Winter Sowing

tammymn(Z4MN)March 31, 2006

I have about 250 containers winter sowed. I went outside today after work and I have my first sprouts. My Pygmy blue Dianthus are all sprouting.

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Congratuations on your Baby Sprouts!

I have over 200 containers too, but haven't started my daily checking yet, but sounds like I may need to. Last year being my first year I was checking constantly, and I'm talking way before I had any sprouts.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 7:05AM
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I would love to see some pictures of your setups (hint, hint)...

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 7:36AM
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cheri_mn_524(zone4 -MN)

Hi Tammy
still nothing, I think I am going to move all mine to the south side of house. Its a little hot on that side but I might take the chance.maybe put thm under some trees for some shade.
Watch out in the sun when it's sunny you don't want them to burn, now that its getting warmer see if your hubby will help you set up a little shade screen like just a piece of clear plastic on some poles. where the sun beats down on them the most..

    Bookmark   April 5, 2006 at 9:14AM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Yesterday I found I had little ice sheets over mine from the previous rain. I think it'll be a while yet.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2006 at 3:13PM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

One container that is all, I am impatient.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2006 at 4:19PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

I moved some containers from the north side of the house to where they will get a short blast of sun in hopes to speed things along- and even some of those north-siders were sprouting! It is fun to see!
I agree with Cheri- a plastic barrier will help!
I made a make shift clear plastic barrier along the west side of my "garage" last year to protect the seedlings after they decided to grow and show true leaves. That's when their tops had to come off- It helped to keep drying winds- light frosts, and heavy downpours at bay, while still allowing a fair amount light and air circulation.
This year- my husband has agreed to put up 2 temporary shelves the length of the garage so that I may have 3 times the room for protected young-uns!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 9:15AM
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Hello Everyone

Well I have been working to well past dark all week, so I hadn't checked in on my containers all week. What a surprise I had this am!! Sprouts are just a poppin - Some have only a few sprouts while some containers are peppered.
African Daisy
Jacobs Ladder - blue
Jacobs Ladder - yellow
Malva - 4 different containers, 4 types
Sun Flower - Velvet Queen
Sun Flower - Max
Liatris - purple
Liatris - white
Hollyhock - 4-5 containers, different types
Salvia - Blue Bedder
Mallow - 2 containers, a pink and a unknown
Verbascum - white
Maltese Cross - Red
Tall Cream Hyssop
Rudbeckia - Indian Summer
Rudbeckia - Summer Sun (Nitida)
Rudbeckia - Glorisia Daisy (sp?)
Cosmos - 2 containers, 2 colors
Bachelor Buttons - mix
Columbine - yellow
Wallflower - purple
Siberian Iris (a surpise for me)
Red Sunflower
Centaura - lemon fluff
Yarrow - pink
Coreopsis - little yellow (got mother plants from Julie)

Leaveswave- Below is a pic of part of my setup - these are the ones on the patio. I have about 1/2 again as many on the deck, south side of the house. A few sprout pics too! Taken on 4-8-06.

(Salvia Blue Bedder)

(African Daisy)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 11:22AM
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mantorvillain(z4bMN Dodge)

Wow...that's gonna be a lot of plants! My first year and I only did 3 jugs....but the 'blue' poppy seed someone sent me in a swap are beginning to pop up in one.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2006 at 12:21PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

OOOHH Sandy!!
What great shots! I love the back yard!! Is the fenced off area a Vege garden? Look- you have green in the Greenhouse already!!- No ice in the pond! And sooo much sun!! WOW- what a great set up!
It is fun watching the containers sprout- Thanks for the pics!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2006 at 7:22AM
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leftwood(z4a MN)

Okay! my ice sheets are gone and finally, I can report some sprouts:
Acinos alpinus
Fibigea clypeata
Festuca valesiaca
Hesperis kotchyi

    Bookmark   April 10, 2006 at 9:07PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

Hoo-Rah Lefty!
Congrats to you!
Is this your first wintersowing?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 9:23AM
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Julie - Yes, behind the picket fence is my vege garden.

Thanks for the compliments on my yard and pics. I do have a lot of sun from sunrise till about 2pm when the sun goes around behind the big maple trees. The back yard is east and south facing.

The opposite problem at the lake - lots of shade and clay!


    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 11:33PM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

Sandy, Thanks for the great photos that is a great set up you have. Nice yard too.

I am finally getting more sprouts, yesterday when I looked there were 11 varities up rather than the one I reported earlier. I had been starting to think it wasn't going to work for me.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 7:49AM
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kristal(3b MN)

I'm so excited!! I jumped in to WS head first and was so afraid I had wasted all my efforts, 315 containers later.

But...I have sprouts!! I have hollyhocks, foxglove, sweet peas, rudbeckias, lupine, poppies, all sorts of sprouts!! Now I am wondering and worried about how and when to uncover them, and when to protect them from heavy wind or rain. I've cut my holes larger and larger, but when to you know it's safe to let 'em out?


    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 3:07PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

I coppied this from another post in this forum... verbatum, so if you have seen this before- just scroll on down......
I tend to take the tops off of mine when they 1) touch the top-Some of my containers have very shallow head room... or- 2) start to send out second set of leaves on top growth signaling it is time to transplant (for me)- or- 3) they show signs of "heat stroke" or "frying" or "steaming" by too much time spent in too hot of sun. The latter you generally learn from experience, sorry to say. I use less than the 3" of dirt as suggested- so I transplant sooner as a rule- I also hold out on removing the tops real soon as it is such a nice micro climate for all those "late-bloomer" seeds that may still decide to sprout- ...
Go a head and go topless as soon as you are comfortable- but keep the lid handy to re-use if hard frost or heavy rain come your way- It is easier to slip a cover back on than to run around with flats of containers of babies that still need a bit of protection and shelter- trying to find space to shelter them! Experience talking again.....
Also- when the tops do come off- be sure to keep a close eye on watering- they are still seedlings- even if they are really rugged ones- and they do not take well to drying out- or flooding...
Geez- one would think with all this "experience" that I never saw a plant from all of these babes- but I sure have seen many grow on- more that I can handle!!
Best of luck to you-

    Bookmark   April 18, 2006 at 4:13PM
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Being a First Timer I am so unsure of when to do the winter sowing. I have been looking at the Winter Sow site and have started saving containers and got potting soil and both peat moss and vermiculite to lighten it up a bit. But when do you start sowing here in our Zone 4???????????
I know I will go overboard(I tend to do things in a big way)
Can any of you winter sow veterans give me some "sage" no pun intended advice??
Thanks in advance

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 8:00PM
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zenpotter(z4 MN)

Last winter I started in mid January. After the seed exchange at the end of January I was planting off and on until the end of February. It is my understanding that as long as it is still freezing it is ok to plant. It doesn't seem to be an exact science.

Something that amazes me is what a high percentage of germination you get. It is hard not to plant to many seeds.

Check out the winter blues seed exchange if you can make it to that you will have a lot of people to ask your questions of.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 8:23AM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

First- Read the FAQ area in the WS forum!
There is so much hepfull info there!

Then- any hardy to our zone perennials can be sown anytime now in our zone 4. There is really not much chance of a long term warm up that would trick the seeds into germinating...

For annuals- and others that are not usually hardy- I wait till Mid to Late Feb or early March- or when ever the worst of our cold is over-

And for tropicals- do not even attempt to sow outdoors till the weather is good and warm. I start those indoors earlier.

There is some homework to be done identifing what types of seeds fit into which catagory- but knowing which is which will give you a higher yeild of successful WS containers.

Oh- you are going to have fun gardening all winter long!



    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 8:15AM
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With the extreme dryness outside and lack of snowcover, I will be waiting until Feb., or even March to get my seeds planted. The majority are good to go with 8 weeks of cold. I also find there's much better germination if there remains some moisture in the soil (or planting medium).

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 4:36PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

Hey there Leaves-
I agree- Moisture is nesessary for good germination in WS containers-
I have not had any trouble with containers drying out in the winter, since I stopped using strawberry clamshells.
I put 4 small diameter drilled holes on the upper sides of my containers- and not on top. Moisture condences on the top and sides- and drips back onto the soil that way. It is pretty much a closed system- with containers on the ground for me.
I do have to start watering once the tops come off in the spring though-
Maybe less evaporation with smaller openings would help- I do know containers on the ground lose less moisture than those of mine I had on a table.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2006 at 7:54PM
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selkie_b(z4 MN)

Wow! Wish I had a place to do that! The results are really excellent. I know so many of our native species require this.

Great pics!


    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 8:27AM
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