Penny and other Winter Sowers...need your help!

garden_frog(Z6 Western NY)December 20, 2007

OK, so I am doing a talk for my mom's club about winter sowing and wanted to tap your extensive winter sowing experience...

Basically, I'm going to do a demonstartion on how to winter sow and let each mom take home a container of winter sown seeds.

So my questions to you guys...

1. What seeds have you had the best success rates with. I haven't done any winter sowing in a few years so I'm out of touch with what does well and what doesn't. Preferably I'd like to do perennials but annual suggestions would be appreciated too.

2. Any tips that you could give about your successes or failures? (Penny, do you even have any failures????)

3. Any particular containers you are partial to? I was planning on using the wegmans or tops muffin containers, but since the talk isn't for about 6 weeks, I can save anything really.

OK, I think that covers my questions! Thanks!!

Tara

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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

Hi Tara,

I'm sure you'll get lots of advice if you've also posted this on the WS site. Here are a few of my tidbits of experience:

1. Perennials I've had success with: coneflowers, daylilies, dianthus, sage (for cooking), lavender and alpine strawberries. Annuals are easy: alyssum, nicotiana, California poppies, snapdragons, zinnias, malva sylvestris, nigella damascena, borage, lobelia, amaranth, marigolds.

2. Use at least 3" of soil in your containers - it'll be well used in vigorous root growth, and not dry out as quickly in hot weather. Also, buy GOOD soil - I use ProMix, but others swear by Miracle Gro, and there are other good brands around. Just don't buy cheap, dollar store stuff, which tends to be short on organic matter and forms nice briquets after it gets wet then dries. (I did that! Not a happy situation.)

3. My favorite containers are milk jugs. They don't tip over easily, they're easy to move around, they hold enough soil to keep from drying out when the weather warms up, and you can get a good number of seedlings in each container. Cutting and drainage are easy, too - sharp scissors are all you need.

I hope this gives you a start, Tara! I'll be doing winter sowing with my daughter's Daisy Scout troop in March. I hope your demonstration goes well; we'll probably see sprouts around the same time.

Laurel

    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 3:06PM
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remy_gw

Hi Tara!
#2 on Laurel's list is what Penny told me was very important. I've followed through on that, had good success, and I won't try to alter it,lol.
I've had success with many types of seed. I would suggest cold hardy early to pop up types of plants. People tend to get discouraged with more tender items that need a warmer soil temp to germinate.
My favorite containers though are 2 liter pop bottles. Maybe you could show a few different types of containers so people see how they could use what they have.
I cut holes in the ends of the bottom for drainage. I then cut the top around over 1/2 way up. I took photos before so someone else could understand what I meant.

Then I cut a flap on the top part. Making the flap, both parts lock together and no tape is needed. The last photo has an error of course; I forgot to take the cap off. Hope it helped though. Merry Christmas, Remy
    Bookmark   December 20, 2007 at 10:31PM
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garden_frog(Z6 Western NY)

So Remy and Laurel, I'm getting everything ready tonight for my talk on Thursday. One more question for you...other than taking the cap off on the milk and pop bottles, do you make any other slots/holes in the top to let in moisture or vent air or is the top opening sufficient?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 9:10AM
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remy_gw

Hi Tara,
I was just thinking of you! I put out 50 containers last night and I'm doing a lot more. I was thinking, I bet I have lots of extra plants for the swap.
No, no other holes, it is sufficient. The containers, once watered and planted, stay moist until spring I've found. If we get a really warm dry spring, then they may need supplemental watering top on or off, but otherwise, they are fine.
Remy

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 10:44AM
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garden_frog(Z6 Western NY)

Remy, yeah, I was thinking about you this morning. I went to look for my tomato seeds from your tomato party and I can't find them anywhere. Last I saw them they were in DH's truck but I don't know where he put them!!

I didn't have much luck finding decent seeds for Thursday at local stores so I'm just hoping everything turns out ok. I can notch the milk jugs just like you do with the soda bottles right? I got a variety of containers so people can see all different ideas of how to do it. Hopefully it goes well since it's our first garden club meeting! :)

I don't know how many I'll put out this year. The big news is that I'm pregnant with #2 and due in mid June so I don't know how much new planting will happen this year. I am going to at least WS a few things though. Looking forward to the plant swap though! It's one of my favorite events of the year. Are you doing another tomato party? I'm hoping you are...DH and I both enjoyed it!

Tara

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 2:07PM
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remy_gw

Oh my goodness! #2!!! Wow! Congrats! : )

Milk jugs don't lock together good like the pop bottles do. They do better cut on 3 sides to make like a clamshell happen and then duct tape around it to keep the top down until spring, or because I and others struggle with tape ,lol, the other popular method is to cut an upside down U into the side away from the handle following the contour which makes like a tongue. The U stops short of the soil line. I sure hope that made sense! You can reach in and put soil in and seeds then pop the tongue back in place. Once it warms up outside and the seeds start to germinate then you need a pair of scissors to cut the top off.
I'm sure the talk will go great.

I am going to hold another tomato party definitely! It went so well and everyone wants to come again. Already planning ahead, I picked up a long thin banquet table at work(we had a garage sale) which will be perfect and I got more lawn chairs at an auction for a couple dollars a piece. The weekend after labor day worked out well since no one makes plans for then, so I think it will probably be then again.
If you don't end up starting the tomatoes, I will be bringing some to the swap again. Everyone liked them last time. Oh and Hilde will probably be coming and I bet she will bring seedlings too.
Remy

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 3:54PM
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remy_gw

Tara,
I just finished a bunch more containers and had to come back to tell you something I forgot. The half gallon milk containers will stay together in the same manner as the pop bottles. It is just the gallons that won't.
Remy

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 8:52PM
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garden_frog(Z6 Western NY)

Oh Remy, that's good to know since I have some of each size!

Is this what you meant about the U?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 12:00PM
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remy_gw

Hi Tara,
It is not what I meant, but that will work : ) What I meant was on either of the sides you did not cut into(a flat side,) cut an upside down U following the contour on that side so that the flap you cut comes down like a drawbridge. If you do what I mean, you can still pic up the jug by the handle which may be helpful to some people. I wish I had a pic! Oh well, you will be fine either way : )
Remy

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 8:58PM
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remy_gw

I found a photo! This is Terene's from the WSing Forum.

Remy
    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 9:02PM
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garden_frog(Z6 Western NY)

Awesome, thanks Remy! I was just getting ready to cut them all so at least I only mangled one! I'll save that one for myself! :)

Thanks again for all your help!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 10:46PM
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remy_gw

Tara,
How did it go? : )
Remy

    Bookmark   February 9, 2008 at 5:42PM
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booberry85(5)

I love the pics of how to prepare containers for WS. Any chance of those being put on the FAQ page?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 8:53AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Hey Tara,
Sorry I didn't respond sooner. I have been away from the forum working on orders and moderating a couple of forums . I am so glad remy was here to help out. How id the presentation go?

Penny

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 7:32AM
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