Indoor winter gardening

mcpeg(5a)January 4, 2011

I'm starting some indoor plants because it's snowing outside. Have seeds from a couple of summers ago of my onions - going to do some of those, some lettuce. All windowsill stuff for now. My major indoor planting starts end-Jan according to the plants. I'm also going to start winter sowing at the end of January. Some things winter sown are a slow start compared to indoors but the winter sown stuff is so much more hardier. I just miss my gardens in the winter. Anything sprouting puts a smile on my face all day.

How about you? Doing anything this winter?

C'mon, let's talk dirty.



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I have the same compulsion, except I fool myself into calling it "germination testing". I do this for home-collected seeds or seeds I've had in storage or failed with last season. Gee, it almost sounds logical, doesn't it? The truth is that I'm just an addict and the winter is soooo long.

Right now I have a castor bean plant at the four-leaf stage-- how will it fit in the sunroom in April? Yesterday I started some purple-leaf millet because I'd never collected that particular seed before, and I wondered if I'd taken them too early.

Last night the DH asked "What's that sweet honey smell" thinking something had spilled. It was the night-blooming Jessamine flowers opening in the sunroom. Big smile.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 10:25AM
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Bev! you have night blooming jessamine that is blooming right now? When did you start it?

I am just sorting through the seeds and making decisions about what to plant. I do have some out in the snow right now but am about to plant some inside that recommend a very early start--rudbeckia 'cherry brandy' (seeds from my garden from plants that I got at the swap) and joe pye weed says that if started early enough it will flower the first year.....hmm wonder if that will actually work.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2011 at 6:50PM
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Lois, I didn't start it. Got it at the swap last year from Rosco, I think. It's about 3' tall-- in October I just dug it up and plunked it into a big pot. Then I took three cuttings which struck very quickly. It has bloomed twice since October. It also bloomed in the garden, in August. The scent is very very strong, and very sweet. Not very subtle. Not everyone likes it.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2011 at 9:59PM
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Bev you make it sound like an easy plant. It might be 'fairly' easy to start from seed and grow, so since I happen to have some seeds that I bought last year but never got around to planting, I am going to plant them. I love the smell of my hoya when it blooms--something that others have described as sweet and sickly :) so this sounds good to me--(which is why I bought the seeds in the first place)

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 8:51AM
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Hi everyone,

Bev I love your 'germination testing' can I use that too?

Greylady don't you just love fingering through all those seed packets? It gives my mood a definite boost. Do you get mad visions of garden beds exploding? I do.

Yesterday I had a fantastic day - decided I wanted to start stuff inside for indoor harvesting by June. And I wanted a window sill garden.

Garlic chives
silver skin onions
tomatoes- tamina, sub-artic plenty, cherry and roma
lettuce - romaine and butter
patio red peppers - small bush type for containers
large onion seeds

I have south facing windows and lots of them. It will be interesting to see how this works. I will be winter sowing soon and then there are some seeds I just grow direct.

Have a wonderful day everyone,

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 9:02AM
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trillium15(z5a Ontario)

Hi all. I have pulled out all my seeds, organized and reorganized...some women like jewellry...I love garden catalogs and ordering seeds. It's an addiction...

I'm doing a round robin and have a half dozen trades on the go right now. Can't find room for what I have already, how will I plant what I am trading? LOL.

I have started 4 seeds of 7 different varieties of Passionflower right now. I figure if it takes up to 3 mos. for them to sprout, why not start early. Our house is heated by wood stove all winter (no furnace) so it's always 20-24C in the basement where my grow lights are set up on timer.

I also got some hanging cherry tomatoes from a trade and 2 of them sprouted yesterday. Tiny toms I think they are. so excited. I'm hoping to have an indoor hanging basket with cherry tomatoes by April...we shall see....

I have set out on the counter to plant tomorrow my hollyhocks and oriental poppies. I find the longer I grow them, the sturdier they will be. I end up with hundreds of plants so I hold an annual plant sale at my mother's place in Oshawa every year...this year will be no exception since I'm starting early.

I go to sleep at night with visions of flats and flats of different varieties of plants...delusions of grandeur my DH calls it. oh well. I tell him i could be out spending $ on worse things than plants and seeds. LOL.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 9:43PM
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Yes! It seems that at this time of year, I am absolutely obssessed with seeds and catalogues and dreaming about what to do with the garden. :)
I end up not getting to sleep because I am thinking about all of the above! Sometimes when I wake up in the morning (or sometimes in the middle of the night :)) it is the first thing that pops into my head--great aha! moments come to me at those times. LOL

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 10:09PM
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OMG I'm a Momma! OMG!!!!

My firstborn - a single romain lettuce. Let's hope I don't kill it!

Cigars? Brandy anyone?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 12:32PM
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congrats!! I hope the little guy is still doing well. :)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 9:16AM
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sheryl_ontario(Muncho Lake, BC z2)

I started some spinach and tomatoes seeds about a week ago, to grow indoors. I have a south window and supplementary lights. I also plan to start some lettuce this week too. I'm getting tired of paying high winter supermarket prices for salad greens and tomatoes!

The spinach is up!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 4:22PM
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I have 2 seed trays growing under lights. I am growing Leeks, globe artichokes, lavender, and wolfberry(Gogi Berry) valerian, alkenat.
My leeks and globe artichokes are sprouting. It's nice to see them sprouting.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 9:51PM
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My babies are coming along. Various tomatoes, onions, lupine starting now, more romaine lettuce. Soaking false indigo seeds, changing water daily until they swell. I've heard they can be erratic so I'm soaking them until they swell enough to plant. When I change the water I use very warm water to help soften the shells.

Been lazy on some things but not this. I have to remember when my babies start to get bigger I need to keep room aside for their later move into larger potting containers (not all but things like tomato) and lupines.

This is exciting!


    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 5:19PM
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Peggy, I grew indigo or tried to grow indigo a few times. But they died young, maybe I should try false indigo.
I have a bit of a dye plant collection in my gardens.Madder woad, and trying weld again this year, to name a few.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 6:20AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Mmmmm, I see I'm not the only one, the germination test I did on the cherry tomatoes I have are ready to be potted up, they'll be on the kitchen windowsill until they get their second leaves and then moved to the greenhouse and potted on until they can go out. They are usually flowering and forming fruit by then.

I'm eyeing my light stand in the basement thinking why are you not chockablock full of things by now. At least I should have lettuce started, my bad. That will be remedied today.

Night Blooming Jasmine scenting the air how wonderful is that. I'm still looking for seed, anyone have any to trade?

Greylady, I'm in the same state as you, only it's about all the new heirloom beans I get to try this year, another three months before I can plant those. Then it's decisions, decisions, decisions, which ones LOL.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 1:57PM
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My Dragon Fruit is plodding along as cactus do.
The germination rate (from a sample in a grocery store)
was astonishing

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 12:49PM
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well how are all the windowsill gardens, and 'germination tests' doing?
I have planted a few things inside and two of them have germinated--my night blooming jessamine has 5 sprouts that are almost an inch tall right now. I think I planted 6 seeds so that is a good germination rate. :)
I also planted some really old seeds for incarvillea cheron and really didn't expect much because of their age, but nothing ventured nothing gained right? They germinated in 15 days. I was pretty surprised and happy about that.
I planted four seeds of a rose of sharon that I got in a trade last year, just to test them out. I also had five fairly old canna seeds that I planted. We will see how they do.
With all the talk of starting lettuce, I am tempted to start a pot of leaf lettuce with that pack of seeds that have been just sitting there calling my name! :)

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 9:43AM
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A timely post, Lois! My germ testing has resulted in a Goldenchain Tree sprout, a Tree Lupin sprout, and a whole bunch of purple millet seedlings (yes my home-collected seeds were all viable).

Got some nice things in Trillium's "roulette swap"--tomorrow I'm going to plant the Passiflora and the Hellebores.

I'm actually managing to cut down on seed orders this year. One to Parks, one to Dianes, and one to an English place called "World Plant Seeds". No T&M this year. No group orders. No Veseys or Stokes or Richters or Select.

How's the baby, McPeg?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 1:33AM
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My babies are doing great!

30 lupines are growing great.

3 types of tomato plants getting put into deeper pots now - I bury the entire stalk when replanting so it grows more roots and gets stronger, more seed varieties to be planted.

3 romaine lettuce from very old seeds, planting fresh seeds next week.

Whole tray of salad lettuce leaves popped up after a week. It's for indoor windowsill. I'll winter sow some too for later.

Onions and chives.

I have some pepper seeds, rosemary and cilantro on my heated tray mat - so I'm waiting to see them start.

Cat grass (aka OATS - oat seed is cheaper) for my fur ball Andy.

Still working on getting my flowers winter sown. And of course I'm still trading seeds (I have to fess up - I'm an addict!)

That's about where I'm at now.

More to report in a week.

Thank you for asking. Wow we've been busy!


    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:31PM
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I don't do a lot of indoor sowing anymore, most is winter sown. What I do have planted now are:
daylilies, about 50; geraniuims, 65; malope; wallflower-never seems to germinate inside for me but i keep trying
leeks and green onions; gazania; coleus; hibiscus
Soon I will be starting petunias, impatiens, tomatoes and peppers.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 9:21AM
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It would be another 4 or so months before you can bring your babies outdoors for planting. So out of curiousity, are you expecting to plant these babies outside? or the members here planning to start new seeds this month.. I know tomatoes can get particularly leggy and weak if planted very early.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 4:54PM
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Hi Ianna,

My indoor tomato plants get repotted when they get leggy - right up to the first set of real leaves. Tomato plants will sprout roots any time you repot them deeper. You can even make more plants from cuttings and start those in a mini greenhouse (can pot up in cup with a ziplock baggie tent and a couple of ventilation holes).

My other indoor starts will get potted up. Some by the clumpful into the middle of a larger pot and left to grow until they are big enough to separate. I have lots of south facing windows.

Other wise I would winter sow most of it and just start what I want for indoor gardening for myself.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 7:25PM
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