A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Monday, February 26, 2007

Winter Sowing

I'm definitely getting old. Not only is AARP trying to recruit me but I have also gone beyond merely talking to myself. I now hold both sides of the conversation. The most recent incident happened a few weeks ago when I was straightening up a corner in my basement and came across a bunch of one gallon water bottles left over from the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd when we had no potable water for about a week. The National Guard brought in tanks of water and we would all line up behind Borough Hall with our containers for our daily ration.

"Wow! Hurricane Floyd. . . that was a while ago. What year was that?"

"I think it was 1999."

"There hasn't been any emergencies since then so I guess it's safe to get rid of all these containers."

"There sure are a lot of them. Too bad I'm not into that winter sowing thing."

"Wait a sec. Why exactly have I not done winter sowing?"

"Because I had no containers."

So I did a little research on WinterSown.Org and discovered that one gallon water bottles are perfect containers and that it is not too late to start. I also learned that quite a few of the seeds that I ordered and have collected myself can be wintersown. Speaking of which, this is what my seed drawer looked like:

Coincidentally, like last year I ordered 68 different kinds of seeds. Not the same 68 either. I like to try new things every year.

I invested in duct tape, freezer tape, a Sharpie and a lot of potting soil and went to work. This is what I have accomplished after two days work:

The reason for the space is that there is an iris or something growing there. I chose this bed deliberately because I had dug it out last fall so I know there is nothing growing there. Except that iris that I must have transplanted there for some reason that was valid then but is now long-forgotten.

And this is what is inside the bottles:

Bachelor's Buttons
Cleome 'White Queen'
Cosmos 'Seashells'
Wild Purple Foxglove
Jewels of Opar
Nicotiana 'Lime Green'
Nicotiana sylvestris
Pansy 'Chalon Supreme'
Snapdragon 'Black Prince'
Snapdragon 'Plum Blossom'
Verbena bonariensis

I have lots more seeds and about half a dozen more containers. Are you feeling sorry for my poor neighbors yet? Remember, these are the people that have seen me drag furniture out of the house to stand on and take pictures. And don't forget the time I walked all over a couple of my freshly dug beds after planting Wild Lupine seeds. I can see them now looking out of their windows, seeing my recyclables neatly lined up in my backyard instead of at the curb for collection and wondering "What is she up to now?"


At 5:12 AM, Anonymous Amy said...

I used jugs like that a few years to cover little broccoli plants from a hard frost. Don't you feel so resourceful?

At 6:40 AM, Blogger Tina said...

That's it...you'll be hooked! Best figure out where you're going to get containers to do it again next year. lol. I'm so very, very glad you've decided to try it. Good luck with them!

At 7:52 PM, Blogger OldRoses said...

I already know where next year's containers will come from. I buy bottled water to use in my coffee maker. I will just save the empties all summer and fall.

I hope this works. It's so much cheaper than lights and shelves.

At 9:52 PM, Blogger Gotta Garden said...

Oh, it works! I winter sowed for several years and was pleased with the results...so pleased that I had more than I knew what to do with! I haven't done any this year, although your post makes me wonder if I should reconsider! Good luck with them!

At 3:36 AM, Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

Good luck with all the seedlings. Good idea to use those containers. I've heard from other gardeners that use them too and with success.

And no, I don't feel sorry for your neighbours. What would their lives be without you to keep them entertained? ;-)

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Colleen said...

Good for you, OldRoses! This is my first year winter sowing, too. We'll have to compare notes :-)

BTW---age has little to do with talking to yourself, or even holding both sides of the conversation. I do it all the time. Mostly, it's because I'm the only one who has even a modest clue as to what I'm talking about ;-)

At 6:56 PM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Colleen, that's great! About the winter sowing and talking to oneself. I'll worry less about both.

Yolanda, do you think I should start charging the neighbors for all the entertainment I provide?

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Annie in Austin said...

OldRoses, did you ever watch Monty Python, and the Confuse-a-cat service? I could hear their voices in my head as I read this post.

The neighbors may be confounded, and think what you do is odd, but readers of your garden blog believe what you do is normal!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

At 8:10 PM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Thanks, Annie! As I get older, I am revelling in my eccentricities.

At 6:13 AM, Blogger Hillside Garden said...

What fascinating containers! Never seen before. I have a lot of seeds, but not for me. I give them always away to friends, in the house I hve no place to grow them.


At 2:06 PM, Blogger ~~ Melissa said...

I have conversations with myself too. Problem is, one side sometimes ignores the other and can't remember what the conversation is about. Very annoying! lol.

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Kerri said...

Thanks so much for your enthusiastic comment on my wildflower post...much appreciated! :)
Looks like there are many of us who talk to ourselves. Yep, I do it too....and to the plants, cats, butterflies, bees, etc. It's normal! Must be if we all do it, right?
My mum used to say it's the only way to get an intelligent answer. LOL
You've really got me thinking on this winter sowing. I might have to try it. Previously when I've started seeds indoors, if I managed to get them to the point of seedlings, I'd inevitably lose some of them to damping off. Too much trouble I decided! Plus, not enough space for the lights, etc.

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous jean said...

What a great idea!

I'm off to start some seeds.



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