Wintersowers in Wisconsin...

Copperlilac(19)December 19, 2005

When are you starting?

What were your best successes from last year?

and

What are you going to sow this year?

I did it for the first time last winter and I love it! Looking forward to starting again here in a couple of weeks but I was just wondering about everyone else. :)

Copper

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elvis

I've done it for 3 years now. Interesting. The first year I placed the flats on my picnic table on my deck facing north (our lake). I had about 60% success. The next year I placed the flats on benches on the south side of the house, out of the wind. Zero success. Last year back to the picnic table. Around 60% again. Moral to this story? I would say they dry out too quickly in the sun. Wind didn't seem to be a factor. I'm definitely cutting back on how much I WS. I mean, where do we put all this stuff? At some point, you need to transplant it. So, I'll do some WS, but a lot of seeds like HH, columbine, cleome, hyssop, will be direct sowed while it's cold right after the snow melts and I have the beds raked out. Just my 2 cents :)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 10:49AM
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periwinklez3b(z3WI)

Copper: Constance (Elvis) got me started!
I went small last year and the year before. Last year I had lots of shasta daisy, some verbascum and I can't remember what else. I didn't plant a lot which turned out to be good because the drought killed most of them.

I will plant after Christmas--a good activity to do then.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 9:31PM
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elvis

Absolutely, Denise. WS makes January much more bearable. I have a list somewhere of what did not do well with WS for me. I'll dig it out and post it.

Con.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2005 at 11:07AM
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gardeningmomof3(z4)

Will probably try it again this year. Not as many though. I did not have great success at all. But, I won't let that stop me from trying it one more year. Mine were placed on the deck facing the south. Guess, I will try to move them to another location as well, to see if my success rate is any better. The rest will all be directed sowed.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2005 at 3:33PM
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janlynn(Z5 So Milw WI)

I WS'd Mirabilis/4:00's four years ago: Custard and Cream, Yellow, and "Broken-Color's" (I call them "Tie Dyes") that have come back each year, have not had to reseed or dig up the tubers since. Also, have different colored Morning Glories that I WS'd several years ago and they reseed themselves each year (now it's difficult to "control" them!!!). This past fall I tried a couple more seeds (Gaura, Delphiniums, different types of Sunflowers, Hostas, Balsams, Wallflowers, Nasturtiums, Verbascums...) so will have to wait til spring. Sometimes I feel that the harder I try (by "babying") the less success I have so this year I'm expecting LOTS to come up!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 4:27PM
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paquebot(Z-4b WI)

Copper, you ask when we are starting? Any time between now and next March 20th or thereabouts! There's been several years when I started on Thanksgiving Day. That was before I'd even heard about winter sowing!

Yes, I cheat! I use a permanent cold frame. For years, planted the brassica seeds using that method. I'd make certain that the soil was really dry so that there wasn't a chance of germination. Plant it full and close it up for the winter. However, come about mid-February, it would be packed solid with snow right to the glass. That would be a good 6". And that's all. The snow would slowly melt in due time and up would come the seedlings! There's usually one area for mixed lettuce and there was one recent year with that up yet in February.

At the moment, there's only a tray of garlic bulbils in there. When I'm finally done, I should have 3 more 48-hole trays in there, one for peppers and two for tomatoes. I've got the trays ready and the starting mix is drying for a January project.

There's another little trick to winter sowing outside. We know that we have to keep the containers closed. Something with a domed top seems to be the best. Well, go with the ultimate in domes. Get two of the largest dome-type window well covers and bolt them together. You end up with about a 3x4 mini greenhouse! They are the ultimate in winter sowing covers. Two trays can go under one of those.

Martin

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 10:42PM
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noinwi

I tried WS the first time last year but had to move before anything sprouted...it all got tossed. I'm thinking about trying again but I don't know where to put containers without other tenants complaining or messing with them. They need to be in the shade, don't they? There is one spot along one side of a storage shed. It gets a bit of early morning dappled sun, but shade the rest of the day. Would that work?

    Bookmark   December 26, 2005 at 12:07PM
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jecosa(z5 WI)

I love to wintersow!! I had incredible success the last two years, almost everything worked, except for a few grasses. My husband and I recently purchased a new house, so I plan on doing a LOT of wintersowing this year. There is not a drop of landscaping on the property besides the full-grown trees. I plan on at least 4 or 5 new flowerbeds this spring.
I had great success last year using milkjugs for my containers. Two liter jugs were also pretty good. I didn't have as good of success with cake pans or anything shallow. I probably won't start wintersowing anything for at least another 2 or 3 weeks yet. I'm waiting for my work schedule to settle down a little bit first. I can't wait for spring!!!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2005 at 10:13PM
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catrina

I have been winter sowing for, lets see, 4 or 5 years now and I'll have to say it has totally revolutionized how I garden. Thanks Trudy. Actually it can be good and bad. I never had enough room indoors and in the greenhouse to plant an unlimited number of plants. Now I have room as big as the great out doors, but therin lies the problem. Do I really need all these plants, I always have great fun mid winter going wild with seed trading and winter sowing, bur then I find myself overwhelmed in May and June. This year I have vowed to show restraint. I want to work on the structure of the garden, put in some shrubs and perenial veges and fruits, shrubs ect and not have too many plants to get in the ground, especially annuals. To those of you who know me, please help me if I become weak mid winter and start asking you for anuals.
Catrina

    Bookmark   December 31, 2005 at 1:21PM
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putzer(z4 WI)

I have a couple of questions about WSing. Do you use a seed starting mix or just regular potting soil? Do you have to worry about it becoming too dry (HA-not likely with the kind of weather we have been having lately)! Do you have to be concerned if the seeds get too wet if you have drainage holes in your containers? This just seems too good to be true lol...can I set it and forget it? :)

    Bookmark   January 2, 2006 at 10:35PM
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posy_gurl(z4WI)

I haven't started my wintersowing yet this year but now that the holiday rush is over I have more time. I can hardly wait to begin!! I had great sucess last year and I am looking forward to seeing my new babies this spring!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2006 at 1:13PM
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elvis

I'm gonna start my WS this week. Putzer, I use regular potting mix or starter mix. Actually, I prefer the starter mix. Yes, they can dry out, and that's not a good thing. You do need to keep an eye on the containers. I've had them dry out and fade away...with the drainage holes excess water has never been an issue for me.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2006 at 10:13AM
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loriplants2(z5 IL/Wi)

ELvis,
Have you ever tried water crystals in your mix? You can find them reasonable on ebay.I am south of the boarder but I thought I would put my 2 cents in. Hope it helps. Lori

    Bookmark   January 15, 2006 at 4:44PM
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putzer(z4 WI)

I heard that you can use the 'crystals' from unused (of course)! diapers as water crystals.

I am going to try this wintersowing business this year lol-just started trading seeds in that forum and can see this is going to lead to many, many problems....

;)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 1:01AM
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elvis

loriplants, no I haven't tried water crystals. Maybe I'll try that in some of the flats I haven't planted yet. So far I only have one flat out on the picnic table and one inside on the greenhouse work table ready to go out tonight. My absolute limit, LOL, this year is 10 to 12. That's it, really!

Constance.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 10:14AM
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tootswisc(z4/5Wi)

This is pretty interesting. I really love our forum. Has anyone done purple fountain grass. I have not done any ws...yet....But I am getting pretty exited just thinking about this-or maybe it was the cup of coffee I just drank!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 12:07PM
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lee53011(5)

tootswisc, I wanted to do purple fountain grass also, but was told the seed is sterile. Do you have any viable seed? If so where can I get some!!!

Lee

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 1:42PM
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tootswisc(z4/5Wi)

I don't have any seeds. I was recently visiting my sister is San Francisco and wondered if I was seeing purple foutain grass there.

Does anyone know where we could find some seeds.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 11:11PM
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catrina

I agree, drying out seems to be the biggest problem. I have always used the clam shell boxes like you get at the salad bar with the drainage holes on the top and bottom. Not a problem in the winter you just keep them covered with snow an it gradually seeps in. It's in the spring that it is sometimes a problem. You have to open the boxes and water if you have a real warm spell or they fry. I have found that the strawberry type boxes don't work as the holes are too big and they dry up. I am going to try some milk cartens this year too. I use a little compost or potting soil in with the planters mix and it holds moisture better. Also all planters mixes are not created equal. If it is pure peet it can actually repel water if it get's completely dry. One thing about location. Best to keep them somewhere where not too many weed seeds can blow in. Nothing worse than seeing that first green baby, getting all excited about it and having it turn out to be a weed. Mine are on the south side up on the deck but under the shade of a large maple so they get lots of light over the winter and early spring but then when the warm spells start comming they are shaded some because the tree starts to leaf out. Also if you have not already heard about it read the FAQ on the winter sowing about "hunk o seedlings". I was trying to pull each little baby apart and this is so much easier and I think brings better ultamate success because the plants don't get as stressed from having their roots ripped apart. If the seedlings are more "valuable" sometimes I hunk o seedling them into bigger pots before planting them out so they can get bigger because a least in my garden once they are planted out they are pretty much on their own.
Catrina

    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 11:04AM
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janetpetiole(4b)

I have a public service announcement. I hope you don't mind. :-)

The material that is in diapers is the same as what is sold as "water crystals, which is also in some of the big commerical potting mixes.

The "super absorbant material" is a plastic that will never decompose in the soil, in fact, it changes the composition of your soil - it will eventually get "sticky". Never use it in a bed, only in pots if you must, then dump the soil in the trash at the end of the season. Never put it in your garden and don't grow vegetables in that stuff.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2006 at 7:05PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

Hi there-
I have learned that Fountain grass seed is USUALLY not viable, allthough- it will produce viable seeds if conditions are right. I think you can tell if the seed is viable if inside its many layers of procective sheathing you find a "plump" whole grain looking seed. Mostly you will find more dry papery stuff. I have seen seed for sale in catalogs and asked another forum the same question.
Best of luck to you-
Julie

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 9:07AM
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wigardenerwannabe(Z5 WI)

Do any of you have sprouts yet?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 3:47PM
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kailea(4 WI)

Just discovered this "Winter Sowing" and was curious if the seeds will come up before they would if direct seeded. Wouldn't I have an earlier tray of transplants from indoor sowing? And if direct seeded and not disturbed by transplanting, wouldn't they be earlier?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 3:01PM
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noinwi

I finally put a couple of trays of annuals out(just before the 2' snow dump),alyssum,calendula,marigolds,nasturtiums,cosmos,gazania, and a couple loose leaf lettuces. Last year my first try was interrupted due to our move, so hopefully this will work. I picked up some lidded aluminium sheet cake pans and cell packs from the dollar store, as I noticed some one else has used these. Perfect little greenhouses!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2006 at 10:19AM
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elvis

Kailea, for me WS is good because it saves indoor space. What's the diff between direct sow and WS? When WS works, you get a cold frame or greenhouse effect. A little protection, I guess. Depending on snow cover, germination could occur at the same time for both, but the WS has a little protection.

I think this would be an excellent question for the Winter Sowing Forum. It's probably on their FAQ's, and if not, Trudi will have a good answer for ya.

Con.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 11:27AM
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lee53011(5)

I have my first sprout today!! Only Yarrow 'Paprika', but still it's nice to see at least something coming up. I checked my garden today, and most of my perennials have new growth at the bases. Won't be long now!!

Lee

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 8:32PM
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phyl345(z.5)

i joined gardenweb several weeks ago and have been wandering around......just came upon your site...SOOOOO interesting. do you allow flat-landers in, or are you exclusively cheeseheads (grin)...does it make a difference that i grew up in the U.P., so i'm almost a wisconsinite.second question, where did you all GO? -- the last posting was last March!!!! 3rd question, how did you all do since last march -- can't wait to hear.....

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 11:21AM
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putzer(z4 WI)

Hi! You are welcome here depending on your answer to this: Name the greatest football team in the NFL. ;)

Wsing was great-turns out I was silly to be so worried about doing something wrong! We managed to fill a new flowerbed with mostly wintersown plants and it allowed me to try things I never would have otherwise. Here is a link to some pictures I took more towards the beginning of the summer-I really need to download more recent ones.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wsing

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 12:00AM
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phyl345(z.5)

not this year they aren't!!!hubby & i are from 1 hr. north of green bay, marinette
& Menominee. am i IN now?????

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 12:28AM
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janetpetiole(4b)

"not this year they aren't!

If you want to pretend to be a Wisconsinite, you have to sound more positive and hopeful when talking about "the team". ;)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 1:49PM
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phyl345(z.5)

ok. where are the winter sowers???? you haven't posted since last march 18th. where are you....i want to listen in(grin)

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 1:22AM
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lee53011(5)

This year was my first year wintersowing. Turned out great!! Hardy hibiscus, agastache, butterfly bush, datura, sweet williams, among others. Ended up with way too many, but it was great trying new things. Definitely will do it again. I started most of mine in January and February.

Lee

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 9:01AM
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heartsease(z4a)

This was my first year with WS ... never had heard of it before. I had great success with prairie and native plants such as cup plant, lead plant, bittersweet, coneflowers and any of the grasses I will do it again next winter. Hope to see everyone post more as summer winds down ... had a great time last winter and made a new garden friend connection, (Hi, Catrina!)
Linda

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 11:30PM
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janetpetiole(4b)

Attention F...latlander (lol)

We garden in September because we usually have near-perfect weather. It cools down and starts raining again - it's a wonderful time.

What do you do down there in September other than recover from your excursions north? Hmmm??? lol

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 6:26PM
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phyl345(z.5)

i KNOW what those....following f mean!!!we are barely over the wisc.border, by the way. in sept. i am probably doing all the same things you are;transplanting overgrown perennials,dug up pots of shrub cuttings today that i had put in ground last fall(WE have perfect weather now too, by the way)and the shrub cuttings had nice root ball formed;will plant them tomorrow;also collecting seed pods so i can try my hand at winter sowing for the first time. my gardens are beautiful at the moment...wish i had a decent camera. july and august were positively horrible, but now it has cooled off and a nice amount of rain ....oh, how i run on.... bye

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 10:56PM
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janetpetiole(4b)

I'm just teasing...lol

Have you tried the Canadian winter sowing forum? It seems a little more active.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 7:37AM
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phyl345(z.5)

thanks! i looked into the canadian forum, and you're right. and i really don't get all the politics on our w.s. forum; so now my next try will be to see if i can join the canadians!!!!(GRIN) see ya later alligator.......

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 11:56PM
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janetpetiole(4b)

Well, the worst thing that could happen is not one will talk to you. lol

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 10:12AM
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elvis

putzer, your datura is awesome! Got any seed? heartsease, you're right, Catrina is an awesome trader! phyl, you sound a little manic, LOL. Lay off the mushrooms, okay?

Just kidding...welcome flatlander.

Go Pack!

Con.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 3:35PM
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putzer(z4 WI)

Thanks-I will have a lot of seeds as long as they are able to develop in time. Just remind me in a month or so and I will send some your way.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 12:11AM
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phyl345(z.5)

putzer, janet & elvis -- you guys aren't going to believe this!! (janet, you predicted it right on) a couple days ago i post ONE little teeny tiny comment on the canadian forum -- and just now i checked it -- AND NO AMERICANS ALLOWED TO POST ANYMORE!!!!! i checked and double checked -- i've been banned from canada !!!!(YOU too, yankees)

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 12:59AM
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phyl345(z.5)

oh, i forgot....a couple days ago i also asked if i could join the wisc. map....must have been off my mark that day....banned in canada and wisconsin not speaking to me either!!!! should we be talking about w.s. instead of my insignificant problems....o.k. then, i'm going to w.s. for the first time; there, now i'm legitimate. back to the mushrooms.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 1:08AM
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janetpetiole(4b)

LOL - those crazy Canadians.

I'm planning on winter sowing again this year. Last year was my first time, nothing sprouted, so I'm giving it a shot again this year. What will you be planting?

There - feel better?

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 9:13AM
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aka_margo(z5a WI)

Here is my dumb question....what month do you start putting your winter sowing stuff outside?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 7:42PM
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janetpetiole(4b)

I'm surprised no one answered your question.
Where is everyone?

You have probably figured out the answer to your question already, but I'll tell you what I think.

A lot of people suggest starting sometime after the holiday season, because that is when life slows down quite a bit and it gives a gardener something garden-related to do during the longest part of winter. January or February would be a good time.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 6:05AM
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catrina

Hi Margo,
You can start wintersowing any time after it gets cold enough so that things won't start sprouting now. Usually we just wait until after the holidays because we are too busy to start earlier. Hi Linda, Hi Con! Here's a heart warming story for you. Heartsease and I met here and found we live a stones throw from each other and now were pals. In case anyone else lives close enough and is interested in comming (Wausau area); I will be hosting a meeting of the Rothschild garden club and the Thyme keepers herb club at my home on 10/17/06 at 6:00 and the topic of the evening will be WINTERSOWING. E-mail me for directions if you want to come.
Catrina

    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 10:30AM
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