Sunday, March 01, 2009

My favourite way to wintersow

Here are today's entries in the wintersowing "lottery". (last year, it was a lottery that paid off tremendously in sprouted seeds - almost everything sprouted! - although not all the seedlings made it into full-grown plants due to problems with the setup: the soil was too shallow, the lids blew off, and as a result, many dried out before I had time to rescue them)

So, as the title says, this is FAST becoming my favourite way to wintersow. It's a hybrid of the "baggie method" and just sticking the seeds in a regular nursery pot - of which I have bazillions in the garage, and which are however-many for $1 at the dollar store, if I run out.

Though I suspect-slash-hope (based on the weather chart at left) that I will run out of wintersowing weather before anything else. Two more cold days and then... plus, plus, plus. Of course, it is March already, after a winter that seemed to start the minute the Sukkah came down. So I don't really need a groundhog anymore to tell me there are only 3 more weeks of winter!!!

So, the Technique:

Basically, I fill the pot 1/3 to 1/2 way (I'm leaving more headroom than usual so the seedlings won't bump the plastic), water the soil & allow it to drain, then plant the seeds the way they're supposed to be planted (ie in holes or on the surface, covered or uncovered...whatever).

Finally, take a zipper baggie (8 for $1 at Dollarama) with the bottom notch-cut (as seen here), stick the pot in, zip the top mostly-shut, clothespin the top slightly open, and line it up outside to await spring.

I did a few (6, I think) Butterfly Weed and Columbines in baggies alone as seen - one last time, here! - on the wintersown.org website, but it makes me nervous just having a bunch of dirt in a bag. Makes me worried that I will have whole clumps of loose seedlings splitting apart and falling all over the place when I try to transplant them come spring.

I know Trudi of wintersown.org calls that the (Okay, one more linky here:) "hunk-o-seedlings" method ...and I know from personal experience last year with poppies and amaranth that it really does work to transplant hunks of dirt with seedlings falling out... but it was still messy and made me nervous.

This way, hopefully, the seedlings will already be in nice pots with lots of dirt and will have enough room to spread themselves out a little bit before they need transplanting. I'm also trying not to overseed - some of these little square pots I put out today have only 6-8 seeds in them.

So what did I wintersow today?

~ Blackberry Lily, Belamcanda chinensis, in the lettuce container at the far rear
~ 4 pots of bunching onions - these actually sprouted last year but didn't survive
~ 2 "butterfly weed" / "butterfly flower", pink (don't know why I'm growing these; I don't want more pink)
~ aquilegia, Casa Loma columbine - seed I stole from ripe dry columbine seed heads one Tuesday evening last summer
~ Gaillardia "Torchlight" - a few seeds (I think 4!) left over in last year's packet

What have I wintersown so far? 2009 totals, including today

Tomatoes:
~ Children's garden Zebra
~ Children's garden Roma
~ 3x unknown tomato (frozen in place so can't read the labels)
~ From Wintersown.org: Roma Paste
~ From Wintersown.org: San Romano
~ From Wintersown.org: SubArctic Plenty
~ From Wintersown.org: Brandywine
~ From Wintersown.org: Isis Candy

Milkweeds:
~ Ice ballet (incarnata)
~ Red/yellow mix
~ Silkweed (asclepias curassavica)
~ Pink butterfly weed
~ Pink butterfly flower (I suspect these are one and the same)

Columbines:
~ Aquilegia Lime Sorbet
~ My own orange/red from saved seed in the front garden
~ One unknown columbine (frozen in place so can't read label)
~ Casa Loma columbine

Other:
~ Belamcanda chinensis
~ 4 x onions, bunching
~ Gaillardia "Torchlight"
~ Rudbeckia Goldsturm

Total = 26 wintersown pots - YAY!
Not bad for how lazy / sluggish I have been feeling lately...

Naomi and Elisheva are back from the $ store. Must go put her to bed!!!
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