RMG Winter Sowers Roll Call

highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)January 8, 2008

Well, I know I'm not the only around here that is doing it, and I thought it would be nice to have a thread going to follow everyone's progress. I love the WS forum too, but since our climate is a bit different than other areas of the country, our methods, and results will be also.

Actually, I haven't even started yet, but the kids are all back in school as of tomorrow, so I am about to get busy. I have plenty of seeds, and have a few containers saved. This is the only time of year that I don't give DH a hard time about drinking so much soda, LOL, since I NEED those 2L bottles!!!

Who else is winter sowing, and what have you sown so far?

For anyone who is not familiar with wintersowing, I have included a link below, but feel free to ask questions here, or on the wintersowing forum.


Here is a link that might be useful: Wintersowing information

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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

Hi Bonnie, as you know I'm planning on trying WSing. I'm waiting to start my veggies. I got a packet of Evening Stock seeds with my order from Seeds of Change so plan to start with those. Then got a package of Cosmos in the mail with an "invitation to be try garden tools and keep them free". I'm not gonna accept the offer, but I'm keeping the seeds :-). I also have columbine seeds I've saved and I don't know what else I have. It looks like I need to go through my box of seeds in the garage to see what other flower seeds I have leftover. I've been saving 2L bottles, water jugs, 1L gatorade bottles, clear OJ bottles, clear plastic tubs, but have no idea how many I have. Maybe this weekend...


    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 9:12PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Hey Jen, if you need more seeds, don't hesitate to send an SASBE to Bakemom on the WS forum, or to Trudi at the Wintersown.org address. I did that last year, and they both sent a very generous amount of a wide variety of seeds, both flowers and some veggies/herbs. It's definitely worth the postage!


    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 9:30PM
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Azura(z5 CO)

This will be my second year of wintersowing. It worked very well for me last year. Ive got 28 milk jugs sitting in the living room right now waiting to be filled with soil and seeds, much to my hubby's chagrin. I havent sown anything yet but I will start tomorrow.
Starbuck's gave me 20 milk jugs yesterday and I have more in the garage. My largest seed order came in from Pine Tree yesterday and most of those seeds are for winter sowing (thanks to those who recommended Pine Tree in the seed catalog thread).
Im also going to try baggie winter sowing this year. You can buy 152 gallon size ziplocks at Costco for $8 and some change. I cant think of cheaper pots than that.
Winter sowing is awesome! I will post my list of seeds Ive winter sown soon. Im glad to hear Im not the only one. Thanks for starting this thread, Bonnie! What are you wintersowing this year?

Here is a link that might be useful: Winter sowing in baggies!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 10:37PM
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I normally WS a lot, but I'll be in the middle of moving during prime WS time, so this year I'll just be WS my rose seeds.

Good luck to everyone!


    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 12:35PM
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singcharlene(Zone 5)

I am going to try winter sowing this year.

I've mostly done direct seed sowing and buying transplants but I have to say that the veggie plants I got at the Spring Swap from RMGardener's that winter sowed them seemed so much healther than most of the store bought plants.

Someone once posted a link that was a garden calendar that you could customize by putting in your first and last frost date. It then tells by week the exact dates to begin indoor sowing, when to harden them off outdoors and when to plant outside as well as when to direct sow and harvest. It was awesome and I wrote all the info in my calendar by week (time consuming!) but I can't find the actual link now!

I've been throwing milk jugs in the basment for a while now, but baggies sound like a good idea too.

The time to get to work outside will be here before we know it and I'd better get a move on all the stuff INSIDE I wanted to do because it's sure not gonna happen once I can be outside!


    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 1:44PM
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Charlene, maybe, this is what you are thinking of.

If you need it, you may want to start here: frost-free dates for your part of the US.


Mr. Goodkat: The reason I'm in town, in case you're wondering, is because of the Kansas City Shuffle.
Nick: What's a Kansas City Shuffle?
Mr. Goodkat: A Kansas City Shuffle is when everybody looks right, you go left.
Nick: Never heard of it.
Mr. Goodkat: It's not something people hear about. Falls on deaf ears mostly. This particular one has been over twenty years in the making. No small matter. Requires a lot of planning. Involves a lot of people. People connected by the slightest of events. Like whispers in the night, in that place that never forgets, even when those people do. It starts with a horse.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 8:57PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

Thanks for sharing that link about using plastic bags. I was trying to figure out how I will start a bunch of seed I gathered in the fall and this looks like it's worth a try.

I'd given up on indoor sowing since I moved to CO because I struggle so much to keep things watered evenly and then keep the spider mites out, damping & mildews, etc.

But I did get a bunch of direct sow seeds from trades this year and some that were supposed to be fall sown--however I have a huge problem with weed seeds blowing in through my north fence over the winter. It's commercial property on my north so tumble weed rolls across their lot & gets stuck on the fence and sits there shaking it's seeds loose all winter. Of course they blow through the fence into my perennial border. So was worried that if I planted seed in the fall, come spring I'd not be able to tell what I planted from the weeds.

These bags make a great solution. I can put them in my vegetable garden which is away from the fence.

If anyone needs lemon cucumber or Kentucky Wonder pole beans drop me an e:mail. I saved a ton of both last year and would like to trade for other veggies.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 12:41PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Well, I had hoped to start WS today, and I did make drainage holes in some 2L bottles with the soldering iron today, but my boys were on a bit of a snow day today. The school was open, but after getting stuck three times on the way home yesterday, I decided I wasn't driving ANYWHERE today. The snow is melting some, even though we are still in the 20's, so I think it will be safe to venture out tomorrow. Maybe I can sow a few containers when the older kids are at school. BTW, you can bet my next vehicle will be either all-wheel, or 4-wheel drive!

Azura, I know that some people WS with baggies, but I'd be concerned about the wind blowing them around. I'm sticking with what I know - 2L bottles mostly. Last year, a few of my containers got blown around, so I ended up putting the them in plastic milk crates to secure them. Just something to consider.

Berrytea4me, my space is very limited, so I am trying to stick with bush varieties of beans, and cukes. Is there anything specific you are looking for?


    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 5:05PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

"my space is very limited, so I am trying to stick with bush varieties of beans, and cukes. Is there anything specific you are looking for?"
Bonnie, I'm limited on space too. I actually found that pole beans & other climbers save me a lot of space. Found "bean towers" at Gardener's Supply that work great for tomatoes, beans, and cukes/melons. The towers take about 2sq ft each & 6' tall. Even fully loaded they did not tip over in a wind storm. Last year I planted 2 with beans and had more produce than a full row of bush beans in the past.

I'd like to try another variety of pole beans that is stringless. I'm always looking for sweet corn varieties that do well here (don't have a lot of room for corn & fight the skunks/racoons for it), would like to find carrot varieties that do well here. I need to find some peas or sugar snap peas that do well here. Love to try different salad greens. I have plenty black simpson lettuce seeds (could trade some of those too). I'll probably start or buy starts of tomato & pepper. I would like to get some lemon balm and lavender going for herbs.

I'm also looking for perennials and reseeding flowers for my new borders. Stuff that will go nicely with my new daylilies, mums, and old garden roses that I have ordered for spring delivery...like echinacea varieties, malva, snapdragons, sunflower varieties, delphiniums, foxglove, campanula varieties, cosmos, calendula, joe pye weed, just about anything else if it does well here.

Take a look at my trades pages for more ideas. They are not super complete but probably some different things listed there than what I'm putting down off the top of my head.

I'm giving daylily seeds a go this year. They get the limited space for seedlings in the house. Have just over 100 seed that I won on the LA. The first are in germination baggies now.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 7:28PM
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Wintersown containers so far:
mixed amaranthus, wildflower mix, foxglove, annual phlox, onions, choclate and white joe pye weed, feverfew,speedwell, mixed columbines, purple coneflower, lambs ear,scabiosa,lunaria. I will continue to plant/put containers out as they become available. See next post for indoor seed started.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 9:26AM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Thanks for the links, Digit. That spreadsheet is pretty handy, especially since I'm not a veggie expert and I always neglect to plant my early season veggies soon enough (like peas). We've decided to do peas and spinach for sure this year. I also plan to do more warm-season veggies, like beans, peppers, and corn.

But if I'm going to try winter sowing, I suppose the spreadsheet doesn't really help, huh? I'd imagine the WS seeds need to go out real soon, while the dates in the spreadsheet are all about indoor starts, right?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 11:55AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Berrytea4me, I should have said "my vertical space is limited". My 60 sq.ft. veggie patch has a fence running along the back, which would be on the north side, so I can grow things vertically there. This spring, I am going to try peas, and then in the summer, the tomatoes, and canteloupes will be at the back, so the beans and cucumbers will be in front of them, which is why I am sticking with bush varieties. I'm afraid if I put another trellis in front of the fence that the back row won't get enough sun. This is only my second year for a vegetable garden, so don't think that I've got it all figured out just yet, LOL! Please feel free to make suggestions for a better layout. BTW, I love your photos on your member page. It looks like you guys have made a lot of progress in two years time. My trade list is fairly current, if you see anything there that you'd like, let me know.

Here is what it looked like when we first made the bed last year:

Last year, I grew pumpkins on the trellis, but this year I am going to try the canteloupes there, and just use netting for slings to hold the fruit once it's close to being ripe. The tomato plants will be along the back, to the left of the trellis.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 12:12PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Stevation, you can WS cold tolerant veggies now, like broccoli, spinach, lettuce, swiss chard. The more tender, heat loving veggies such as tomatoes and peppers it's best to wait until April in my zone, but you're a zone 6, so you could probably WS those in March. I use the WS technique even when I am planting in April or May. I just put the containers in a more shady spot, so they don't dry out as quickly. The beans and cucumbers I would direct sow using that chart that Digit posted.

Hope this helps,

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 12:17PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Well, I finally got started on my WS!!! It felt good to play with dirt again.

Here is what I have sowed so far:
Alyssum 'Golden Queen'
Agastache 'Apache Sunset'
Belamcanda chinensis
Geum 'Blazing Sunset'
Dianthus knappii
Helenium 'Moorheim Beauty'
Penstemon pinifolius 'Compactum'
Garlic chives

I had planned to WS some spearmint too, but the packet that I thought still had some seeds in it, was empty. No big deal though, I saw seeds out at Walmart already, and they should have some.

Gjmancini, I can relate to waiting for containers to become available. On a normal week, I can come up with 4 or 5 from our family's recyclables, but if I want to sow more than that, I would have to look for an outside source. On the one hand, that would give me an opportunity to educate someone about the joys of WS. On the other hand, it would give my neighbors one more reason to think I'm nuts.

Happy sowing,

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 11:07AM
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With your spearmint Bonnie, you might want to do like some mint growers do . . . go to the supermarket and steal it.

Well, not exactly steal it. You can purchase a bunch and take it home and root it in a jar of water in the window.

Mints often don't grow from seed the way one thinks they should.

digitS' KC shuffle

    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 11:50AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Digit, I WS spearmint last year, and had great germination, but I had it in full sun and forgot to water it one day, and fried it to a crisp. When I lived in Tennessee, our home had peppermint growing (without any help from me) along the back of the house, which was in almost full shade. Somehow I had forgotten about that until just now. I'll try to WS it again, because I'm persistant (re: stubborn), and try to move it to a more hospitable spot once it sprouts.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2008 at 4:58PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Well, what has everyone WS so far???

I finally got the Spearmint done, and today I sowed some Oregano, and my last two perennials - Euphorbia 'Rubra' and Lychnis 'Lumina Bronzeleaf Red'. The sowing instructions on the Euphorbia were a bit complicated. It appears to need a warm-cold-warm period to germinate, plus it says to soak for 8 hours in warm water before sowing. If I actually get sprouts from this one, I'll be happily surprised.

I guess I'll start my lettuce next. I've run out of perennials, and it's too early for most annuals, so I am going to have a serious case of garden fever the next few weeks. It doesn't help that we have been below freezing, with snow cover, for the past month. I've read all of the seed catalogs at least twice now. What do you guys do for your gardening fix this time of year?


    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 3:45PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi guys,

You all have me convinced!

IÂve been meaning to post for the last couple weeks to tell you that, but IÂve been kind of out of commission for close to two weeks now. As we were coming into DIA a week ago Tuesday we hit some severe turbulence and I was thrown into a wall (on the plane!) and now have a concussion! Everything seemed to be going pretty well for the first few days, and I was thinking about trying to post, but then my symptoms suddenly got worse and when I went back to my doctor she decided to send me straight to the ER! Do not pass go! Do not collect $200! I couldnÂt believe it, and luckily I was able to find a friend (from PaulinoÂs!), who was able to drive me (the ONE mile!) To the hospital, or she was gonna make me go in an ambulance! The CT Scan didnÂt show any bleeding, but apparently itÂs gonna take a little more time for it to get better than I thought it would. (Can you believe my doctor had the chutzpah to tell me that OLDE brains are injured more easily and worse than young brains! Who, me? OLDE!) So IÂve been around here reading as usual, but just havenÂt been up to posting.

But before all that happened I was trying to find time to post to tell you IÂm gonna give it a tryÂand I have a question!

On the Winter Sowing in Baggies linkÂwhat are the clothes pins for? IÂve looked and looked at it, and canÂt figure out what use the clothes pins are!

What IÂm thinking of doing is starting seed in some square plastic flats I haveÂonly a couple inches deep, and I want to try putting them in clear plastic bags (small trash bags) to keep the wind and snow and rain out, so I was looking at the picturesÂand the CLOTHES PINS! If the soil is moist but not saturated, couldnÂt I just close the bags up completely over winter until it starts to get warm enough for something to start germinating? I know IÂll need drainage holes in the bottom, and I know theyÂd need to be opened for ventilation when (or anytime) it warms, but do you think that would work? I canÂt use zipper baggiesÂthe flats are too bigÂmaybe 14" X 14" or so. And they can go in a spot where theyÂll either get just a little bit of sun, or no sun at all. What do you all think?

And what are the clothes pins for???

IÂm gonna go for now. I want to post on the WhoÂs Here thread yet, and typing still isnÂt easy.

Glad youÂre all here,

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 12:40AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Hi, Skybird! I'm glad you are feeling up to posting tonight, and tickled that you may actually give WS a try!

My understanding is that the clothespin hold the bag open for air movement. If your containers are in the sun without ventilation, they will cook, not sprout. Just like you need ventilation on a cold frame. One thing I learned last year is that the deeper the soil in the container the better. The plants may be in the container a while after they sprout, so you want to give them room for the roots to grow. I would say no less than 3 - 4 inches. One problem you may have if the soil is not deep enough, is that the containers will need to be watered more often if the soil isn't deep enough. With your travel schedule, I would think you would be better off with a deeper container. You could try asking for milk jugs from your nearest Starbucks. They are usually more than happy for you to take them off their hands. If you use milk jugs, or 2L bottles (my personal favorite) you won't have to worry about the plastic bags, or clothespins. I just cut the bottle in half, poke holes in the bottom with a soldering iron, cut a couple of tabs on each side of the top half of the bottle, and once I have sown the seeds, I just cram the top half back on and remove the bottle cap. The tabs hold the two pieces together. Once the seeds have sprouted, and temps warm up, I just remove the top half of the bottle, but save it in case we get a late freeze and I need to cover them back up. With your situation, I would recommend a partly shady location for your containers, with maybe morning sun, afternoon shade.

I'll be glad to take a couple of photos of the container prep, and post them here if that would help. Just let me know.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 1:07AM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

I was going to work on getting the containers ready and putting the dirt in them this weekend, but had left the bags in the trunk of my car so they're frozen. Maybe next weekend. Instead I made a big pot of marinara sauce to freeze and cut up a pork butt to try making Italian sausage tomorrow.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 3:41AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Skybird, as long as you have enough drainage holes, you don't really have to try and keep out the snow and rain. I have my containers up against the house, so they are a little protected, but the amount of snow and rain that get in through the open spout of the bottle is not going to be enough to wash your seeds out of the container. In the spring, when you do have to start watering your containers, I would definitely recommend watering from the bottom though.

Jen, you still have plenty of time. That marinara sounds good!


    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 10:02AM
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singcharlene(Zone 5)

Skybird! Glad you're okay. Scary. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Now I get what you meant on the other thread about a forced vacation :(

Here's the vegetable gardening link I was talking about before. I'm pretty sure I found it somewhere on the Gardenweb but just not sure where.

Anyway, it's awesome! All you do is put in your first and last frost dates and it tells when to indoor sow, harden off, plant outside or outdoor direct sowing.

I painstakingly went through and put all of the dates on my calendar March through October!

Happy sowing,


Here is a link that might be useful: Vegetable Garden Calendar for winter sowing

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 7:32PM
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dereks(6 Utah)

This is my fourth year winter sowing. I've only got one container out now with Lavatera seeds. I've got a list of seeds that I'm going to pick up from a lady here in my area. As soon as I pick those up I will be on my way.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 10:25PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

So, I think I'll try winter sowing this year, too. I've always done seeds indoors with lights and heat mats and all. So, here are my big questions: How long do you leave the little seedlings in their winter sowing container? Once they sprout are they safe to keep outside even if a big freeze comes along? Do you put your containers on the south side of the house, or is that too much sun?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 12:56PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Hi, Steve! I am happy to hear that you are going to give WS a try. First Skybird, and now you!

To answer your first question, it depends on what it is, and if you have a space ready for it. Some folks on the WS forum, plant their hardy perennials out as soon as they have their first true set of leaves. If they are hardy to your zone, you will be amazed at how tough the little WS sprouts are. I waited until mine had two or three sets of leaves, and there were a couple of things that were threatening to climb out of their containers before I had a chance to plant them out. I even know of people that had containers that didn't get planted out until fall, not that I recommend that. This is why a deeper container is better than a shallow one. Then you don't have to rush to get it planted out. Some folks sow 100's of containers, I will probably only end up with about 50, but it takes time to plant everything, especially if you work, or have children.

With your tender annuals, I would wait until you're close to your last frost date. Otherwise, you will end up having to cover them up if temperatures get too low. The containers will protect the sprouts from a light frost, but if it gets in the teens and single digits after annuals have sprouted, it would be a good idea to cover the containers with an old blanket or row cover, or bring them into an unheated garage. For the ones I planted out before our last frost, I saved the top half of the 2L bottles, and used them like a cloche.

As far as placement of the containers, they don't HAVE to be in the sun at all to germinate. Mine were on the east side of the house last year, so they got morning sun, afternoon shade, but towards summer, even that was almost too much sun. This year, once everything has sprouted, I'm moving them to a shadier spot, so I don't have to water as often.

You will be amazed at how much simpler WS is, than doing it indoors. The sprouts don't need near as much babysitting, and they are tougher plants. Since they are already adapted to your climate, there is no hardening off to be done.

Happy sowing,

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 2:52PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

Hi All,
Well, the sick kids both took a nap at the same time today so I got out to the garage long enough to grab my bag of !frozen! potting soil and bring it in. I put soil in some bags and watered w/warm water. After an hour or so it thawed enough to be workable. I have a bunch of old columbine seeds and some rocky mountain wildflower mix that are my first priority to get planted since I know they do best with freeze time. I'll get them sown as soon as I have a few minutes.

I also have allysum, zinnia, marigold, rudbeckia, baby's breath, and a few other mixed flowers to start. Then there are the veggies and herbs. Things like lettuce and coriander I know can go out any time.

Now that I've started I have lots of questions.

Can carrots and beets go out now?

When do you start things like peas and corn? I'm guessing those should go out later, closer to spring? If you start squash or tomatoes this way do you get enough jump on the growing season to get decent harvest vs starting them indoors?

I've gone through the seed lists on the winter sow forum. Is there a list of things you should NOT winter sow, particularly in our zone?

Oh, and what's the purpose of using the clothes pins at the top of the bags?

In addition to bags, I plan to use plastic milk jugs (got enough of those around!). I was going to try cutting them at about 2/3 height but then leave part of the plastic in tact under the handle like a hinge. Then I can open them to work and still have the top in place for protection. I thought I can tape it shut w/some weather proof tape or else poke a couple holes for wire ties. I can remove the cap for air transpiration.

Bonnie, I haven't had a chance to look at your trade page yet but I'll e:mail you once I do.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 10:28PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)


I don't know of list of things NOT to sow, but if it is a perennial that is hardy to your zone, it should be fine. If it is an annual that reseeds on its own in your zone, like poppies, it can be wintersown. If it is a tender annual, that is not frost tolerant, you can still use the WS containers, but you just need to sow them later, like March or April.

As you said, the Columbine can be sown now, as well as the Allysum, and the Rudbeckia.

I would wait until late March, or even early April for the zinnias and the marigolds, because they are not frost tolerant.

On the veggies you listed, I had to do a little research, as I have never WS corn, squash, peas, or beets. When I searched the wintersown.org database, I found that all of those can be successfully wintersown in zone 5. However, since beets are a root crop, I don't know for sure how well they transplant. I had read somewhere that carrots don't tolerate transplanting, and I direct sowed mine last year, and plan to do the same this year. I'm trying peas for the first time this year, and will direct sow those too. On the corn, it is recommended that you choose an early type if you are WSing it. The tomatoes should also be ones with a low DTM (days to maturity) if you want them to ripen before your first frost. If you want to grow some tomatoes with long DTM, you may want to start those indoors, to insure they have enough time.

On the baggies, the clothespin is simply to hold the zipper open at one end for air circulation. Without it, you could fry your seedlings on a warm spring day. Plus, the soil may stay too moist.

On the milk jugs, your plan sounds good, just remember to take off the cap, for the same reasons stated above.

My trade list has dwindled down quite a bit, as I have given a lot of it away recently, but as I WS more containers, I am sure I will have leftover seeds to add to the list. If you do see something your interested in, just email me.

I hope I answered all of your questions. If not, please don't hesitate to post your concerns. I want all of you newbies to have a successful first year!

Happy sowing,

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 2:56AM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

Thanks, Bonnie. Great info.

To ensure harvest even w/ short dth varieties of tomato I usually buy larger plants to transplant. Even with that I've had years where most of the crop froze green on the vine. If I can get to it I try to pull the whole vine & hang them in my garage when the first frost is imminent. One year I had fresh tomatoes until Jan doing that. I've had a lot of volunteers start over the years too and find that even the cherry tomatoes may not ripen with so late a start. So, will probably start tomatoes indoors this year.

I also usually direct sow beets, carrots and corn but was thinking it would be nice to get a jump on the growing season. I think even those that "don't tolerate" transplant often do well if you can minimize disturbance to the roots. Maybe sowing in peat pots that can be planted pot & all inside the baggies instead of just a baggie of dirt, for example. Will give that some thought and see if I can devise something. If the ground was workable I'd direct sow them now...but 0 degrees doesn't leave soil pliable to work with.

Oh, and no problem with the trade page. I'm slow at this sometimes- too distracted with trying to work from home with sick kids this week- so just let me know next time you update. I'll do likewise.

Well, thanks again.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 9:05PM
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dereks(6 Utah)

I just put out two more containers today. One with seeds called Knautia Macedonica. It's a perennial with scarlet red flowers. I got them from Dianeseeds.

The other container has Joe Pye Weed. I worry about this one in the garden because my sandy soil dries out so fast. I understand they don't care for being too dry. But I have a good part shade area that I want to try them in.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 6:39PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

5 milk jugs went out today. 3 with different columbine seeds, I had some yellow, pink, and mixed old fashioned. They are old so I oversowed but I've heard columbine seed lasts very well. 2 jugs with mixed Rocky Mnt Wildflower seed.

I still have a bunch of columbine & mixed wildflower seed left. I'll probably go ahead and sow most of it. I'm thinking I may want to hold a garden "plant sale" or join the spring swap if I have to many.

Have not ordered most of my seed yet. I usually head out to the local drug/grocery store but I plan to try mail order this time. Seed is getting so expensive that I may as well be sure I'm getting what I really want. I had a basket full on one site but the kids needed my attention and the site kicked me out for non-response. So, gotta start over.

Cutting the jugs part way through so they can be closed again did work pretty well.

Hey Skybird, if you have big flats have you considered using those giant ziplock storage bags? They are more expensive but are 24 x 19. Also I have one of those huge plastic bags with a zipper that bedding comes in that I was thinking I will use to make a greenhouse/coldframe later.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 8:38PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Well, I only sowed one container today, some lavender seeds I got from Skybird last summer.

Other than a few cold season veggies, I am out of things to sow for now. I have tons of annuals, but it's just too early. The gardening itch is bad for me this year, and it just keeps snowing. At least it's good for the garden ... not so much for the gardener.


    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 9:04PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi all,

IÂve been planning to come back here and post again for the last week, but IÂve just been feeling so awful that every time I look at the keyboard I change my mind. But IÂve been sitting here for almost three weeks now, unable to do anything but stare mindlessly at all the nothing on TV, and itÂs driving me wildÂand IÂm feeling a little bit better right now, so let me see if I can get this done.

IÂve been reading all your advice, and IÂve decided my winter sowing is going to be an experiment! If I wait till I have time to go out and look for milk jugs or other containers, and then take the time to cut them all openÂwellÂit just ainÂt gonna happen!

I already have somewhere between 50 and a hundred of the flatsÂtheyÂre 10" X 10"ÂI just measured one. If I fill them all the way up to the top, the soil will be 2 1/4" deep, and thatÂs just going to have to do! I forced myself to stand up long enough this afternoon to break all the tall perennials I cut down a couple months ago into small enough pieces to throw them on the compost pile, so I have a place right next to the house on the east side (veggie garden) where theyÂll get just a little bit of morning sun at this time of the year. ItÂll be more than enough for now and until after theyÂve germinated, and IÂll decide where to move them next when I need to. After I get the seeds sown IÂm going to put the flats side by side, put a large enough piece of clear plastic over them all, and weight it down on the sides to keep it in place. The soil will be saturated when I put them out, so theyÂll get some good freeze/thaw action, and, covered, they should easily stay wet enough until itÂs starts to seriously warm up in a couple months. And IÂm going to wet the soil where theyÂll be sitting before I put them down, and since there wonÂt be any plastic under the flats, that should help them maintain moisture too. Even the things IÂm overwintering in pots (some of them in 2" pots) that arenÂt covered at all have been staying nicely wet this year, and they get considerably more sun than the flats willÂI just watered them for the first time in over a month todayÂsure was nice to have the hose thawed out for a couple days again!

So thatÂs the plan! IÂll let you all know if/how it works in a few months!

Now for the really, really BIG problem! How do I cut down on the number of things I want to start!!! I have almost 50 different perennials I want to start! Any of you who were here for the swap know I donÂt have anywhere to put 50 more perennials! Why didnÂt you guys ever tell me that gardening could be this excruciating??? I MUST get rid of more of the rock mulch in the front yard this year! (If anybody in the Denver area sees this and has a place where they can use some of this stuffÂitÂs called butter rockÂitÂs yours for the hauling! I have probably a yard and a half of it I want to get rid of.) Oh, how I wish I could plan to...

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 10:06PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

Score! I found 6 more milk jugs in the garage that I had used for make shift "wall-o-waters" last year. They are now happily filled with perennial seeds.

I'm going to ask my daycare provider to save milk jugs for me too.

Finally got most of my seeds ordered, plus T&M had a little "patio greenhouse" affair (4 shelves + plastic cover) for $45 if you made another purchase so I'm giving that a try. I was looking for something that I could use indoors for all my daylily seedlings.

I have a rose that I received in a very late trade that I'm overwintering in the house. It arrived the day before Thanksgiving when all this snow first came in and after several weeks w/o a break in weather I could not leave it's bare roots exposed anymore so put it in a pot. It promptly broke it's dormancy even in my coolest room. The way it's leafing out I may have flower buds forming before long.... I think it would benefit from humidity inside the "greenhouse".

Sure hope my irrigation well recharges in the spring or it's going to be a tough summer trying to keep everything watered with a hose.

Skybird, my eyes are bigger than my time or space for garden too but I figure there are worse addictions :)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 5:59PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Well, I don't have 50 perennials planned, like you Skybird, but I was looking over my WS list, and if you include all of the annuals, veggies and herbs, I will be sowing 75 different things!!! And that is AFTER narrowing down my list from the actual seed inventory, LOL!

Dereks, some of my seeds came from Dianeseeds this year, and I really liked her service and selection. I will definitely order from her again.

Berrytea4me, congratulations on your "score"! Unlike a lot of folks, I never have to worry about not having enough containers. With a family of 5, there is an endless supply of milk, juice, water, and soda bottles. At least now they are getting put to a good use, and I still recycle them once I'm done planting everthing out.

Today I sowed three kinds of lettuce: Buttercrunch, New Red Fire, and Jericho.

Happy sowing everyone,

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 2:17AM
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irisgirl(Z5 - CO)

Former lurker, big WS fan. Have only put out a few containers so far and am growing baby spinach and mesclun in a mini-garden cardboard box in the house. Almost edible height now...This will have to do until the end of March so I can set out the water bottles for baby tomatoes.

I have a decent list of seeds to share if I can figure out how to change that item on my member page. If you want my list just drop me a line.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 2:22PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Hi, Irisgirl, and welcome! This is the "other" friendly forum : )

I tried to change my trade list on my member page too, but everytime I pull it back up, the changes aren't there. You can post your seed list here, or on the RMG Seed Exchange thread, or email it to me through my member page. Like I said, my list isn't current, but let me know if there is something on my list that you want, and I'll let you know if I still have it.

Just a few more weeks, then I can start WS all of my annuals, and warmer season veggies. I am sooo ready to start playing in the dirt again!


    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 6:28PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Well, yesterday I WS'd

Alyssum 'Golden Queen'
Alyssum 'Apricot Shades'
Dianthus 'Ideal Select Red'
Broccoli 'Early Purple Sprouting'
and Marjoram

Other than a couple more herbs, and lettuces, I am just about out of things to WS for now. In about 4 to 6 weeks, I'll start on all of my annuals and warm season veggies.

Have any of you newbies gotten started yet? What are you guys sowing?


    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 4:39PM
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berrytea4me(Z5 CO)

Well, I got started on all my fall bulbs that I bought when the 50% sales started which was only a few days before the ground froze for winter. They have been sitting in the garage and are now going into pots to wait for spring still in the garage.

Does that count as WS?

I have planted a bunch more columbine and a pansy mix "Got the Blues" so mostly flowers so far. The pansy package said they are often hardy to z5 so I figured it was safe to put them out now.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 7:35PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

For the newbies out there, I thought I would post some pictures of how I prep my containers, not that there is only one way to do it, but just to give you guys some ideas.

I use a cheap soldering iron to poke the holes first:

Then cut the container in half, and cut tabs in the top:

Fill with dirt, wet the dirt thoroughly, let it drain, then add the seeds, and put the top back on - minus the cap:

Here are the same steps with a milk jug, except I just cut a window, instead of cutting it all the way in half:

Here are my containers now, currently buried under the snow:

Happy sowing!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 5:17PM
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singcharlene(Zone 5)

Okay, I've been lurking. I'm so impressed! The garden bug really finally hit me this week. The link I posted about half way up is for indoor sowing and honestly I didn't know that winter sowing meant OUTSIDE in the winter sowing.

Thanks for the visuals, Bonnie.

I am shocked that the containers can get covered with snow? Can I just set them under the eaves on my east facing porch (it gets no snow & very little early morning sun)?

I want to start my cold season veggies soon.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 1:12PM
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Someone I think highly of directed to me this thread.

I just want to say bless you all! May your seeds germinate in an abundance that nearly overwhelms you.

You all rock! Great photos and great links!


    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 3:15PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Yes, Charlene, you can place the containers on the porch. You may need to check them for moisture, since they won't be getting any snow/rain. If there is condensation inside the lid, they are fine, if not, you will need to water them. It's best done from the bottom, so that you don't wash the seeds away.

Hi, Trudi (the WS'ing guru!)! Nice of you to stop by!


    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 3:56PM
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I've been reading all this info about winter sowing for a while and have gone whole hog. There's nothing I like better than planting seeds and it's great to have them on the patio rather than the bay window. But I saw today that I already have some Linanthes up. Do I have these in too much sun?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 7:38PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

Ok, I think I bit off more than I can chew.

I finally finished my spreadsheet of all of the seeds I have, both new ones and old packets (BTW - how old is too old, some are from 2002?). My total # of seed packs is 117. This is annuals, perennials, veggies and herbs. I'm thinking of saving my plastic containers for the veggies since I don't have that many and using the baggie method for everything else.

Off to get baggies & clothespins tomorrow, and I'm starting to think that 2 big bags of potting soil may not be enough.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 12:39AM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

Bonnie, do you know if I can write what the seeds are on the clothespin instead of using freezer tape or in addition to the tape?

Down to 116 kinds of seed, one of the seeds is on the Colorado noxious weed list so I'm gonna send that one back to Bakemom, unless there's someone (not in Colorado) who wants to grow Soapwort?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 1:49AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Wow, Loveseeds, that IS early! Where are you located? I'm not familiar with Linanthes, but I didn't have my first sprout until March 5th last year. How much sun are your containers getting? If they are on the south side of your home, in full sun all day, you might need to move them when we get closer to spring. Otherwise, they may dry out too easily.

LOL, Dafy, I think it makes you just like the rest of us! I have about that same number of seed packets, but my plan (so far) is to only sow about 75 different things. But if you figure in the fact that I sowed as many as 40 seeds in one container ... that's a LOT of plants!!! Some things, like Alyssum, I will plant out in little hunks-of-seedlings, but others, like peppers and tomatoes, I'll only be sowing 2 or 3 seeds per container.

Yes, I predict our gardens will be bursting at the seams by this summer!!!


    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 1:51AM
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Thanks Highalt. I'm in Golden, where are you? I have three of my containers on the south side. They get a LOT of sun and I think you're right. I need to move them. My neighbors will probably appreciate it too. There's a limit to how many milk jugs and soda bottles one can have on the front porch!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 9:47AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Dafy, I missed your second post last night. When I submitted my message, yours wasn't there, then this morning there it was in front of mine. Anyway, if they are freezer bags, how about writing on the actual bag with a permanent marker. That way if the clothespin gets misplaced, you'll still know what's in there. Then you can reuse the clothespins next year. Or put the name on a piece of tape, and put the tape on the clothespin, where you can remove it at the end of the season. Just throwing out some ideas, since I haven't actually tried the baggie method yet.

Loveseeds, I'm on the western side of the state, west of Glenwood Springs. I hear ya' about the pot "ghetto". My DH grumbles about my containers, and they are neatly arranged in milk crates on the patio, in the fenced in backyard. Fortunately, his bark is worse than his bite, LOL!


    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 7:39PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

I decided to start small and only did 5 gallon-size baggies today. Turns out the local grocery store just started carrying freezer tape so I got a couple rolls of that and used a china marker - we'll see how it works. *fingers crossed*

Planted today:
Eupatorium - Joe Pye Weed
Hosta - New American Hybrid Mix - perennial
Toadlily - Tricyrtis Miyazaki - Hardy perennial
Myosotis - Bluebird Forget Me Not - perennial
Ageratum houstonianum - floss flower - annual

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 8:42PM
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Azura(z5 CO)

Okay here is my list so far:

  • Foxglove Digitalis Monstrousa -Pinetree Seeds

  • Foxglove Digitalis Excelsior Hybrid -Pinetree Seeds

  • Foxglove Digitalis Dwarf Red -Pinetree Seeds

  • Foxglove Digitalis Foxy -Pinetree Seeds

  • Carpet Mix Cosmos -Pinetree Seeds

  • Sonata Carmine Shades Cosmos -Pinetree Seeds

  • Sunset Cosmos -Pinetree Seeds

  • Fluffy Ruffles Poppy -Pinetree Seeds

  • Mexican Hat Ratibida -Trade

  • Yellow Bulbine Lily Seeds -Ebay

  • Butterfly Bush Buddleia 'Summer Lilac' -Retail pkg Aimers

  • Purple Majesty Millet -collected

  • Unknown Daylily (Park on Quebec)-collected

  • Unknown Tall Coreopsis (Lonetree Library) -collected

  • Unknown Short Coreopsis (Lonetree Library) -collected

  • Butterfly Blue Delphinium Chinesis -collected

  • Goblin Blanket Flower -collected

  • Helenium Moorheim Beauty -collected

  • Balloon Flower -collected

  • Bubblegum Agastache Cana 'Purple Pygmy' -Diane's Seeds

  • Delphinium elatum 'Black Knight' -Diane's Seeds

  • Butterfly Blue Delphinium Chinesis - Diane's Seeds

The Yellow Bulbine Lily is tropical but I had zero germination following the instructions last year so I figured I had nothing to lose. It was supposedly fresh 2007 seed that I purchased from an Ebay seller which I will never do again. By the time you figure out the seeds have poor germination, its too late to leave feedback. I prefer reputable companies.
When do you guys start the majority of your annuals?
How about vegetables?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 11:11PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Hi, Azura! Nice list, I can tell you have been busy!

I'm planning to wait until late March/early April for most of my annuals, though I have already sown some annual Alyssum and Dianthus. On the vegetables, I have already sown some lettuces, and broccoli, and all of my perennial herbs. I'm holding off until April for my tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, and I am direct seeding my carrots, beans, canteloupe, and peas.

I am picturing you outside the library with your seed baggies in hand, looking around to see if the coast is clear, LOL!

Happy sowing,

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 11:25PM
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BradleyQT(z5 Westminster/Broomfield)

As soon as I decide what I need to plant, I'm cutting up my pop bottles. But first, I need a plan for my neglected backyard.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 2:48AM
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Azura(z5 CO)

LOL Bonnie,
I asked permission at the library and I figured Id get a yes if I explained myself well because librarians tend to be conservation-minded.
I will have to admit that I'm a naughty seed snatching lady when it comes to unappreciated late season daylily seeds at the local parks though. Another day or so and those seeds would have been in the wind. They are common stella de oro so I wasnt snatching anything valuable. I love the challenge of growing them from seed!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 7:31PM
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Growing from seed is so much more fun than just buying a plant! I think this forum is bad for me. Every time I check in and read what everyone else is planting, I order more seeds! Jeannie

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 11:23AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Well, no WSing for me this week. Too busy with Valentine's related activities for the kids' classes. However, I did place an order with Swallowtail Seeds as my present from DH : )

Here's what I ordered:

Beans, Pole 'Trionfo Violetto'
Carrot 'Purple Haze'
Carrot 'Rainbow Mix'
Gazania 'Daybreak Bronze'
Perilla, Red
Portulaca 'Sundial Cream'
Portulaca 'Sundial Mango'
Scabiosa 'Moon Dance'
Verbena 'Peaches and Creams'

So I guess my expected 75 containers, may end up being closer to 100! I've got quite a few 2L bottles that need to be prepped, and I am hoping to sow a few more things this week. Anyone else sow anything lately?


    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 3:09PM
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dereks(6 Utah)

Yep. I just put out some Heliopsis. Last week I put out Shirley Poppies and Verbascum. I have so few seeds to put out so I do a little each week to make it last. I'm finished now until April. That is when I will start annuals.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 6:46PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Dereks, which Verbascum did you sow? I did 'Southern Charm' last year, which I really liked. Now I'd like to try 'Copper Rose' or 'Honey Dijon', but those seeds are very expensive. T & M is charging $7.95 for 10 seeds! That's almost a dollar a seed!!!

Today I sowed:

African daisy 'Buff Beauty'
Amaranth 'Pygmy Torch'
Calendula 'Pink Surprise'
Calendula 'Zeolights'
Summer Savory
Lettuce 'Black Seeded Simpson'
Lettuce 'Parris Island Cos'

I think that just about does it until April. Most everything I have left to sow are frost tender annuals.

Hey Skybird, have you gotten started yet?

Happy sowing,

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 5:58PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

No, Bonnie, IÂve been procrastinating (about a LOT of things lately!). But when I was outside today, I started thinking that I better get it done soon, or it isnÂt gonna be "winter" sowing anymore! I have another doctorÂs appointment tomorrow, and then PT, but IÂm resolving to get a bunch of stuff done and outside on Wednesday. (The flats are filled and ready, and the place where IÂm gonna put them outside is cleaned up and raked smooth!)

IÂll be back here with a report when I get something done,

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 6:42PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Well, I didnÂt get it done yesterdayÂit just wasnÂt a "good" day and I didnÂt get ANYTHING doneÂbut I did finally at least get started today!

I got all 7 of my flats resaturated, got my seeds divided up as to what IÂm putting in which flat, and I got labels made for and actually got the first two flats sown! Tomorrow I WILL finish the other 5 flats!

In the first flat I started with something very appropriate to this thread! ItÂs the Agastache ÂApache Sunset I got from YOU, Bonnie!

I also did:
>>Lavatera tauricensi from Stevation
>>Larkspur ÂRocket from Stevation  itÂs a reseeding annual, right Steve?
>>Candy Lily  Pardancanda x norrisii I think  trade
>>Gypsophila repens, Pink creeping babyÂs breath  Seedman Â08
>>Arenaria montana, Sandwort - Olde
>>Lilium, Trumpet Lily  T&M old  two varieties
>>Lychnis chalcedonica, Maltese Cross  collected, old  Last spring I started some store bought seed for thisÂand it turned out to be Geum!!! This year IÂll get to see if itÂs red or yellow Geum!

In the second flat I did:

>>Tanacetum, Painted daisies  Seedman Â08
>>Penstemon barbatus - ÂRondo I think  collected, old
>>Penstemon grandiflorum (or grandiflorus) Â collected
>>Androsace sarmentosa ÂStardust - collected Â07  a FAVORITE of mine - reseeding annual
>>Sisyrinchium (californicum I think) Â Yellow-eyed grass (or yellow blue-eyed grass!) Â collected - tender perennial
>>Mirabilis multiflora, Desert or Rocky Mountain Four OÂClock  from Cheryl/PaulinoÂs  thereÂs still rock mulch where this one is supposed to go!
>>Berlandiera lyrata, Chocolate flower  from Cheryl/PaulinoÂs  milk chocolate scented yellow flowers  IÂve always wanted some of this stuff! It always made me HUNGRY when I walked by it at Paulino's!

There are at least two of each, more of a few of them. When I started looking at the flats I decided I had room for more than 9 individual plants in each. I may regret that decision laterÂbut IÂll worry about it then! This is gonna be interesting, Âcause this seed ranges from brand new to OLDE! Some of it goes back to seed I collected when I was still working at PaulinoÂs (Â99 last year), and some of it is WAY older than that, and is mail order seed I bought way back when I first moved to Parker (Â74ish), so itÂs over 30 years old. I love to experiment, so IÂll really be looking forward to seeing what germinates and what doesnÂt. The olde seeds are obviously very heavily sown. And I figure for whatever doesnÂt come up there will just be more room in the flats for the things that do germinate. So itÂs a win win situation! Right???

I still donÂt have a CLUE where half this stuff is gonna go, but you all understand starting WAY more stuff than you can useÂand then finding SOMEWHERE to put it! So itÂll all work out in the end!

IÂll report back with another list tomorrow. Gotta get the rest of the labels done...

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 9:07PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Congratulations, Skybird! I have to warn you, once you get started it's hard to stop, LOL.

I had to look up a couple of the ones on your list that I was unfamiliar with. The Arenaria montana looked pretty cute.

On the Geum, it could be orange too. I have one that is kind of peach colored called 'Mango Lasi' and a bright orange one called 'Fireball'. This year, I've winter sowed 'Blazing Sunset', which is a red one. I really like them. The foliage is attractive, so they look nice even when they are not in bloom.

I'm also trying a Lychnis this year, but the Maltese Cross is too tall for the spot I want to put it, so I went with a shorter variety called 'Lumina Bronzeleaf Red'.

Both the Lychnis and Geum are going to go in that little island bed, as soon as I expand it. I've also winter sowed Euphorbia 'Rhubra' for that area, but I have read that it can be difficult to germinate, so I'll have to wait and see on that one.

Do the flats your using have dividers in them? If so, how big is each section that you are planting in?

I'm hoping my Valentine's order from Swallowtail comes in tomorrow, then I'll have a few more things to sow.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 10:41PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Bonnie,

The Arenaria is one of the things I decided when I worked at PaulinoÂs that I HAD to have some day. I know the flowers are just white, but everytime I saw it blooming I had to think what a "bright" plant it was. And itÂs a nice short one I can stick between other things. The problem, tho, might be that this is some of the olde seed, so the odds of germination are probably less than 50/50. WeÂll seeÂand if it doesnÂt work this time, IÂll either be looking for fresh seed, or a plant to get me started.

And I said red or yellow for the Geum, Âcause theÂLychnisÂseed I used last year was just cheap pick-it-up-at-Walmart seed, so IÂm sure itÂs not a fancy hybrid, and red ÂMrs. Bradshaw and yellow 'Lady Stratheden are the two most "generic" Geums there are. The REAL problem is that now the Geum is back against the fence where I wanted something tall, so now IÂm gonna have to move them, but IÂll wait till they bloom so I know what color they are. Either color would work for me. I really like red, yet I have very little yellow, so I could use more. Oh, and when I checked the Geum a few days ago, I found itÂs starting its spring growth already, so theyÂre getting a nice, early start.

The flats are just completely open 10" X 10" plastic flats. Back in the mid 70's I got a whole case of them thru one of my brotherÂs suppliers so I got them wholesale and he just had them direct shipped to me. Got a case of green 6" pots and a box of 1000 plastic plant labels and a few other thingsÂall of which IÂm still using! The flats are fairly lightweight plastic so I use two of them together to give them more strength, and, being old, some of them are starting to break up, but I still have a bunch of brand new ones left that should last me the rest of my life (which may not be too long if I keep running into airplanes head first! ;-) ) When I get the rest of the stuff sown, IÂll take a picture of my setup to post, and IÂll stick an empty flat in it so you can see what IÂm talking about. I use these flats for rooting a lot of stuffÂlike Swap stuffÂand after itÂs rooted, I just pull the roots apart if theyÂre growing together. ItÂs always worked so far. For this use I DO wish they were a little bit deeper, but I still think itÂs gonna work.

Is your Euphorbia, E. amygdaloides ÂRubra"? IÂve never seen it with the "h" in it. If thatÂs what you have, hereÂs the germination info from the Tom Clothier site: Euphorbia amygdaloides, characias, corollata, longifolia, nicaeensis, rigida, seguieriana, and wallichii , Sow at Max. 5ºC (41ºF), germination irregular, often several months.

It looks like winter sowing to get the cold will be perfect for it, but anytime something says "irregular" germination, I recommend sowing a bunch of seed so you, hopefully, get a few to germinate sooner rather than later. You also might want to surface sow it, or sow it very shallowly. Several of the...

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 1:28AM
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dereks(6 Utah)

Bonnie, I sowed Verbascum phoeniceum 'violetta'. I got them from Dianeseeds.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 12:18PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Skybird, sorry about the spelling. You are correct, it is Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Rubra.' I would have sowed heavily, but there was only 15 seeds in the packet. If I don't get any germination, I'll be tempted to order the one I really wanted which was 'Bonfire' (see link). As far as I know, you can't purchase seed for that one, but the 'Rubra' sounded similar.

That island bed is definitely going to be expanded this spring, and I'm also going to make a corner bed, in that back corner by the alley. Eventually, those two corners could be connected with one long bed ... but not this year : ) That corner bed is where my Rose of Sharons are going, along with both of my Dendranthema 'Rhumba's, and the Kniphofia that I wintersowed last year. That should clear out some space in my main perennial bed. Did I tell you that I ordered the Hibiscus syriacus purpureus 'Variegata' from Bluestone as a replacement? I know the blooms don't fully open, but the foliage is interesting enough that I think it would look good anchoring that bed next to the front porch.

Dereks, I noticed that Diane's price was $2.00 for 150 of the 'Violetta' seeds. That sure is a lot better deal than the hybrid ones T & M, and Parks sells!

Oh, by the way, Walmart has their $ .10 and $ .30 seeds racks out now. Not that any of us probably need any more seeds, but thought I should mention it : )

Happy sowing,

Here is a link that might be useful: Euphorbia polychroma 'Bonfire'

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 3:52PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Well I finally got the next five flats outside! Ran into a few "distractions" along the way! When I looked in my Fragaria vesca seed pack and discovered it was empty I HAD to go down in the basement to look thru my two 24" long drawers to see if I had anymore. ERROR! ERROR! I KNEW better than to look thru a bunch of seeds I hadnÂt looked thru for a while! So I wound up "replacing" the missing alpine strawberry seeds with a couple dozen other things! So I went thru the packets I hadnÂt sown yet and decided to not do a few of themÂbut I still wound up with more than I had in the first place! Now IÂm gonna have to fill a couple more flats with soil to have somewhere for the rest of them! Could this possibly be a song that never ends...................

HereÂs what I put in the five flats I got done today:

>>Dianthus gratianopolitanis ÂSpotti - collected, old
>>Heuchera sanguinea, Coral bells - collected, old, unknown varietyÂprobably seed from ÂBressingham HybirdsÂ
>>Polymonium caeruleum, JacobÂs ladder - collected  killed one of these since I moved into this house and want another oneÂlove the fragrance!
>>Hosta ÂGinko Craig - this was old collected seed and IÂll be VERY surprised if any of it comes up
>>Aquilegia saximontana, Dwarf Rocky Mountain columbine - collected  I was DELIGHTED to discover I still had some seed for this. I thought I had given it all to PaulinoÂs one year when they had lost their supply of it. I absolutely LOVE this tiny columbine. Fingers crossed on this one!
>>Amsonia tabernaemontana - collected, old  donÂt really know much about this, but if I took the time to collect the seed, it must be something I liked!
>>Dianthus barbatus, Sweet William, bright red tall - collected, old  doubt that thisÂll come true from seed, but weÂll see!
>>Chasmanthium latifolium Northern sea oats - found two grass seeds I had collected, and IÂll be surprised if they germinate, but would like to have some for dried arrangements so I hope they do.
>>Briza maxima Quaking oat grass - ditto above!

>>Fragaria ÂYellow Wonder alpine strawberries - Pinetree Â05
>>Fragaria ÂFresca - Parks olde
>>Clematis lanuginosa ÂCandidaÂ, HUGE all white flower - collected, old - these Clematis are two of the things I discovered in the basement - IÂll be surprised if they germinate, but they go on the privacy lattice if they do.
>>Clematis ÂHenryiiÂ, HUGE white flower with black stamens - collected, old

>>Eschscholzia californica, ÂChrome Queen CA poppy - Seedman Â08
>>Eschscholzia californica, ÂApricot Chiffon - Seedman Â08
>>Eschscholzia californica ÂMission Bells Mix - Seedman Â08
>>Papaver nudicaule, Iceland poppies - trade/Stevation Â07

>>Papaver somniferum, Opium poppies, red & white - Fall Swap/Cnetter Â07
>>Papaver somniferum, Opium poppies, pink - Fall Swap/Cnetter Â07
>>Papaver somniferum, Opium poppies, mixed - Fall Swap Â07 (IÂm bringing opium to...

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 12:07AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Wow, Skybird, once you got started, you REALLY got started, LOL!!!

Uh, I don't have Gaillardia 'Fanfare', but I think I sent you some 'Goblin' seeds.

I really want to do some more WSing, but a lot of what is left to sow are tender annuals, so I am trying to restrain myself. It's hard though on a snowy day like today!


    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 3:18PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

I actually planted the second round last weekend, but haven't had time to post much this week. I'm still doing mostly baggies and I'm putting a chopstick in them to hold them upright. I'm holding back about half of everything I've sowed so far just in case.

Last weekend I sowed:
Cranesbill - Geranium "Pratense"
Clematis "Radar Love" (2-liter bottle)
Astilbe - x arendsii mix
10-week stock
Love lies bleeding
Cleome spinosa - Spider flower - 2 different colors
Rudbeckia "Irish Eyes"
Campanula - Canterbury bells
Bergenia "Redstart"

Now all I need is snow...

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 11:48PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Here is what I sowed today:

Calendula 'Apricot Daisy'
Petunia 'Flambe Salmon'
Petunia 'Prism Sunshine Hyb.'
Portulaca 'Cream'
Portulaca 'Mango'
Sage, Broadleaf
Scabiosa 'Moon Dance'

Anyone have any suggestions for how to sow tiny seeds like the Petunias and Portulaca? They were smaller than a speck of pepper, and despite my efforts to sprinkle them around, I think all of the seeds came out at once. If I would have known how tiny they were, I think I would have ordered more than one packet of each, so I would have had more room for error.


    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 8:13PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

Here is a suggestion somebody had for tiny parsley seeds over on the Herb forum (might work for tiny flower seeds) -

"Parsley: Soak the seeds overnight in water. An easy way to plant the very tiny seeds is to make "seed tape" using strips of tissue or toilet paper. Fold the paper, place in water overnight and then lay out these strips and cover lightly with soil to plant. It does germinate slowly and grows much better when seeded in soil rather that transplanting."


    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 11:25PM
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Azura(z5 CO)

Okay Im done with my second round of sowing:

  • Lychnis viscaria ssp. Atropurpurea - Diane's Seeds

  • Papaver rupifragum 'Double Tangerine Gem'- Diane's Seeds

  • Dianthus Amazon Neon Purple - Trade

  • Lychnis viscaria 'Feuer' - Diane's Seeds

  • Platycodon grandiflorus 'Hakone Blue' - Diane's Seeds

  • Lychnis x arkwrightii 'Vesuvius' - Diane's Seeds

  • Lychnis chalcedonica Maltese Cross - Diane's Seeds

  • Fernleaf Dill - Burpees

  • Extra Curly Dwarf Parsley - Burpees

  • Purple Ruffles Basil - Burpees

  • Common Chives - Burpees

  • Sweet Basil - Burpees

  • Blue Eyed Grass - Botanical Interests

  • Black Eyed Susan - Botanical Interests

  • Borage officinalis - Burpees

  • Consolida ajacis Larkspur 'Rocket'- Trade (Thank you Stevation)

  • Lavatera Tauricensis -Trade (Thank you Stevation)

  • Delphinium Blue/Purple - Trade (Thank you Cnetter)

  • Papaver Soniferum - Trade (Thank you Cnetter)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 11:11PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Can you believe it?! February 28th! I am amazed. Last year's first sprouts arrived March 5th.

The winners are:

Broccoli 'Early Purple Sprouting' (WS 2/5/08)
Lettuce 'Jericho' (WS 1/30/08)

...and the biggest surprise

Calendula 'Pink Surprise' (WS 2-18-08)

I'm a little concerned about the Calendula germinating this early, as my last frost date is the end of May. Now I'm going to be worrying over them like a mother hen.

Spring is on its way!!!

Anyone else have germination? You better go take a peek in those containers, you never know!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 4:29PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Well there better not be any of mine germinating yet! Mine were only sown a week ago! I do worry about them coming up too soon, though, because weÂve been having so much warm weather. ItÂs been up to 61 on the shady side of my yard again today, and 70 on the sunny side (in the shade). TomorrowÂs supposed to be the same, and Saturday could be up to 70 on the shady side. If this keeps up, IÂm gonna have a bunch of stuff when itÂs still too early to put them in the ground.

But I finally got my pictures downloaded to post, so hereÂs a picture of my flats after they were sown and outside, and thereÂs an empty flat in the foreground since you were asking what they were like. (Click to enlarge)

And here are the same flats after I covered them up with the plastic. The plastic is very thin (itÂs a cheap paint dropcloth), but itÂs folded up so itÂs 3 layers thick. The sides are completely tucked under to keep it from blowing around and to be sure all the moisture stays in. The flats have holes in and are open to the ground underneath for drainage. After I put them out we got a little bit of snow one nite, and when it melted it left puddles of water on top of each flat where the plastic sagged slightly down into the flats, and IÂve left the water there because it seems to be keeping them cold better when the sunÂs shining on them. ThereÂs more snow predicted around here for Sunday, and I hope it happens, Âcause I REALLY donÂt want this stuff germinating yet.

And hereÂs one more picture of the whole area. The flats are the white-looking square on the right! (The white sheet on the left is covering the beets and carrots and parsnips, and the black bags are whatÂs left of the neighborÂs maple leaves that still donÂt fit on the compost pile. The compost pile is in the back with 3 pumpkins on top of it!)

This is a REALLY interesting experiment, and itÂll be fun to see what comes upÂbut not yet, please!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 5:59PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Hi Skybird,

The lettuce and broccoli will be fine, but I may put all of the containers of tender annuals into one crate, to make it easy to bring into the garage if we have a real cold spell once they have all sprouted.

It looks like you found a great spot for your wintersowing! You may want to check your flats for sprouts in a few days. Did you notice that the Calendula that has sprouted for me was sown just 10 days ago?! And our temperatures have been much cooler than yours!

Does your plastic cover have any ventilation holes? If not, it may get too hot under there, and bake the seeds and sprouts. They don't have to be big ones, but you need some air circulation.

Here is what my winter sowing area looks like today:

Of course, I'm not even half way done yet!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 6:57PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

No holes yet, Bonnie, but since I'm still home 24/7 I'm watching them to be sure they don't get too warm. They're only in the sun for a little while yet at this time of the year, and the water that's now on top of the plastic is doing a good job of keeping it cool under the plastic. If you look at the pictures above you can see how quickly the sun is moving past the house putting them back in shade. The pictures were taken just a few minutes apart. I was rushing to get the plastic on to get another picture before they got into too much shade for a good picture.

And---I'm not gonna even look for seedlings yet! I don't want any yet, so---head in sand!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 7:39PM
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aliceg8(CO 5)

Bonnie and Skybird, your stuff looks so neat and organized. I've only sowed a few containers (about a month ago I guess) and they are haphazardly placed against the house behind the junipers:

Purple Millet (from Bonnie)
Nigra Hollyhock (from Skybird)
Lavatera (from Steve)
Malva Zebrina (from Skybird)
Columbine Chrysantha (from Skybird)
Purple Coneflower seeds from 2005
Cosmos Sensation from 2006

The only thing that has sprouted so far (as of a couple of days ago) are the cosmos. (I didn't know to wait and do the annuals later!)

My problem has been getting containers. There's just two of us, and we get our milk bottled and so to our neighbors. So this weekend I'm going to scour the local coffee shops.

I just took a look at my seed stash, and here's what I have:

12 packets of Nichols vegetable seed & one orange Cosmos left over from last year. I'll probably direct sow all of this, since this worked last year.

Seed collected last year:

2 kinds of Morning Glory
Gerbera Daisy
Pink snapdragon
Orange Cosmos
Black tomato

Traded seeds:

Calendula (from Bonnie)
Hibiscus Disco Belle Pink (from Skybird)
Mixed color Hollyhock (from Skybird)

New seeds ordered:

Nasturtium Caribbean Cocktail (Vermont Bean)
Nigella (VB)
Gazania Tiger striped mix (T&M)
Larkspur Gentian Blue (T&M)
Centaurea "Dairy Maid" (T&M)
Viola "Rose Shades" (T&M)
Sunflower "Velvet Queen" (T&M)
Zinnia "Red Spider" (T&M)
Basil, "Swiss Sunset" (Territorial)
Alyssum, "Snow Cloth" (Terr)
Calendula, "Triangle Flashback" (Terr)
Cosmidium "Phillipine" (Terr)
Nicotiana, "Only the Lonely" (Terr)
Nasturtium, "Jewel Mix" (Terr)
California Poppy, "Apricot Chiffon" (Terr)

Plus 14 new packets of vegetable seeds from Nichols and Territorial.

Oh, and I forgot, Steve's herb seeds from Richters. Those came last night. Another 8 packets of seeds!

So, obviously, I have a lot of seeds left I can winter sow. Just getting it done will be the problem! I scavenged several empty 1 gallon nursery pots the other day, and I'll try using those with plastic wrap on top too. In all cases, I'm only winter sowing 1/2 the seed I have - just in case!

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 11:49AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

More germination!

Alyssum 'Golden Queen'
Calendula 'Zeolights'
2nd container of Broccoli 'Early Purple Sprouting'
Lettuce 'Black Seeded Simpson'
Lettuce 'Parris Island Cos'

Maybe the containers are getting TOO much sun! They aren't in the shade until 2 or 3 in the afternoon, but this spot is the most out of the way place I have.

Anyway, does anyone know how tender Calendula is? Last year I sowed it late, close to the last frost date, so I'm not sure how cold hardy they are.

Alice, congratulations on getting started! If you lived closer, I'd share some 2L bottles and milk jugs with you. Hopefully, you can score some at your nearest Starbucks.

Anyone else have germination yet?


    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 3:31PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

Nothing yet :-( I did 5 baggies on Feb 10th and 11 more on Feb 16th. I know some of them had longer germination periods (toad lily can take 7-30 days). I still have a bunch of containers that I haven't had time to cut and more seeds to get out.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 1:48AM
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aliceg8(CO 5)

Score! I got 7 milk jugs at Starbucks today. With this and the coffee grounds we picked up last year these guys are becoming quite the supporters of my gardening efforts!

Question... is it too late to winter sow lettuce? Should I just direct sow under my row cover instead?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 1:38PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

So, I have seven milk jugs ready to go now with moistened seed starter mix in them -- am I too late? I wondered when the weather got warm last week, but it's cold again now, so maybe I'm not too late?

I need to go through my inventory and focus on the most important perennials (and a few trees) since I don't have a ton of containers, so I don't have a list right now, but just in general -- is it getting too late for WSing to have its desired effects?

I will have some annuals like petunias to sow as well, but I think those should come later, right?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 5:38PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Alice, I don't think it's too late to WS lettuce. Last year, I WS lettuce and spinach on March 17, and had germination in a week. On the other hand, if you have a row cover, and wouldn't have to worry about the wind or birds carrying the seed away, you would save yourself the trouble of transplanting it later on.

Steve, I don't know what your last frost date is, but if you still have 3 or 4 weeks of lows below freezing, that should be enough for most perennials. I'm not even half way through with my wintersowing, but the rest of it is annuals, and vegetables. You could do the Petunias anytime over the next month or so. I've already sown mine, not because they needed to be done yet, I just wanted to do them, because I have such a long list of annuals to sow this year.

Now if I could just narrow down my 20 something varieties of tomato seeds, down to about half a dozen, I would start wintersowing some of them.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 10:34PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

I started my tomatoes and peppers this past weekend; 4 seeds in each cup and two cups for each variety (except bloody butcher, which only has one cup).

nothing going on in the baggies I started in mid-February yet, but most of these have longer germination periods


    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 9:29PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

I can't believe none of you guys on the Front Range have germination yet! Especially since we had so much snow and cold weather this year, and I had my first sprouts show up 2 weeks ago.

Jen, that looks great! Soooo, do you work for Starbucks, or did you just "borrow" their cart, LOL?


    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 1:04AM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

I used to work for them, which turned into a nightmare. When they stop certain displays they throw them out - I threw it out (I just threw it out to my car); I have a few things I rescued :-). It used to be in the basement with misc things stored on it and I had just moved it to the garage last week until I found another way to use it. It hit me when I was getting ready to do the tomatoes and peppers and trying to figure out how to move all of those cups and keep the wind and neighborhood cats off of them.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 1:48AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Hello fellow WSers!

I finally got some tomatoes started, and I did them like you Jen, in cups inside of baggies. Here is what I WS today:

MiniBush Yellow Cherry
Supersweet 100's

Gazania 'Daybreak Hybrid Mix'
Gazania 'Daybreak Bronze'
Verbena 'Amarillo'
Verbena 'Peaches & Creams'

Here is what has germinated since I last checked:

Dianthus knappii (seeds from my own garden)
Lychnis 'Lumina Bronzeleaf Red' (only one sprout so far)
Alyssum 'Apricot Shades'
Dianthus 'Ideal Select Red'
Lettuce 'Buttercrunch'
Lettuce 'New Red Fire'

Now that it is starting to warm a bit, don't forget to check those containers for sprouts.

Happy almost spring!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 3:53PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Well, I unwrapped my WS flats yesterday and, much to my amazement, I have things up already! (Just sown on February 21!) Mostly itÂs all the different kinds of poppies. IÂm going to need to find a way to prop the plastic up so itÂs not laying down tight against the soil anymore. Decided IÂd wait till after next Monday since we could possibly get a snowstorm then, and since itÂs supposed to be pretty cool till at least then, they shouldnÂt grow enough to be damaged by having their heads squashed down before then! TheyÂre still just tiny, tiny, just barely visible seedlings. As a matter of fact I had to REALLY look to spot some of them!

WhatÂs coming up so far is:

Three varieties of opium poppies
Three varieties of California poppies
Papaver Rhoeas, Flanders poppies
Iceland poppies from Stevation
Androsace ÂStardustÂ
Penstemon barbatus - I think itÂs probably ÂRondo and IÂm pretty amazed itÂs upÂespecially this quicklyÂsince itÂs old seed I collected when I was at PaulinoÂs. Maybe thereÂs hope for some of the other old seed IÂm trying too!

This is fun,

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 12:22AM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

Skybird, chopsticks work great for propping up the plastic. I picked up 100 pairs at an Asian market a couple of years ago for around $4. I'm using them to keep the baggies from falling in my mater & pepper cups and in the other things sown in baggies.

I still need to get the poppies and other flowers going.

Dafy -> feeling like the white rabbit :-)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2008 at 12:47AM
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dereks(6 Utah)

I have two containers of shirley poppy sprouts. I'm amazed that they would sprout already because it has been so cold. They were beginning to sprout when we were having lows in the low 20s. Since then it has warmed up some and now the containers are chuck full of sprouts. I guess they are in a hurry to get started.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 4:42PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Skybird and Dereks, congratulations on your sprouts!!!

Once you get sprouts, you'll get container checking fever, LOL! I've had containers with no sprouts in the morning, have sprouts in them by afternoon, which makes it hard not to peek in there, if you happen to be passing by.

We had some snow this morning, which is gone now, but I went to check on my sprouts. Everything looks fine, the weather hasn't bothered them at all. I also found some new sprouts today:

Calendula 'Apricot Daisy'
Amaranth 'Pygmy Torch'

Last year, I had such late germination on my wintersown peppers, but someone on the WS forum had an idea that I might try. Sow them in a WSing container inside, but while the sprouts are still pretty small, go ahead and put the container outside. The extra heat from the mini-greenhouse will protect them from the cold, and the sun exposure should encourage growth faster than being indoors in my windowsill, plus they will already be somewhat hardened off, since they will be exposed to the outdoor temperature fluctuations, even if the container buffers that effect a bit. Then I can gradually remove the top half just during the day, until the danger of frost is past. Hey, I'm willing to try anything, since I didn't get any fresh peppers, even from the storebought transplants last year. Since I don't have a greenhouse, or room for a light setup inside, this seems like the next best option. Anyone have any thoughts about this idea?


    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 6:44PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

I received a couple of trades in the mail today, so of course I had to sow a couple more things:

Gomphrena 'QIS Carmine'
Rudbeckia 'Irish Eyes'
Sedum 'Autumn Joy' (they sent the whole seedhead, and I couldn't exactly identify the seeds themselves, so I just broke it up and sprinkled it around, then put a little soil on top. Will see if it works.)


    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 8:25PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Wow, Bonnie, I'd like to be one of your neighbors! You'll probably have so much stuff that you'll be giving away young plants in a few months.

So, I finally got around to it and winter sowed ten things tonight. I've been trying to frame my basement this month, so I haven't had much time to pay attention to garden stuff. Here's what I sowed today:

Echinacea 'Ruby Giant'
Lychnis 'Rose Campion'
Alyssum 'Oriental Nights'
Callirhoe involucrata
California poppy 'Summer Sorbet'
Coreopsis 'Mahogany Midget'
Thymus serpyllum
Vitex agnus-castus
Syringa reticulata 'Mandshurica'
Aquilegia caerulea

Some of you will recognize these as things you gave me in trades this winter. Thank you so much for them! I still have lots of other seeds, but I have such limited time these days. I also ordered some new seeds this week. I don't know how I'm going to do all the garden things and finish my basement this spring!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 12:55AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Remember the Callirhoe has VERY irregular and often slow germination, Steve. If you didn't put in a bunch of seed, add some more. A few of them will germinate more quickly than the others, so it gives you better odds of getting something to germinate before you give up.

Keep the faith,

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 1:39AM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

I got 11 more containers sown saturday and have 10 more to get prepped - now I have to go out and get more soil sunday. That's still not everything I want to get started. I'll post the list soon.

No sprouts yet, but I'm reminding myself that what I planted takes awhile to germinate under normal conditions, so will take longer with WS.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 4:24AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Congratulations, Steve, on WSing your first containers! I hope that you are able to find time to do some more. It would be a shame to stop at ten containers, LOL!

Dafy, last year I didn't buy enough soil before winter set in, and had a hard time finding it when I got started WSing. This year, I stocked up, and I've already had to buy more. Thankfully, the stores have seed starting mix out already.

The only new sprouts today are the Lavender seeds I received from Skybird last year. When I sowed some of them last year, I didn't get any germination, so I am relieved to see them. Obviously the seeds were fine, it was just user error : )


    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 8:13PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

I picked up a 3 cubic foot bag so that should get me through. I didn't get anything sown today because of a stiff neck.

Saturday I sowed
3 different lettuces (all in one tray)
African daisy
Queen Anne's lace
"white daisy"
Hare's Tail grass
Clarkia - double mix
Poppy - Breadseed
Poppy - Double lavender
Poppy - Swan's Down
Snapdragon "Black Prince"
Gerbera Daisy - orange


    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 9:42PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Skybird, thanks for the reminder on the Callirhoe. When I got those in trade from you, I was impressed how well you labeled things, and I did read the irregular germination warning. I sowed them quite densely, and I still have a good bunch left over for next time. I hope I get some sprouts, because that's a plant I've been wanting for a long time.

And Bonnie, I do have three more containers ready to sow. I don't know what I'm going to do with all these plants if they all sprout!

Speaking of that, how do you handle the sprouts -- how long do you leave them in the containers, and do you thin them out if you leave them in there for a while? Do you find that the roots get damaged when transplanting if you've left them in the container too long? How long is too long? Do you scoop out clumps of them and just plant the clumps or do you try to separate the clumps apart and spread them out a lot? Do you transplant them to small pots to grow on or put them straight into the garden?

Wow, I didn't realize I had so many questions. Thanks for helping!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 11:44AM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Oh, I just realized I already asked a question back in January about how long to leave the sprouts in the containers. Sorry to repeat. But there are a few new questions in my last post -- mostly about separating the little guys when you remove from the containers. And whether they go straight into the garden or into pots.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 11:47AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Morning, Steve! I had to go back and read my previous answer, so I wouldn't repeat myself too, and I saw that I wrote I was going to have about 50 containers this year. Hmmmm... I'm already there, so I guess I was off by 25 or 50, but who's counting : )

Anyway, you can either plant the sprouts in chunks like little brownies or HOS (hunks of seedlings), which works great for groundcovers and things like Alyysum, Creeping Phlox, Portulaca, etc. For things that you only want one or two in each spot, you will have to separate them, a regular fork works great for this. That is one of the lessons I learned last year, not to sow too heavily. I only planted one seed per container for my tomatoes and peppers this year. That way they can stay there until I can plant them in the garden or into their permanent pots. Unless the garden space isn't ready yet, or you sowed too heavily, I wouldn't worry about potting them up. As long as you have 3" or 4" inches of soil in the container, the roots should be fine. I tried scooping the plants out of the container with a spoon when I planted out, but in the end, I ended up taking a scissors and cutting the container apart to get them out. Obviously, if you plan to reuse the same containers next year, this would not work for you, but with a family of five, we have an endless supply of milk, juice, etc. containers, so I just threw the leftover pieces into the recycle bin.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 12:21PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

It's about time...I finally have sprouts!

Matthiola incana - 10-week stock (sown 2/16/08)
Cranesbill geranium Pratense (sown 2/16/08)
Myosotis - Forget-Me-Not "Blue-Bird" (sown 2/10/08)

Only a couple of sprouts in each so far, but the baggie method is working.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 5:31PM
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Azura(z5 CO)

Ive got a bunch of sprouts now but Im still sowing. Im wondering at what point it officially becomes spring sowing?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 6:08PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

That's awesome, Dafy! Now you'll be hooked on WSing forever.

Here is a picture of my Alyssum 'Golden Queen' sprouts:

... and one of my lettuces, I can't remember which one I took a photo of, and yes, I oversowed a bit:

My most recent sprouts are:

African Daisy 'Buff Beauty'

I thought I was done ordering seeds for the year, but thanks to a few $ back from Uncle Sam, I just placed a couple of small seed orders, which included that beautiful Snapdragon 'Black Prince' on your list, Dafy!

It's time to start digging, so that I will have somewhere to put all of these plants!


    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 6:16PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Azura, I didn't see your post until after I sent mine, so what has sprouted for you so far? Last year, I kept WSing until the end of April. After that, most of what I planted were veggies that were direct sown. You can use the same method in the spring and summer, but you will probably want to give the containers more shade, and check them more often for water.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 6:24PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Sowed a few more things today. Since they were mostly annuals, I may be pushing my luck a bit, but I had time, and wanted to get a few more out of the way.

Alternanthera 'Purple Knight'
Coleus 'Wizard Sunset'
Helichrysum 'Silver Mist'
Parsley krausa
Salvia 'Coral Nymph'
Salvia 'Lady in Red'

Going to try and hold off a couple more weeks before I start basil, marigolds, or zinnias.

Happy spring!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 6:46PM
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Azura(z5 CO)

Okay I finally made a list of what has germinated. Please let me know if you think any of these sprouted too early and may need to be babied a bit. I hope I didnt sow some of these too early!

  • Red Dwarf Foxglove

  • Blanket Flower 'Goblin'

  • Clarkia anieba 'Tall Mix'

  • Siberian Wallflower

  • Agastache foeniculum - Anise Hyssop

  • Chives

  • Lychnis x arkwrightii 'Vesuvius'

  • Excelsior Foxglove

  • Borage

  • Lychnis chalcedonica Maltese Cross

  • Tall Coreopsis (Lonetree Library)

  • Butterfly Blue Delphinium

  • Fernleaf Dill

  • Purple Ruffles Basil

  • Lychnis viscaria 'Feuer'

  • Foxglove - Foxy

  • Short Coreopsis (Lonetree Library)

  • Dianthus Amazon Neon Purple

  • Larkspur 'Rocket'

  • Lychnis viscaria ssp. Atropurpurea

  • Papaver Somniferum

  • Black Eyed Susan

My container total is up to 70 now but Im coming to an end, I wont have room in my beds!!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 8:01PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

The only thing I see on your list that could be a problem, Azura, is the basil. We're supposed to get into the low 20's in the next couple nites, and I'm not sure if it can take colder temps when it only has seed leaves, but grown up basil is one of the first things to freeze in fall, so I'd watch that one pretty closely.

And I don't know anything at all about clarkia, so I can't help with that one, but everything else should be just fine outside---especially with the protection your winter sowing containers will give them.

Don'cha luv baby plants!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 8:19PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

All of a sudden I have to go out of town for about 10 days at the end of next week. Since I only have a few that are sprouting (and can't rely on my roomie to remember to check them while I'm gone), do you think I can move them to the shadiest part of the yard until I get back?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 12:18AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

That's probably a good idea, since it can't hurt them, and may save them if there is a heat wave. You may want to water them before you leave too. I'd be willing to bet you have some new babies when you get back!


    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 2:08AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

My most recent appearances are:

>>Tanacetum, Painted daisies
>>Gypsophila repens, Pink creeping babyÂs breath
>>Aubrieta, Rockcress, purple
>>Larkspur ÂRocketÂ
>>Armeria pseudarmeria, Large flowered thrift
>>Bellis perennis, English daisy
>>Briza maxima, Quaking oat grass
>>Dianthus barbatus, Sweet William, bright red tall
>>Berlandiera lyrata, Chocolate flower

And since there was no "head room" the way IÂm starting mine, I needed to do some modifications, which I did about a week ago. Since I have a large (relatively speaking) area covered, rather than individual "tall" containers, I needed to improvise a way to keep the plastic up off of the seedlings, so I decided to put several inverted standard one gallon pots around the edges of the flats, then I laid a piece of hardware cloth (that I got free on FreeCycle) over the entire top of the flats to support the (very thin) plastic, put the plastic over the whole thing and weighted it down with various things around the edges. I did put a short piece of a stake across the middle to keep the hardware cloth from "sagging" down in the middle. I just inserted the ends of the stake into the holes in two pots that were opposite each other about in the middle.

Here are two pictures of the setup now that the plastic is raised up several inches above the seedlings.

The plastic on the ends and on the back side is just tucked under the edges of the pots, and since thereÂs enough weight on top of the pots, it doesnÂt blow loose. And the plastic on the long, exposed side is wrapped around a piece of 2 X 2 that just happened to be the right length, and then weighted down with a couple bricks to keep it stabilized. In effect, IÂve now created a mini greenhouseÂI guess you might call it my version of a hoop houseÂwithout the hoops! :-)

When the sunÂs hitting it I roll the plastic up around the 2 X 2 on the long side to ventilate it, and if itÂs still getting too warm, I can pull the plastic out from under the pots on one or both ends to have adequate ventilation. (I have a picture of it with the side rolled up, but itÂs the only picture that hasnÂt been downloaded right now, and I donÂt want to waste batteries to do that one picture, so IÂll post it later sometime!) So far itÂs workingÂsince IÂm still off workÂbut if I werenÂt here to watch it, the whole thing would be kaput by now!

It was just snowing very lightly here a little while ago, but weÂre supposed to have a VERY warm week coming up, and IÂm going to be getting to the point where I have to start wateringÂand I donÂt think IÂm short enough to get inside my mini greenhouse, so I guess IÂll have to dismantle it one day to water, and I can check for additional germination again then...

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 7:44PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

OK, I was late sowing, and it's been only one week, but my Alyssum have started sprouting now. Cool!

I am a little concerned that my California poppies might be getting too warm out there, since they like cool temps to germinate. I moved them to a shadier spot.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 12:25AM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

Clarkia, Irish Eyes Rudbeckia and African Daisy are sprouting. I moved everything right up against the fence where they should be shaded most of the day. I'm off to Oklahoma tomorrow for about 10 days - cross your fingers the babies are fine while I'm gone.

One thing I did learn is not to use green ink because it bleaches out really fast. There are two containers that are either foxglove or catchfly - I managed to figure out what the others were based on the group of seeds I had sown that day and the letters that were still sort of visible (wintersowers wheel of fortune?)

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 5:44AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Last night the forecast called for a low of 19 degrees. I decided to put all of the containers that had sprouted together in a couple of milk crates and bring them into the unheated garage. All of the containers that hadn't germinated yet were left outside. When I woke up this morning it was only 15 degrees! I'm sure some of the tough ones, like Dianthus would have been okay, but I'm pretty sure I would have lost some sprouts if I hadn't moved them. Hopefully, there will only be one or two more nights where the lows drop into the teens.

Has anyone else had lows in the teens, and did your sprouts come through okay?


    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 12:48PM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Uh oh... I'd better check them when I get home. It got down to 16 at my house last night. I had Alyssum, CA Poppy, and a few Lychnis sprouting. I'll bet the poppies made it OK -- they're darn tough, but I don't know about the others.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 3:06PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

I sure hope not, I'm still in oklahoma and won't be able to check until sunday.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 7:40PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

IÂm finally getting back here with the picture of my mini greenhouse with the sideÂand one endÂrolled up!

I got down to 20 last nite, and didnÂt do anything special at all with my flats. They ARE covered with plastic, but since itÂs no longer touching anything, I really donÂt worry about the seedlings. If we should get down into the low teens at this point, I might go throw a sheet over the top of the plastic, but since this stuff has been living in the cold temps every nite, I figure it can pretty much fend for itself! You go, seedlings!

Nothing new to report on germination because the flats have stayed wet enough so I havenÂt had the plastic all the way off for the last week to check things out. My compost project kept me too busy to be doing much else!

Dafy! Stop and think about that green ink you used to mark your plants! Blue is the color that fades most easily (I used to operate an offset printing press = knowledge of colored inks!), and yellow isÂwellÂyellow! Green is blue and yellow! (Red fades very quickly too.) If youÂre marking on white plastic markers, I very highly recommend a soft lead pencil (#2 or softer) (I sold office supplies for 20 years too!) Graphite, which is what "lead" pencils are made with these days, will last a long time in sun without fading. And ordinary wood pencils are a LOT cheaper than the "garden markers" they sell that they claim wonÂt fadeÂthat DO fade. If youÂre marking on a dark colored pot, light color china markers (grease pencils) or crayons last a LONG time.

How did your seedlings do, Steve?


    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 1:08AM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

it was the only pen handy at the time - i've used both china marker and black sharpie.

I'm back from Oklahoma - seat backs and tray tables are in the upright and locked position :-). I had to cut back half of the lime basil in the aerogarden so it looks like pesto for dinner tomorrow. I went out and peeked at the baggies and two containers of poppies, canterbury bells and the white daisy are up. The cranesbill is not looking happy at all and lettuce looks toasted. I'll give everything a better once over tomorrow.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 12:21AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Hi, Dafy! I'm sorry to hear about your lettuce and cranesbill. Are they toast because of a hard frost, or has it been real warm there? I'm sorry but I'm a bit out of touch with what the weather has been doing on the other side of the state.

Last year, when we dropped into the teens unexpectedly, I lost a few sprouts, but it wasn't the whole container. It was mainly just the ones along the outside edge. Did you lose all of them? I've moved all of the sprouted containers into three milk crates, so that it makes it quick and easy to move into the garage, if I find out that temps are falling into the low 20's or less. Some things don't really need the extra protection, but if I'm going to bring some of them in, I might as well baby them all.

Here it has been windy for at least a week, and the forecast is calling for rain/snow and more wind the next couple of days. With the cool and cloudy weather, there has not been much germination lately. Most of the perennials are not up yet, except the Penstemon pinifolius 'Compactum'. So whoever I sent seed to, they should be viable.

Oh, and how was the Lime Basil pesto? I am going to grow Cinnamon, Lemon, Lettuce Leaf, Sweet, and Red Rubin Basils this year, but haven't tried the Lime before. Is there much of a difference between the Lime and the Lemon? With the recent weather we've had here, I'm holding off at least another week to sow them.

Most of the herbs I WS are up now, except the chives, garlic chives, rosemary, and parsley (that one was just sown a week ago). I'm beginning to think I'm chive impaired!

Well, my eyes are going blurry, so I'll call it a night.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 1:25AM
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stevation(z5a Utah)

Hey, sorry I've been too busy to visit here for a week or so. My seedlings made it through just fine! I still have Alyssum, CA Poppy, and Lychnis sprouting (more Lychnis than before now), plus some of the Iceland poppies are sprouting, too. Still no action on the others, but I was happy to see that our 16 degree morning last week didn't kill what was already sprouted.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 7:07PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

The lettuce got toasted - looks like it drained too well and had too much air circulation. The cranesbill may survive - I only had one sprout. As of yesterday I have Astilbe, Cleome, Queen Anne's lace, Joe Pye Weed and Floss Flower (Ageratum) sprouting - a couple were hard to see because the sprouts are almost the same color as the dirt. I covered the containers of baggies with sheets last night and won't check until the snow melts.

The pesto was fabulous - a couple of large handfuls of the lime basil, 3-4 small cloves of garlic, toasted pine nuts, pepper, lemon juice and fresh grated parmesan (sorry no measurements). I haven't tasted lemon basil to compare with the lime. The lime grows really well and has more of a lime aroma than flavor. I have WS'd any of the herbs yet; there was just too much going on with having to leave so unexpectedly and now I have to take my oldest shopping for a prom dress. I might need to sow these after everyone goes to bed by garage light :-)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 11:07PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

I was looking over my germination records, since it's too cold to go outside and do any gardening this morning, and thought I would post what has germinated for me so far, so here goes:

(32 containers out of 68 sown)
Alyssum 'Golden Queen'- WS 1/11 and 2/5, germ 3/1 and 3/8
Dianthus knappii - WS 1/11, germ 3/8
Lychnis 'Lumina Bronzeleaf Red' - WS 1/19, germ 3/8
Penstemon pinifolius 'Compactum' - WS 1/11, germ 3/28 (1st seeds harvested from my own garden to germinate, YIPPEE!)
Scabiosa 'Moon Dance' - WS 2/25, germ 4/8

African Daisy 'Buff Beauty' - WS 2/18, germ 3/18
Alyssum 'Apricot Shades' - WS 2/5, germ 3/8
Amaranth 'Pygmy Torch' - WS 2/18, germ 3/14
Calendula 'Pink Surprise' - WS 2/18, germ 2/28
Calendula 'Apricot Daisy' - WS 2/25, germ 3/14
Dianthus 'Ideal Select Red' - WS 2/5, germ 3/8
Gazania 'Daybreak Hyb. Mix' - WS 3/12, germ 3/24
Gazania Daybreak Bronze' - WS 3/12, germ 3/21
Gomphrena 'QIS Carmine' - WS 3/15, germ 4/8
Millet 'Jester' - WS 3/28, germ 4/8
Petunia 'Prism Sunshine Hyb.' - WS 2/25, germ 3/22
Verbena 'Amarillo' - WS 3/12, germ 4/2

Cilantro - WS 2/18, germ 3/18
Dill - WS 2/18, germ 3/18
Lavender - WS 1/27, germ. 3/16
Marjoram - WS 2/5, germ 3/8
Oregano - WS 1/19, germ 3/14
Sage - WS 2/25, germ 3/27
Spearmint - WS 1/15, germ 3/23
Broccoli 'Early Purple Sprouting' - WS 2/5 (2 cont.), germ 2/28 and 3/5
Lettuce 'Black Seeded Simpson' - WS 2/18, germ 3/1
Lettuce 'Buttercrunch' - WS 1/30, germ 3/8
Lettuce 'Jericho' - WS 1/30, germ 2/28
Lettuce 'New Red Fire' - WS 1/30, germ 3/8
Lettuce 'Parris Island Cos' - WS 2/18, germ 3/1

I noticed a lot of folks have poppies up, and realize that I hadn't sown those, so I did them this past week. Hopefully, they will pop up soon. I sowed the golden one that you sent me, Steve, and a cream colored one called 'Milkmaid'. The other thing I noticed that other folks have germination on is chives. This is my second year to WS them, and I did the regular kind, and the garlic chives. Neither one is up so far. Maybe someone can bring an established clump to the plant swap, if I don't get any germination. Most of the things I'm waiting on are perennials, with a few annuals that were just recently sown. Oh, and my wintersown tomatoes.

I'm going to wait another week or two, then sow my zinnias and basils, and then I will be officially done wintersowing. From there on out, everything else will get direct sown into the veggie garden.

Anyone else finished? Or just getting started?


    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 12:47PM
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Azura(z5 CO)

I've been done for over a month now, mostly because Ive been concentrating on amending my beds, keeping my compost hot and moving plants around. I have been naughty about getting the exact date of germination in my spreadsheet but I think I have less than ten items out of 70 left to germinate.
What else are you going to spring sow, Bonnie? Maybe I just need some ideas to get me going again.
Also, when are all you folks planning to take the covers off of your jugs?
Bonnie, I will be happy to give you a big clump of chives at the swap. I have the normal kind, although I wish I had the garlic chives too. I'm not even sure why I wintersowed them, I have several clumps in the yard. Maybe I was sowing them for you and just hadnt realized it yet. :)
Last question: Should we start a RMG Winter Sowers Roll Call Part 2? I dont know if we have anyone still on dialup but this post is getting unwieldy.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 11:06AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Azura, I was thinking about starting a "Winter Sowing Results" thread once I start planting things out. I can't believe a thread I started in January is still going!

The only things I have left to sow are basils - Red Rubin, Cinnamon, Lemon, Lettuce Leaf, and Sweet. And zinnias - Profusion Apricot, and Envy. Oh, and Red Perilla (shiso). I think I may direct sow the marigolds into the veggie bed, but they could be WS too. If you have any cosmos, those are good ones to spring sow, since they aren't frost tolerant either.

The high today is supposed to reach 70 degrees, so I may take the tops off of some of my containers today. This month is the trickiest for me, since the days are warm, but we still dip into the 20's some nights. If I don't check the forecast, and forget to put the caps back on, some of the more tender things may get frost bit. I'm not worried about the perennials, but things like Calendula, Gazania, Petunia, African Daisy, and the annual Verbena, aren't quite as tough. I wish I had a shadier spot to put my containers in the spring, but the north side of the house is where the children's sandbox is, and I'm afraid the temptation would be too great for them.

Thanks for the chives offer! Maybe someone else will have a clump of garlic chives for both of us that they could bring to the swap. Should start a wishlist for Charlene's Spring Swap too?


    Bookmark   April 14, 2008 at 12:50PM
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dafygardennut(5b-ish, CO)

My sprouts seem to have stalled, no true leaves yet. The only things that haven't sprouted are the peppers & maters, and things I've since learned can take 3 months and up to a year to germinate. I've made a note not to give up on those. On a positive note I'm up to 18 that have sprouted:

Cranesbill "Pratense" - only two sprouts, but they're looking good
10-week stock
Amaranthus (Love Lies Bleeding)
Cleome (Spider flower)- pink/purple and pink
African Daisy
White Daisy
Queen Anne's Lace
Rudbeckia "Irish Eyes"
Joe Pye Weed
Forget-me-not "Blue Bird"
Ageratum (Floss Flower)
Canterbury Bells
Swan's Down Poppy
Double Lavender Poppy
Clarkia Mix
Either Foxglove or Catchfly (this is the mystery container)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 2:22AM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

Dafy, my Rudbeckia 'Irish Eyes' aren't up yet, but that is one that I really hope will germinate. Already have a spot picked out for it, LOL!

Hey, guess what? I think I may actually be done!!! Today I sowed 5 kinds of basil, two types on zinnias, and some red perilla. Everything else on my germination chart that hasn't been planted will probably get direct sown.

Final count = 86 containers

Now it's time to start planting out! Yippee!!!


    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 3:20PM
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