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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Winter Sowing, Shallot Seedlings, and Seed Sowing Saturday!

Last week was the first Seed Sowing Saturday on The Home Garden! Starting Seed Sowing Saturday has  definitely motivated my planning, thinking, and preparations for the seed starting this year. I failed this week in one element of my seed plans - the planning! I had intended to put together a list of the seeds I was going to purchase and who I was buying them through but never quite got around to it. But I did manage to at least get something started...

I've been wanting to start winter sowing for a few plants that like the cold weather and finally got around to starting the first type of seed. Winter sowing is very cool because it doesn't require much time, space, or maintenance to get some quality plants growing. All you need is a container or two, some soil, seeds, and a back porch to grow it all. I decided to start with one of my favorite plants: eachinacea! This particular coneflower is Echinacea paradoxa, a yellow coneflower. It's one of the coneflowers that when hybridized with purple coneflowers has helped to develop all those nifty new coneflower colors we see.  I have to admit, the propagator in me dreams of coming up with my own special variety of coneflower but that day is very far down the road!


Here's how they start, tiny little seeds in my hand. Not as tiny as some but it's amazing how small plants begin and how large they can grow


For my container I took a plastic juice bottle and made a cut about 6 inches from the bottom of the container and continued almost all the way around. I left one part of the plastic connected to act as a hinge.


I poked holes in the bottom (before I added dirt), planted the seeds lightly on top of the soil and watered (which is why the metal trays there - no reason to have water all over the kitchen table!) Echinacea is a plant that likes a little light to germinate so never bury the seeds under the soil. A light soil dressing is all that is required - if even that.  (I like to think about how the natural growing conditions of the seeds then try to simulate the same. Coneflower seeds (when not eaten by the birds) fall on top of the soil in the fall and winter and don't have soil gathering on top.) I taped up the sides of the container with an item that can do nearly anything - duct tape! Two things I learned from MacGyver - always carry a Swiss Army knife (and I do) and you can never have enough duct tape! Now if I only had a Jeep...


Back from TV land...
then I put the plastic container outside and the waiting begins. Mother nature will do most of the work from here on out. If we get a dry spell I may need to water the bottle but otherwise the seeds should be mostly alright on their own.  I have some redbud and heuchera seeds I want to sow next. I've been keeping them in the refrigerator so they shouldn't need much stratification time.


And a quick update from last week's shallot sowing:

So(w) far ;) we have about 8 shallots peaking up from the soil. I'm hopeful that we'll get at least 20 of the seeds to germinate and the signs look good. It's so(w) nice to see something growing!



Join in on Seed Sowing Saturday! Just link back to this post and tell us about your seed sowing experiences of the week. be sure to leave a link below so we can come over and visit your post!
I'll be out for a while on Saturday but I hope to visit everyone's posts this weekend!

Check out this week's Seed Sowers!

Colleen - In the Garden Online
 Sarah - Green Love Grass
Tervy - Garden G'Imp 

11 comments :

  1. First of all, I knew it was going to be a Juicy Juice bottle, lol. Wintersowing is so much fun..congrats on your shallots!

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  2. Darla,

    Am I that predictable? ;) I'm pretty pleased with the shallot turn out - can't wait to see more!

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  3. I'm watching with great interest!

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  4. I have three types of seeds under the lights now, and have winter sowed one thing so far -- planning to do a lot more winter sowing in the next few weeks! Here's my post.

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  5. I put my blue fescue update in the wrong post, so here it is again:
    http://greenlovegrass.blogspot.com/2011/02/sunshine-in-trashcan.html

    Dave,
    I can't wait to see your coneflower pictures when they bloom.

    Colleen,
    I'm going to check out your post right now. :)

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  6. I'm envious of you'all who have long enough winter to winter sow - I start and then turn it into regular outdoors mother nature when it turns warm. All in all, love re-purposing. I've found strawberry plastic containers are great! And went the long run for **finally** seeing culantro seedlings. My Seedy Saturday!

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  7. So nice to plant. Do let us know about the shallots.

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  8. I have purple coneflower and black eyed susan seeds that I need to sow. I think I'll use your method!

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  9. Nice Article I like it , and more info i get..

    visit my Blog too http://gardens-zee.blogspot.com/ thanks Before :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just followed your winter sowing instructions! Very cool.
    http://nycgardening.blogspot.com/2011/02/this-one-is-for-alison-bonney-lassie.html

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  11. i am trying for the first time to grow shallots from seed. i planted them indoors about 2 weeks ago and currently have a good number of seedlings. it looks like they are sending up one shoot but all of them are folded over (which i'm assuming is normal). i've been doing a lot of reading and everyone says to do something different once the seeds germinate! should i separate each seedling into it's own spot in a larger container? i'm assuming the one shoot will straighten out at some point? thanks!

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Dave

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