Cottage Gardening forum: Piggy Swap # 26 Let the Sowing Begin

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Feb 22, 2012 8:03 PM CST
Name: Critter (Jill)
I've been known to double-plant when I run out of new jugs... I try to do it in a way that lets me know which one I have if something spouts... for example, I have a couple of jugs where I sowed columbines last year & they didn't come up... columbines have distinctive foliage, so if I sow another kind of seed in that old jug this year, I'll be able to tell what I have if one or the other (or both!) sprouts.

I've sowed quite a few 1 liter bottles (I have a thing for berry seltzer and diet lime tonic water) this winter, too. I think they'll work great for plants where I only have a few seeds or where I know I just want to have 1 plant to set out. I usually sow gallon jugs pretty full (probably too full) and then plant out or pot up a bunch of HOS (hunks of seedlings).
Circles of Support for Breast Cancer
I'm learning to dance in the rain! Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.
Feb 22, 2012 8:21 PM CST
Name: LeBug 6b
Greenville, In.
Dianne do you have a recycle place anywhere near? I get jugs from mine when I run out and tell us what you have planted in those jugs that haven't germinated maybe we can tell you if you should keep them or not. Some seeds take a year to germinate wouldn't want to pitch those out Smiling

I hope I'm around when you list them I'll check in before I go to bed in about three hours other wise won't be on till tomorrow around this time but I'm sure someone on here can help Sticking tongue out
Feb 22, 2012 10:59 PM CST
Name: Dianne
Sacramento, CA, zone 9a
Jill - double planting in the jugs - I like that concept. I should be able to find plants of differing leaves like you suggested and mix them in. Haven't brought hardly any soda at all in the last couple of years, so I have maybe 4 of the 2L bottles lying around.

We have recycling pick up as part of our weekly waste pickup so all the recycling goes somewhere that I imagine is a large recycling facility.

Lebug,thanks for your offer of letting me know which seeds take a LONG time to germinate, but, unfortunately, those were jugs that were sow so long ago that the numbers have faded. (I have since started to write the numbers on white electrical tape and taping it on the bottom of the jug in addition to writing the number all over the place on the outside and one on the inside of the jugs). Hilarious!

There are 3 jugs that I don't know what the seedlings are so I will take photos of them tomorrow and post them to see if any one recognizes them.
Feb 23, 2012 12:10 AM CST
Hi everyone
I just did some wintersowing myself and some direct sowing.Funny how the hours can pass so quickly when your enjoying yourself.I still can't believe all the good stuff I got from the swap,I hope they survive.I also started some of the onions indoors and they started popping up after about 10 days.
Feb 23, 2012 4:49 PM CST
Name: Rick Corey
Pacific NorthWet Zone 8a
I'm still recording and researching seeds I received!

I finally tied together double widths of 28" wide garden fencing (10 gauge?) and bent them into a low hoop tunnel. Dropped some indoor plants onto cardboard, put the fence hoop tunnel over them, draped a double thickness of 3.5 mil translucent film over that, for warmth.

I HAD to get these plants out of my bedroom before the aphids crowded me out!

Now, after a month of day and night temps never lower than mid-40s, we're going to have two nights down to 28-30F!

I hope the ad-hoc tunnel keeps them warm enough (Brunnera, Penstemon & Home Depot Primroses plants). The Penstemon are around 15 months old, WS plus babying along, and finally more than 1" tall.

I assume that the Primroses will laugh at frost, and I may get them into the gorund right before frost, but will still park a 2-liter cloche over each, and/or plastic film, for those first two cold nights.
Feb 23, 2012 6:04 PM CST
Name: bit
Eastern VA and NC
Zone 7b/8a
Rick, I think your tunnel will do fine Thumbs up

I have a similar setup (plastic sheeting over PVC hoops), and it has kept lettuce, pak choi, arugula, spinach, and a few other odds and ends alive for me all winter, down to about 20F several times. The only damage is to leaves that were actually touching the plastic, but that should be less of a problem for you since you have a double layer.

You can always throw a blanket over the whole tunnel on the coldest nights, but I'm always too lazy to do things like that Hilarious!
Feb 23, 2012 8:51 PM CST
Name: LeBug 6b
Greenville, In.
I was searching for my Brunnera this afternoon but guess they go in for the winter mine was in the ground not a seedling. I have all kinds of things coming up and down to 20 either tonite or tomorrow nite. My blue hellebores are blooming now Smiling I have never seen a winter like this one so warm then down to freezing! I looked at the extended forecast and it said a wk. from tomorrow 85 and cloudy????? They said something about snow tomorrow and it got up to 70 today Rolling on the floor laughing

Rick being in zone 8 and with double protection your babies should be alright. My Penstemons in the ground don't die back they stay green all winter.

Dianne I've never had markers to fade first I just used pencils they work but got some of those marker pens from a coop that are permanet and they work good I had hellebore seeds planted in a jug and the marker never faded they didn't germinate till the second spring I may have just been lucky Smiling
Feb 23, 2012 9:15 PM CST
Name: Critter (Jill)
If you look for the black INDUSTRIAL sharpie markers, they'll last for at least 2-3 years (even in the full sun on my deck). They are made to be more UV resistant etc. than regular sharpies. Also, Sharpie's metallic silver marker is great for writing on black/green nursery-type pots... again, those labels last at least a couple of years for me. The marker pens that EON sells are also great, but the sharpies are easier to get. :-)

Circles of Support for Breast Cancer
I'm learning to dance in the rain! Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.
Feb 24, 2012 12:25 AM CST
Name: Dianne
Sacramento, CA, zone 9a
Lebug - I remember a coop for markers in the past. The next time they have another coop sale, I'll be sure to order some.

Jill - I never knew there were industrial sharpies. I'll have to look for some - would Home Depot have something like that? or maybe Graingers?

rick - 15 months old and 1" tall - you have the patience of a saint. I would have killed them once the weather warmed up and I forget to water.
Feb 24, 2012 4:02 AM CST
Name: Critter (Jill)
I can usually find the industrial sharpies at an office supply store. Last time I got some I ordered a box of them from Amazon.

For permanent garden markers, the very best method I've found is to use Avery Clear Laser Labels. If you swipe each zinc marker quickly with alcohol to get it squeaky clean, these labels will stick perfectly, and you'll be able to read the lettering for years. I don't think I've had any fade yet, and I've had some out there for probably 5 years now. Any other "labeling tape" I've tried fades under my garden conditions, sometimes in just 1 season.

I sometimes jot notes in pencil on the back side of the label, and that seems to stay legible also.

For new plants, I've been trying to put a window-blind tag (written with industrial sharpie) buried with every plant, because sometimes my markers get moved or lost. It's especially useful for plants I might want to dig/divide/share.
Circles of Support for Breast Cancer
I'm learning to dance in the rain! Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.
Feb 24, 2012 3:03 PM CST
Name: Rick Corey
Pacific NorthWet Zone 8a
>> My Penstemons in the ground don't die back they stay green all winter.

Hunnh! Thanks for the tip. My only experience with adult Penstemon is looking at pictures on seed packets. If they stay green through a Zome 6 winter, they should find Zone 8 like a vacation!

(Of course, mine are stressed from being indoors all winter. I originally WSed them so they would startify and then "be toguh", but they were still too tiny to put in the ground and expose to slugs, last fall.)

I'm reluctant to share MY blankets with seedlings, especially since I might not wnat them back on my bed after being rained on & muddied up. Hopefully plastic tarps will help, or the airspace between layers will help.

>> rick - 15 months old and 1" tall - you have the patience of a saint. I would have killed them once the weather warmed up and I forget to water.

More like the patiemnce of an idiot, plus a tendency to overwater. MONTHS of WS produced nothing, so I ignored them with the slit lid on for another few months, letting a bit of rain in plus limiting evaporation. When I got around to THROWING THE SOIL onto a bed, I thought that the Perlite was "stained red-green" in a funny way.

Squinting really hard, I figured out those were 5-6-month-old Penstemoin seedlings! So the first half was truly "the patience of an idiot".

They stayed in 3" pots on the deck (elevated & surrounded by slug bait) but never grew big enough to really need potting up. Watering was easy, since I have to water my beds anyway, and I just misted them each time in passing.

I finally had to decide between feeding them to the slugs, or potting up and bringing indoors. I needed comapny for the winter anyway, so I broke up the tiny seedlings, getting 1-3 seedling into each new 3" pot. A micro-HOS?

Since they lived in my bedroom under lights through winter, and I turn lights on and off manually every day, and I just can't resist over-watering, getting them throguh the winter was a no-brainer.

Most have just very gradually inched larger, mostly as low rosettes, but two P. strictus "Rocky Mountain Blue" plants decided to defy all expectations and took off. One is around 16" tall, with one big pair of green&red leaves every 2". The other is around 12-14" tall, but has been slowly, coyly unfurling 5 TINY PINK blooms at her tip for several weeks. Light pink blooms on a 'Rocky Mt. Blue'? Not blue or blue-violet? Maybe mislabelled?

Penstemon strictus 'Rocky Mt. Blue'
Penstemon digitalis 'Mystica'
Penstemon smallii 'Violet Dusk'
Penstemon cobaea 'Showy Beardtongue'
Penstemon calycosus 'Calico Beardtongue'
Feb 24, 2012 9:21 PM CST
Name: LeBug 6b
Greenville, In.
Rick I have a large tote in the garage and if I'm ready to get rid of a blanket or a neighbor has it in their trash the blanket gets put into the tote really I have two totes now but I have those little Big Lot greenhouses and they really come in handy in the early spring I just get one out and drape it over a greenhouse and tie it down makes the baby seedlings nice and cozy of course I put a couple of jugs of hot water in them to help. I recycle everything always picking the neighbor's trash esp. if I see things when they get ready to pitch them out I know they all think I'm nuts but hey what ever works :)

I can't bring myself to plant tiny baby seedlings either! But I do just repot them for the winter and leave them outside to fend for themselves and they do just fine Rick you might try it some time if you end up with babies again, I use a quart pot and put them in between the gal. pots so they won't tip over and are protected from the weather a little more.

Rick Rolling on the floor laughing Don't water your seedlings too much it doesn't hurt them to be on the dry side a little you and the watering the seedlings so much really tickles me remember how many little babies you've killed from too much water Rolling on the floor laughing I remember you having such a time last year Whistling

Jill you are right about the pencil staying on the metal markers I have names on the back of mine of who I got the plant from and they look like I had just written them.

The only problem I have with my blind labels in my gal. pots I'm over wintering they seem to come out of the pot somehow probably my outside cat (long hair probably gets caught on label) is the culprit for that one though she likes to rub on the edge of the pots all the time and turns my pots over too Rolling my eyes. I've never seen labels come out when she does it just figure that's what happens the pots are up right with the label just laying on the top? Smiling At least so far I haven't come up missing labels or not knowing where they came from thank goodness Rolling on the floor laughing
Feb 25, 2012 11:01 AM CST
Name: LeBug 6b
Greenville, In.
Hurray! I have petunia and coleus seedlings this morning the only coleus that hasn't come up yet are the ones I'm really wanting the Scutellanriodies Solenostemon that possibally have the Fishnet Stockings in but those seeds are a yr. older so I've got high hopes for them Big Grin

Here's what I have coming up:

Denium petunia
Limelight coleus
Henna coleus
Big Redish Pink coleus
Red Pretty coleus

I'm planting Gaillardias today just sitting the seed trays on top of the lights well really they aren't seed trays it's plastic containers cookies were in that I saved Smiling That's what I used to germinate them in last year and it worked out really well there are four separate sections in each one so it's really easy to separate the different kinds and it doesn't use so many seed trays to take up so much room.

I had a bunch of Gaillardias in pots that I was trying to sell last year (45) it wasn't a good year for selling plants it got hot way too soon last year so I gave them away thinking they wouldn't over winter in pots they have died on me over winter before. I kept about five other than the 45 I gave away just to see for sure and they are still green out there! Just my luck Whistling So now I'm trying again Rolling on the floor laughing As wet as this winter has been I can't believe they are still alive.
Feb 25, 2012 2:30 PM CST
Name: Ann
Rock Hill, SC (Zone7-8)
A minute out of seed stuff to ask a question. I'm soaking some daylily seeds and decided to soak the iris seeds (ZigZag) that I got this year from Tonya (I think). They look more like pods, and are SO big, that I'm wondering if I'm supposed to break them would take a find the seeds inside. I searched online and couldn't find any pictures. They are a not-too-dark brown, about 3/8"-1/2" long, and are shaped like miniature brazil nuts.

Filled up over 100-2" peat pots with a mixture of perlite, vermiculite and peat and topped them off with worm castings. I'm ready to plant all of the veggies and herbs that I'm starting indoors. A bit chilly and very windy here today. That's something I can do indoors. I picked up another of those little $30 greenhouses at Big Lots this year. I wanted to get 2 of them but couldn't afford but 1.
Feb 25, 2012 4:43 PM CST
Name: Critter (Jill)
Your description does sound more like a seed pod than like an iris seed... see if you can clip/chip the outside a little and then soak it... whether it's a seed or a pod, soaking should help!

Cold & blustery here today, also
Circles of Support for Breast Cancer
I'm learning to dance in the rain! Thank you, Sally & Chris & Sharon.
Feb 25, 2012 11:36 PM CST
Name: Joseph
Cache Valley Great Basin
Landrace: locally-adapted diversity

I planted my first flat of 73 sweet peppers today. It's the first production planting for the season. I've already planted some seeds outdoors, but they were frost tolerant breeding programs, so they may or may not germinate. It's still 12 weeks before my last expected spring frost.

I'm 4 days late with the planting, but I built shelves to host them, and my potting soil was frozen, etc. I made paper pots that are round, so that I can transplant them while standing up by use of my stick seeder: I invented the seeder last winter and used it all summer last year. It works great for seeds, and for onions, and for transplants, but I have to make special pots. I could use jiffy-pots, or round peat pots, but I feel like they interfere with the growth of the plant so I don't like to use them.

Author of Mother Earth News Blog about Landrace Gardening: Lofthouse
Feb 26, 2012 9:20 PM CST
Name: Tonya Rose
Blanco, TX
Hi Ann,

You probably did get those zig zags from me. Sorry I can't be of more help though, as I got that plant from a swap and have not tried any from seed. I would probably try Jill's suggestion to soak, too, if I needed to start from seed. Let me know how they do, please!

Feb 26, 2012 11:41 PM CST
Name: Dianne
Sacramento, CA, zone 9a
First 2012 milkjug WS seedlings up!!! It was the clarkia from Jonna sowed Feb. 20th - germinated in 5 days Hurray!

Now to keep them alive until big enough for transplanting. That was my Achilles heel last year - did not keep an eye out on the seedlings and many died off due to lack of water. I did not WS until March 20th, and it was quite warm here in California by mid April. of the first 24 milkjugs planted, I got 60% germination, but only 50% of that made it into the ground. So about a 30% overall success rate. I aim to do better this year. Hilarious!

My direct seeding success rate last year was only about 5%. Sad

On the other hand, with the limited space that I have left, I am not sure where to put the new potential plants of this year. But, it is a good dilemma that I will look forward to solving if I am fortunate enough to have plants to put into the ground.
Feb 27, 2012 8:12 AM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
Well, I here for a few and than got to get busy and let this puter update. This has been the week from down below. I so far behind on stuff and things I was going to do and get done I couldn't.

At least this morning my body not stinging. We had some nice weather and in between have been cleaning up and burning things and areas off to get stuff ready. Have burned about and acrea and a half and than last week we had another break in weather with rain coming and got about another half acre burned and got ready to do just a small section.

Things was going fine and ground in area was still pretty wet and fire was almost out. was controlled small rows about two feet wide and no more than about 8 inches high and than out of nowhere came a freak wind and it caught another neighbors field on fire.

It went wild, jumping wire fences to try and contain it, but it went to fast and no cell service for a bit to call fire department and by the time they got here it had burned another acre and a half of dense woods. Got my self a good case of smoke and since had shorts and tee shirt on working the line to try and rake back in and keep from burning neighbors house down got the body a bit heat burned. Been in vinegar baths all week.

Body still a little pink in areas and legs tore to heck from mile an hour vine and brambles, but it could have been a lot worse. Few hundred more yards and there wouldn't have been no stopping it. Some old school buses and chems and tanks would have went plus the neighbors house. Still having to watch that some of the trees don't start up again and so thankful for the bit of rain we getting today and this week.

So those of you in the south doing the same thing becareful.. very careful even with a 20 foot break one tiny leaf can jump the line and even with all the rain we have been having the ground still drier than a doornob.

Got a nightmare of sorts to clean up so am really way behind in sowing. Have some tomatoes up and peppers coming up and dropped a whole tray of 98 pepper seeds and soil upside down. grrrrrr

Have a couple of Gallardias come up that I planted and a couple of other things, but with all that been happening haven't had time even to sow Will probable be next week next week before I get a chance. Got several old trees on that property that burned like halfway up and need to get them taken down and cleared out and make sure that they aren't gonna burn up the center and restart the woods.

I been in a lot of weird and bad situations, but think that the scariest thing I have ever had to do was try and race through hot ash and smoke to neighbor and scream at her to get out of her house in case it couldn't be contained.

Things I was going to get out in mail last week and didn't will get out this week. The used vechile that was finally supposed to arrive hasn't. Something about somebody not signing title right so gotta wait on it to come back again , grrrrr , so somebody supposed to come this week to take me to store and po. Nothing worse than being in middle of nowhere and stranded when ya need to get to town. Good thing at least somebody comes once a month to get me. Smiling

If ya don't see around to much for a few days, it cuz I busy still cleaning up the mess.

Feb 27, 2012 8:22 AM CST
Name: Misti
Fate, TX
OMG Star, so glad you and your neighbors are ok. I was starting to worry about you as we hadnt heard from you in a while. Be safe and feel better! Group hug

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