Winter Sowing forum: Wintersowing in Central Texas (8a/8b)

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Name: Larry
Hill Country TX (Zone 8b)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ricelg
Nov 5, 2017 3:07 PM CST
Anyone here with experience wintersowing in this area? I'm going to try it this year and am trying to decide when to do it. Most of what I've seen is folks from more northern climates with snow, etc. I don't want to sow too early, but figured I'd learn from anyone else's practical experience. I hope to try some native perennials, and both cool and warmer season veggies (of course, the warmer ones would be later). My last first frost is estimated at 20 March, so I'm thinking late Jan/early Feb for the perennials & cool veggies but wondering if that's too late?
Name: Bonnie
Chandler, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Bee Lover Butterflies Hummingbirder Xeriscape Birds
Seed Starter Winter Sowing
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droughttolerant
Nov 6, 2017 8:34 AM CST
I am in 9b in Arizona, and our last frost is usually around mid February. I generally wintersow starting in mid-to late December, about 8-10 weeks from last frost. I sow my hardy annuals and perennials first and then a couple of weeks later the tenders. I have better success with survival of the tenders if I set them out into the garden in late February to mid March. Um, probably because they are *tenders*. D'Oh! It's pretty much in the 80s by mid May, so they get a good head start before that happens. I use seedling trays, no lids, with 2 or 4 inch plastic pots and place them in a little metal framed plastic covered greenhouse on the back porch where they get afternoon shade. You can open and shut the plastic cover as needed depending on the coolness of the day. They usually germinate by days 3-5. I like this method because there's no hardening off. I am a disaster at that. Rolling my eyes. They are small when I plant them out but they grow like stink soon after setting out. I also like the jug method because that's just plain fun. I just find that people whose names I won't mention don't seem to stumble over my little greenhouse as much as they do the milk jugs. They know who they are. Grumbling
Since you are just one zone behind me, I would say you could start two weeks after I start, depending on your last frost.
Beware sowing too many plants, it's easy to do.
I won't follow that advice. Sighing! I never do. Just sayin'... Hilarious!
Name: Larry
Hill Country TX (Zone 8b)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ricelg
Nov 6, 2017 6:20 PM CST
Thanks, Bonnie. Good to know that you can do this even in warmer climates than mine!
Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
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Pistil
Nov 6, 2017 9:31 PM CST
Hi Larry- I garden in the same zone as you do, but in Seattle! I also lived in Dallas for years, and so nobody knows better than I that Zone 8 can mean a lot of things. I never did any sowing of any kind there, but here I have tried wintersowing in both Dec and January and even February. Here I have found January to be too late. Like Dallas, we often get our coldest weather in December, then in January there are signs of spring. If we have a warn January and February here, my seeds have missed their requirement for a cold spell. So, I do best here by wintersowing in early December, anytime after Thanksgiving seems fine. Also that is a bit of a"down time" for gardening, it is lovely to have something to do, then in the spring suddenly I have sprouts. One of my first seed swaps we did not get the seeds until late January, it was fine for things I would plant in the spring, just too late for wintersowing. I have never tried any vegetables, just perennial flowers and trees and shrubs that like cold, or can tolerate it. Back when I used to grow vegetables, most of the ones I grew desired warmer conditions to germinate, except peas and some lettuce liked it chilly.
Name: Larry
Hill Country TX (Zone 8b)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ricelg
Nov 6, 2017 10:30 PM CST
Pistil said:Hi Larry- I garden in the same zone as you do, but in Seattle! I also lived in Dallas for years, and so nobody knows better than I that Zone 8 can mean a lot of things. I never did any sowing of any kind there, but here I have tried wintersowing in both Dec and January and even February. Here I have found January to be too late. Like Dallas, we often get our coldest weather in December, then in January there are signs of spring. If we have a warn January and February here, my seeds have missed their requirement for a cold spell. So, I do best here by wintersowing in early December, anytime after Thanksgiving seems fine. Also that is a bit of a"down time" for gardening, it is lovely to have something to do, then in the spring suddenly I have sprouts. One of my first seed swaps we did not get the seeds until late January, it was fine for things I would plant in the spring, just too late for wintersowing. I have never tried any vegetables, just perennial flowers and trees and shrubs that like cold, or can tolerate it. Back when I used to grow vegetables, most of the ones I grew desired warmer conditions to germinate, except peas and some lettuce liked it chilly.


Thanks @Pistil - yeah i was thinking about starting the last week of December...maybe the day after Christmas. I think I will need to take care on my placement and maybe water more than "conventional" winter sowers?

Name: Mary
Lake Stevens, WA (Zone 8a)
Near Seattle
Bookworm Garden Photography Plant and/or Seed Trader Plays in the sandbox Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter
Winter Sowing
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Pistil
Nov 6, 2017 11:16 PM CST
Yes. "Traditional" wintersowers are from a colder climate, and talk about having a "blanket of snow" over their milk jugs. I put mine on the east side of the house, where rain would fall in the open hole at the top. I have never had to water but your sun is a LOT hotter, even in January so you probably should pay attention to that. I made mine so the line where I cut it did not close tightly, and with the lid off it did not seem to get too hot in there. I gradually loosened the top part in spring, and finally remove it altogether as I worry about cooking my seedlings. Again, you will need to keep an eye on that. I also placed my jugs packed close together, then let the grass get long alongside so the sun would not actually hit the bottom half of the jugs, even so, if I put my finger in there it was a little greenhouse!
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Cat Lover Dog Lover Vermiculture Birds Bulbs
Canning and food preservation Butterflies Composter Bromeliad Bookworm Greenhouse
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pod
Jan 16, 2018 10:08 PM CST
Yep, I do but I only start herbs and vegies. I think you are right on your timing. I just started tomatoes and a few herbs this weekend.

Once the plants have germinated, I watch for freezing temperatures and either cover the jugs or move them into shelter.

When it gets too warm, I open the containers during the day and close the upper part of the jug overnite.

So have you started any seeds yet?
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Larry
Hill Country TX (Zone 8b)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ricelg
Jan 16, 2018 10:19 PM CST
Yes, I did 12 jugs right after Christmas. 3 have germinated seedlings - lettuce, arugula and escarole. I moved them inside yesterday before this latest awful weather. The others are natives or other flowers that do require some strat.

Its funny - most of the criticism I got (from other places) was that WS was not needed here because of our "mild" winters. How I wish that was true!

I was too chicken to try tomatoes. It will be interesting to see how my others do.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Cat Lover Dog Lover Vermiculture Birds Bulbs
Canning and food preservation Butterflies Composter Bromeliad Bookworm Greenhouse
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pod
Jan 16, 2018 10:32 PM CST
Sometimes with the tomatoes, they will grow too much and have to be potted up a couple if times before they can be planted out.

For me, I grow lettuce in late fall in a raised bed. It is now under frostcloth. We will be going down to about 12 tonite so we'll see how it does. Normally it is a cool season crop. When it gets warm in the spring it will bolt.

I learned something interesting when I tried to germinate the lettuce seed last fall. It just failed to germinate. After a month I started a second batch and again with limited germination, I just tried to ignore it. Then we had a rain and a cool spell and it sprouted and took off. Even the seeds that had sat in containers for over a month sprouted. Needless to say I have plenty.

Later I read that it won't germinate till cool enough. The article said to fool the seed by refrigeration before planting. I will try that next fall. Never too old to learn here. Whistling
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Larry
Hill Country TX (Zone 8b)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ricelg
Jan 17, 2018 8:19 AM CST
Interesting. Yeah, I pretty much store all my seed in the fridge. I planted several types of lettuce and they all germinated well. I was hoping to have them in the ground by now, but this weather is much too cold for the gardender, much less the plants :)

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