When should I expect winter sowing sprouts in zone 5?

fairydancer(z5 NY)February 18, 2005

I'm thinking mid march, but can anyone tell me from last years experience when I should start looking for green? I'm guessing it will have to do with how high the temperatures get in late winter, right? I am quite envious of those on the winter sowing forum in the higher zones doing the happy dance. I know I must be patient, but thought someone might be able to give me an idea.

~Deb

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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Deb,
It will depend on what you have sown. My first germination was corn cockle on the 7th. of March then Hibiscus on the 28th. of March. Nearly everything else sprouted in April. I will also add that I used very poor soil in a lot of containers after I ran out of miracle gro so that may have delayed some of my germination. In fact I was surprised that anything was able to germinate in that rock hard soil.
patience is indeed the key

Penny

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 1:55PM
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fairydancer(z5 NY)

Thanks Penny....I'll start looking closely and diligently come April......oh, over a month away!!! More time for me to fret about what I did right and what I did wrong. My latest concern is that I didn't leave enough head room in my little syrofoam cups because someone mentioned on the wintersowing forum that they will die if the leaves hit the plastic and they may grow too high before it is safe enough to take the plastic off completely. So, now I've got to think of a remedy.....does the worrying ever end?

~Deb

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 5:43AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

OK Deb, This is what you do if your seedlings start to reach the top of the cover on your styrofoam cups. Take the plastic off and clip a couple of clothespins on the side of the cup or stick a couple of small straws in the soil at the side of the cup and then put a sandwich baggie over it. You can cut the straws in half or thirds so that they are only a couple of inches above the pot. another method is to take a piece of copper wire or plastic coated wire and form an arch sticking both ends into the soil across from one another and putting your baggie over the top.

If we have an early spring warm-up we may have our babies start sprouting in Mid March. When the temps start to stay consistant, you can start watching your containers for sprouting.

Penny

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 6:47AM
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fairydancer(z5 NY)

I was thinking about straws, but I think I like the clothespin idea better. Right now they are covered with sandwich baggies and rubber bands. If I put the clothespins on the sides and the baggies over them, will I have to put the rubberbands back on? I guess they might blow off otherwise, huh?

Thanks for the great remedy.....now the only problem is that I have over 300 styrofoam cups! I'm going to need a heck of a lot of pins. :)) Oh, the joys.

~Deb

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 8:56AM
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Anne_Marie_Alb(5)

Stop worrying, Fairydancer! (we all do the first year.. LOL!) They don't germinate all at once (only when they are ready), and some grow very slowly at first!!

By the way, if you have a big flat container (cat's litter box with holes at the bottom, or even a carboard box), you can set lots of cups in there and just have one big plastic cover over the container. That will save you many clothespins, and much time.
Good luck,
Anne-Marie

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 9:13AM
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Anne_Marie_Alb(5)

Sorry, Fairydancer.. Cat's litter boxes would not work, as they would not be deep enough. What was I thinking?? Cardboard boxes would be OK, though. I use these or deep plastic containers (old plastic boxes I once used for storage).
Good luck, anyway,
Anne-Marie

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 10:09AM
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shimla(5 Upstate, NY)

Fairydancer - My first sprouts were on March 25th. Those were the bachelor buttons and wallflower which are very early germinaters. Then in the beginning of April they really started taking off. I stopped recording sprout dates on May 31st. After that point I just marked whether or not they germinated. There was a few that germinated in June. It depends on what you are growing and the condition they are growing in.

Don't panic about the headroom. Like Anne-Marie said, they don't shoot up overnight. You have time to monitor them. Mine didn't die when they hit the plastic, either. Most had sufficient headroom but there were a few that needed more. They'd just bend underneath the plastic and pop right up when you took the cover off. You can usually make the air holes bigger at this point and they will peak their heads out of the holes. I'd make the holes right above a cluster in the pot.

I tried to plan ahead by giving them headroom with either a stick in the middle of the pot or a drinking straw in a cup. I made little tents over the containers. The only thing that I did have to re-cover was my spinach. That one grows fast! If you do run into a major problem, itÂs fixable! I posted a link for an idea below for you. Anne-Marie is right on track. Check out "Debbie SW OK"Âs photos. The fourth and fifth pictures will give you an easy solution. I donÂt see holes in her plastic  she must lift it to water. Notice that she tented the plastic up with some kind of poles so the plastic doesnÂt hit the cups. If you follow the post down "shoe" used sweater bags. Three hundred cups equals a lot of sweater bags, though! Perhaps you could pick up a couple of clear shower curtain liners from the dollar store and rig something up like Debbie. ThatÂs only if you run into trouble!

Not to add to your worry, but do watch the rubber bands. I didn't use any but did read reports of them deteriorating over the winter in some areas. I use duct tape on everything but youÂre not going to want to recover 300 cups! You might have to replace them as the winter progresses. Let us know how they hold up in our area!

IÂm glad to see so many Âneighbors winter sowing! My chief concern is the spring rains we normally get. I donÂt want to flood anything and those rainstorms can be pretty severe on little sprouts. We were lucky that we only experienced a few downpours last year. ItÂs going to be good to have people to compare notes with!

Here is a link that might be useful: container pictures

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 10:58AM
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fairydancer(z5 NY)

I'm sure I'll muddle through with a little help from my friends!!! It sure is nice to have so many helpful people! I've said before how lucky I am (for many other reasons as well of course!) to be on maternity leave this year. I'll really be able to keep a daily eye on them and I love to have the kids outside with me so I can do a lot of shuffling around if need be.

I'm keeping really good records so far. Let's see how I do when things start to get frantic! But I agree it is going to be great to have people to compare with.

Thanks to everyone for your support and advice! Be should definitely keep each other posted as to what is going on in our backyards!

~Deb

    Bookmark   February 19, 2005 at 2:57PM
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