seeds to direct sow in winter?

nachborDecember 29, 2008

what are some seeds that you like to direct sow in the winter (Jan, feb) I am wanting to start planting some new flowers...

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I don't plant much from seed in Jan.-Feb. because most of what I have in the flower beds is either perennial or reseeding annuals that don't require I plant new seeds every year.

If you want to plant something in January, you're pretty much limited to cool-season annuals (most reseed themselves for me) that can tolerate cold temperatures after they sprout. This would include larkspur, Oriental poppies, California poppies, columbine, malva, and johny jump-ups (violas). You also can plant a wildflower mix like the ones available from Wildseed Farm. I'll link the page that has the Firecracker 234 Mix that needs to be planted in late winter for spring wildflowers. If you want to plant Wildseed's Texas-Oklahoma Mix, it does best if sown in the fall, but you could have pretty good success from a January sowing of it.

You might have luck with some perennials, but most of them sprout better if planted in the fall so that their needs for cold stratification are met. However, if you've had perennial seeds stored in the refrigerator, you can plant them in Jan. knowing that the time in the refrigerator cold-stratified them.

In February, if you are south of the Arbuckles, you normally can plant seeds of some of the more cold-hardy warm-season annuals, BUT there is always a risk they will sprout too early and then freeze back. Some of these would include Cleome, Texas Hummingbird Sage, Verbena Bonariensis, Four O'Clocks, Nicotiana, Salvia farinacea, agastache, datura (probably won't sprout till April), veronica, hollyhocks, morning glories, black-eyed susan vine, moonflowers and nigella. Many of these will reseed once established and some are essentially perennial in zone 7 if you have well-drained soil and if the winter is not significantly colder than average. If you are north of the Arbuckles, someone who lives in that part of the state could better advise you than I could.

In March, you can direct sow just about anything. Most annual seeds that sprout in March can tolerate some cold weather, although a hard freeze or a late sleet/snow storm could kill them. Among the seeds you can sow in March, once again if you are in the warmer parts of zone 7 south of the Arbuckles, would include zinnias, cosmos, celosias, cockscombs, amaranths, rudbeckias, echinaceas, (I have better luck with fall sowing or winter sowing with these), yarrows, salvias, portulaca, purslane, coreopsis, marigolds, nasturtiums (I start them inside in early Feb. to transplant outside in March and have blooms by late April to mid-May), hardy hibiscus, sunflowers, kiss-me-over-the-garden gate, dahlias, etc.

I don't know how experienced you are with direct sowing, but if you are new to it, it is important to remember that the seeds need to be kept moist but but not so wet that they will rot. Thus, direct-sowing works best in sandy loam or in raised beds with good drainage and compost-enriched soil. If you direct sow in soil with a heavy clay content, you may not have good results as the heavy clay holds too much water in a wet winter and the seeds rot and heavy clay doesn't hold enough water in a dry winter and the seeds lie on the surface until they get dry rot or blow away.

If you grow herbs, many of them can be sown in Jan.-Mar. too, depending on their cold-hardiness.


Here is a link that might be useful: Wildseed Farms Firecracker 234 Mix

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 8:12AM
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