.
Sempervivum for Sale
Surprisingly GREEN Pittsburgh (Zone 6a)
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crittergarden
Jan 13, 2012 12:03 PM CST
Yes, you really did a nice job and provided good pictures!
I'm trying this for the first time this year - haven't set them out yet, but HAVE gathered up some jugs.

Yesterday, I was washing some store bought grape tomatoes and wondered if the perforated clam shell container they came in would be too shallow. It has a solid top, a solid bottom, with perforations around the perimeter on top and bottom. It's only about 4" tall and 6" square. Too short?
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
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Onewish1
Jan 13, 2012 12:19 PM CST
good job girl!!!.. always good to have a refresher!!
Name: Karen
Cincinnati, Oh (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cut Flowers Winter Sowing Charter ATP Member Seed Starter
Echinacea Plant and/or Seed Trader Region: Ohio Region: United States of America Butterflies Hummingbirder
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kqcrna
Jan 13, 2012 12:27 PM CST
crittergarden, I tried those containers but didn't like them much. They are pretty shallow and allow no head room for seedlings. Also, all those perforations all over the place cause them to dry out a lot. Some people do use them, but I don't any more.

Karen
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
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SongofJoy
Jan 13, 2012 12:30 PM CST
Nice tutorial, Lynn. Thumbs up
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
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goldfinch4
Jan 13, 2012 4:18 PM CST
OK, you've talked me into trying it. I have a bunch of milk jugs, now just have to decide what to plant!! Hurray!
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 13, 2012 9:11 PM CST
crittergarden said:
Yesterday, I was washing some store bought grape tomatoes and wondered if the perforated clam shell container they came in would be too shallow. It has a solid top, a solid bottom, with perforations around the perimeter on top and bottom. It's only about 4" tall and 6" square. Too short?

I agree I agree with Karen about the size of clam shells being to shallow.

It will be so much fun to see what each of us ends up winter sowing. I will take photos of my WS jugs as soon as I get them planted.

Chris, I'm going to try some of the Sempervivum and heuffelii seeds I harvest this last fall. It will be fun to see what I get from them. Wonder if the two cross pollinated?

Tee, have you ever tried winter sowing?

What are you sowing Allison?
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Jan 13, 2012 9:16 PM CST
I have lots of zinnias (thanks Karen).. trying to decide if I am going to start my four o'clocks inside or out .. nasturtium.. think I have some canna seeds.. oooohhhh quite a few that I can't think of right now ... but I have tons of old seed packs might just throw whatever out there and see what they do.. if anything.. time to thin the overload up this year.. but I have a gallon ziplock 1/2 full of stuff to WS.. not even sure how old some are.. but they are going out *Blush*
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 13, 2012 9:21 PM CST
Hurray! Fun, exciting and oh so much to look forward to Allison, love your list. Thumbs up

I will definitely be doing the Zinnias and Nasturtiums. I love to plant plenty of the nasturtiums so I can have them for salads and sandwiches. I love their peppery taste. Makes my mouth water just thinking about them.
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Jan 13, 2012 9:28 PM CST
I am going to try growing the nasties in the ground.. I have not had luck in containers.. think I water more than they like.. should have direct sowed them.. oh well too late.. but I have to get out my Penstemon virgatus Blue Buckle right away.. not sure if they are a three month cold or not
Name: Allison
NJ (Zone 6a)
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hummingbirder Region: New Jersey Dog Lover
Seed Starter Container Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Onewish1
Jan 13, 2012 9:34 PM CST
the one site I looked at said at least 30 days.. all good
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Jan 13, 2012 10:55 PM CST
Sounds like your good to go on that one. Do you have a photo of Penstemon virgatus Blue Buckle?

I've done the nasturtiums before and they did well with winter sowing.
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
Jan 14, 2012 2:24 AM CST
Lynn, will be fun to see what your Sempervivum and heuffelii will look like!
Cubits Store: The Sempervivum Patch - plants, containers, accessories!
Also stop by Timber Treasures and Garden Buddies on Cubits
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
Cherish today
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Cat Lover Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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SongofJoy
Jan 14, 2012 2:45 AM CST
Mostly cold frame sowing, Lynn, but much the same principle. Have to watch the moisture a bit closer with that, I suspect. People where I hail from also use their basement window wells for the same type of thing. Cover them with plastic sheeting during the winter. It's like a mini-greenhouse. If things there need water, they can be accessed from inside the basement.


Thumb of 2012-01-14/SongofJoy/8d6615
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched -- they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
Image
valleylynn
Jan 14, 2012 5:44 AM CST
Yes, cold frames would be another great way to start seeds. : )

What I like about the milk jugs is not having to monitor them for moisture content. At least not until the warmer weather arrives and there are isn't any rain to keep them watered. Usually by then they are ready to plant out anyway. If there is still danger of frost I use the top half of the jug to cover the individual plants (kind of like a miniature green house. You just have to remember to remove them if the weather gets to hot during the day.

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