good day for winter sowing

helenh(z6 SW MO)December 17, 2013

I think I'll get my potting mix in the back door and some milk jugs out of the barn. It will probably be cold on the winter solstice and the potting mix will be hard as a rock then. I am not going to winter sow yet - just getting ready. I see our weekend forecast is bad again. I am not one who likes snow at Christmas because there are more accidents and falls.

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I have about eight jugs out, mostly just packages that have just a little bit of seed left in them that I wanted to get out of my seed stash.

I've finished updating my seed inventory spreadsheet, have sent an order to Fedco Seed Co., and I'm germination testing a few things. Trying to plan for next year's garden but having a hard time getting inspired. Also started a few Rosemary cuttings inside. That's about all the gardening that's going on here.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 5:12AM
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sunnyside1(z6/SW Mo.)

Okay -- I'm in on the winter sowing. I have jugs and potting mix. If I planted some broccoli seed now, would it be ready by spring to plant? Any suggestions on what to plant? I have some Lime four o'clock seed that's old. Would that work?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 6:54AM
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I'm thinking both would be a "go".

I've never done either of those before.

Usually I start my brassicas inside but I might just wintersow some myself, might allow me to devote more of my light table space to tomatoes and peppers.

Some people wintersow tomatoes. I've heard some people try to do peppers. But I don't think peppers are a good candidate because they don't produce well for their whole lives if they get too cold at any time. I've not had good luck with basils, either. They've germinated too soon and then the tender seedlings have died in the cold.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 7:09AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

The winter sowing forum and website do use tomatoes and things that are killed by frost, but I do mainly flowers that might reseed by themselves. Old seed and seed that you probably wouldn't get around to planting in spring are good candidates. I want tomatoes earlier and I want big plants when I put them in the ground. I am sure something like Matt's Wild Cherry would come up and produce tomatoes early enough if winter sown. Columbines, poppies and some perennials that need cold treatment are made for winter sowing. I think I have winter sowed things like rudbeckia and larkspur. Things that don't transplant well like poppies are lifted out in little chunks so the plants in the middle of the little spoon full are not disturbed. In our climate with warm spells and snow in May, tender things will come up and then be at risk. I don't follow the wintersowing rules. If we get cold weather after things are up, you can protect your jugs of plants. Wintersowing is a mental health thing. if you can't get into it yet, you haven't had enough winter.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 11:06AM
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I don't follow the rules very well either Helen. I think our early springs and late freezes in the Ozarks tend to be a little more extreme than most people experience but in general, winter sowing works well. I'm much more careful to protect annuals from late frost than perennials.

I've winter sown tomatoes a few times and had great luck with old seeds on those. My dad's old timey method of planting tomato seeds is much like winter sowing. He uses a five gallon bucket, sows the seed in late winter but doesn't cover the container like most winter sowers do.

I don't think I've ever been organized enough to winter sow before Christmas and most things don't need that much cold stratification anyway. I still have Christmas shopping to do and wrapping and cleaning etc. Always running behind.

I've dropped a couple hints for potting soil for Christmas and have been saving the square containers that Walmart's Artisan lettuce comes in. I think those will work ok but the plastic is thin so I won't be able to use them more than once. It will be easy to poke holes in the bottom at least.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 9:28AM
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