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Feb 2nd group planting experiment

lilykit64
January 29, 2013

On Feb 2 nd you are invited to join a group of us who will be WSing the following seeds on the same day in the different zones that we live in and tracking the germination results and posting them. It is a fun project just to see how you compare with others across the country using this method. We decided to plant the following: delphiniums (pacific giants) , cosmos ( sensation mix) and tomatoes ( Cherokee purple and/or Black Krim). You can plant all of those or just what you have. Wtth the wacky weather we're having there should be some interesting results. I know that my jugs are buried in a blanket of snow right now. But tomorrow we be in the 50's.

Comments (134)

  • barbe_wa

    I finally got the first sprout from the February 2 experiment. The cosmos "Sensation" jug has one lone sprout. For some reason, those 3 jugs just aren't sprouting as soon as all the others I've sowed. Maybe something about a "watched pot", do you suppose?

  • Matthew Condon - Indiana.Matt - IN, Zone 5/6

    I just had my first sprouts yesterday!...but, they were Agastache 'Golden Jubilee'. None from the experiment yet. Very excited about Golden Jubilee! Does any one out there grow this plant? What do you think about it?

  • lilykit64

    I am still waiting. I have over 269 jugs planted and not a sprout. I also planted the golden agastache but I am not sure where it is in my sea o' jugs. It may still be buried under snow. Today was a gorgeous day with lots of sun and melting going on. I actually have a crocus blooming beside my house in one of my gardens that melts first every year. Gives me the hope I need to get through March :)

  • barbe_wa

    My test delphiniums sprouted today. That's 2 out of 3 jugs with sprouts. The tomatoes are all I'm waiting on now.

  • lilykit64

    Gives me hope. I really hope I get germination on my Delphs. Besides the jug I planted on 2/2 I also planted at least a dozen others of differing varieties. Last year I had Zero luck but I think I planted them too late and maybe my seed was too old ?

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA

    Got a couple more sprouts Sunday -- strawflowers and quinoa of all things. Still no action from the delphs or cosmos, and it'll be awhile for the tomatoes I'm sure since they like it much warmer than it's been. I think the delph from last year, that I never planted out, is beginning to come back, but I'm not sure since I didn't label the four pots of perennials that didn't get transplanted. The leaves are the right shape, though.

  • missyga64

    Hello Everyone,

    Todays bottle check was a good one - Cosmos are very tall and have 2 sets of real leaves on them, Cherokee Purple bottle has a few sprouts about 1/2 inch tall. I didn't do the delphs test.

    When should I set out the Cosmos,?(beside the obvious after frost) I have never grow Cosmos so I have no Idea how big they should be to set out.

    Thanks

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA

    Well, I got a cosmos sprout today, but still no signs of delphinium or tomato. I hope the delph seeds are still good. I had a few sprouts from it last year, so I'll continue to wait on them for awhile yet.

    At this time of year I tend to check every day or so, and since I had no cosmos Sunday this one sprouted yesterday or today so about 38 days from planting.

  • flowerwoman_gw z6 KS

    I have cosmos sprouts here in Zone 5, east central Kansas, Kansas city area!!! That makes 15 jugs that have spouts now!! Spring truly is coming, and winter sowing is an amazing way to combat the winter blahs!

  • midmented

    No sprouts in any of my milk jugs. I'm starting to worry that I won't get anything out of the milk jugs. I didn't plant a single thing indoors this year and prayed that I would get enough from WSing. I sat out a little over 60 milk jugs as "insurance" that I would get plants. We'll see!

  • northforker

    Please do not start worrying - - you will get sprouts unless every single one of you seeds was stored incorrectly or rots in the jugs because there were not enough drainage holes! It is very hard to read about others getting sprouts when you have NO BABIES, and you just can't help but feela tiny ibt envious, but they DO come. I have been WSing for many years now and I know it is particularly hard when others in my "zone" are planting out and I haven't seen a green sprout yet, but then I remember that even in the smae zone, things can be very different in terms of how the season plays out. Here on LI I have found that, while my sprouts come later they also STAY later (as plants) into the fall. I often have the ability to put bouquets togther way into the fall - October soemtimes, while others are on here talking about being doneby Labor day. so don't fret too much!

    I have WS the golden agastache quite a bit and it is a wonderful plant to brighten a part sun/part shade area I have in my garden. It does not seem to be long lasting for me (a year or two) but then I will find seedlings in the area from the mother plant and start over.

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA

    Nan is so right that it's not time to start worrying. In six years I've never had total failure. Maybe a jug or two won't sprout and then it's usually either operator error or bad seeds. And zone is just a general term. Drippy, for example is zone 7 and she's in Alabama while I'm just barely zone 7 and am in southeastern PA and Nan is in Long Island. In between there are all kinds of variances in climate and weather. So relax. By the end of April you'll probably be wondering how you'll ever be able to plant out everything you've got.

  • midmented

    Thanks for all the positive feedback. I just went over 70 milk jugs. I started putting peppers out. Bell, Romanian, Poblano, Banana, and some seed I got from a friend who has no idea what they are (L). I just sat out some Cosmos yesterday.
    Just to be safe, I really over sowed what I actually need. I guess I'll sit in the front yard and sell extras (thinking positive!).

    Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog

  • latebloomerz6

    Finally, there are two sprouts of Cosmos which is the only test I did. The half-gallon jug I used was tipped over at one point and the potting soil was disturbed so I didn't know whether I would have any. An abundance of other sprouts are showing up in many other jugs.

  • missyga64

    These are my Cosmo babies. I cant reach the Cherokee Purple container. Will post a pic of it tomorrow when move the many containers in front of it.

  • lilykit64

    Here we go again !! All my wintersowing is once again covered in snow. Seems like it will never end. Someone send me some Spring weather....please :)

  • midmented

    We didn't get THAT much snow. Picture from this morning:
    {{gwi:348796}}

    Here is a link that might be useful: DW's Blog

  • ryseryse_2004

    So jealous of all of you with sprouts but I'm glad mine stayed frozen. We are going to have another week with days in the 20's and nights in the teens. I would have lost them all last week when we had a warm spell if they had decided to wake up.

    I guess warm weather will come eventually --- it always does.

  • missyga64

    Cosmos on the left and Cherokee Purple on the right.

    I had to take the top off of both bottles, they plants were fighting to get out the little hole in the top. LOL

    The small beds I have in the front yard are ready. I will be planting a few of the Cherokees in one with a few other veggies and the cosmos will be in the flower bed in front of the house with the Sun flowers.

    I am a little nervous about hurting the plants when I remove them from the bottle and separate. They look like they have pretty good root systems on them. Any hints or tips ?

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA

    Gorgeous plants -- nothing like that here anytime soon.

    I'd plant the tomatoes deep, up to the first leaves so they form even better roots -- they'll root all along the stem that's buried. And I wouldn't worry about pulling them apart, they'll be fine. But I'd do it soon. They do look a bit crowded and won't grow much more till they get some room.

    No advice on cosmos since I've never transplanted. I'd be tempted to just tear the clump in two and plant as HOSes.

    Have fun. I'm so jealous. :)

    Caryl

  • missyga64

    Caryl - The toms are a bit crowded, probably 15 plants in that bottle. I had never WS before and wasn't sure how many seeds to plant.

    It wont be a problem to plant deep in one garden, the other will take a bit of work (lots of hard red clay under that bed)

    HOSes ? acronym I am not familiar with, LOL - I think I will end up making three clumps and giving one to each of my girls for their houses.

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA

    HOS is hunk of seedlings and it's just what it sounds like. I usually have to use that method with plants from very small seeds because it's so hard to sow them thinly and the result is a crowded container. Just tear them into clumps and let the seedlings fight it out in the garden.

    The alternative is painstakingly separating each one and I don't have the patience for that.


  • mnwsgal

    Hey, the snow has melted and I can see my containers. Even knowing better, I still looked inside. LOL

  • pghgardengirl

    mnwsgal: I had to laugh to myself because I did exactly that this morning! Knowing it's probably too early, I still couldn't resist peeking!Only one container germinated so far in the open garden up on the hill in the back yard, which was a flower mix ( some cheap seeds I picked up somewhere). I don't even know if they are annuals or perennials LOL....but the containers I had on my porch on the east side are all sprouted. Go figure!

  • barbe_wa

    The last of my test jugs sprouted yesterday - the Black Krim tomato. I don't think my summer will be long enough for it to produce ripe tomatoes, but at least it finally sprouted.

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA

    Well, my cosmos have been up for awhile, but I think the delph seeds were no good since neither the Feb. 2 container or the earlier one I put out have anything in them. And no cherokee purple or black krim here yet.

    I thought I had a tomato sprout earlier, but it either disappeared or I was seeing things. Yesterday I finally had one for real - an Amish Paste -- but that's one out of something like 50 tomato seeds planted. Crossing my fingers that this spring isn't a complete tomato bust. I keep telling myself it's worked every other year, but it's getting hard now that the weather's warmed up.

  • terrene

    Yippee, my first test jug sprouted today here in eastern Mass., and it's been a slow Spring this year!

    I have 1 Cosmos Sensation sprout, hardy little bugger. This is only the 3rd container that has sprouted this year so far.

  • mnwsgal

    Don't toss your delphinium container. Last year I had one that didn't germinate until after a cool stretch in early fall and then temps warmed again and they popped up. If you do decide to dump the container do it in an area that won't be disturbed. There might be some surprises that fall or next spring.

  • lilykit64

    No sprouts for me yet on our experiment seeds. I do have about 25 other jugs that have sprouted. Lupines, poppies, verbascum, sunflowers, scarlet flax, alyssum, bachelors buttons and cardoon...go figure !! I still have hope. It's been a long winter but I think the best is yet to come.

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA

    @Barbe, the last couple years my black krims, which aren't up here yet, went in kind of small in mid-may and had ripe tomatoes by early to mid-August, so you might get some. I hope you do because they've quickly become one of my favorite tomatoes.

    We probably should have done something like an Anna Russian, which has a shorter DTM, for the experiment since there are a lot of zone 5s doing this.

    @mnswgal, it's hard to keep hope alive on the delphs, but I'll try. Maybe I'll just stick the containers in a corner of the garden somewhere and see if anything happens, but the fact that there's nothing in 3 containers really has me questioning the seed quality, though i did get at least one from the same seed last year so who knows.

    @lilykit, at least you've got some green to console you while you wait. Here's hoping spring is here at last. It was actually too hot here yesterday, almost 90. A storm blew through last night though and back to more normal 60s today. I was afraid we were going to have one of those years where it goes from the 40s to the 80s with no spring to speak of.

  • Matthew Condon - Indiana.Matt - IN, Zone 5/6

    Finally! My Cherokee Purple just sprouted yesterday...it's about time. It's still too early to plant them out, but I would expect them to be fine in their container. I planted 3 seeds and I got 3 sprouts. I was beginning to wonder if they were ever going to do anything. We'v had plenty of relatively warm days.

  • terrene

    My first Cherokee purple sprouted today (well technically now it's yesterday)!

    This kind of surprises me because tomatoes are heat lovers, and the containers for this group experiment are out with the perennials and shrub seeds, get morning sun only and they're not sheltered from frost. Let's see if the container will protect them on cold nights?

  • ellenrr

    MissyGA- re HOS
    sometimes I pick the seedlings apart carefully, but mostly I plant them in bunches. It depends on what look you like.

    My suggestion, either way - to disturb the roots as little as possible, and if use the HOS method, to keep as much dirt as the roots are in with them when you transplant. Of course if you separate the seedlings, you disturb them more, plus I usually don't have patience for this, but when I have done it, they seem to do just fine.

    another alternative is sometimes I plant them out in a hunk, and divide them later, when their roots are stronger. that works too.

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA

    My cherokee purple finally sprouted Sunday. It's among the slowest of the tomatoes to sprout, which I find weird because it was in a container on the inside of the sea of jugs. And so far only one of four seeds is up.

    Still no delphs, and the one I kept in a pot from last year has been up for weeks.

  • ladyrose65

    Black Krim has now germinated it looked like 3-days ago. No germ in the cosmos.

    2 out of 3 ain't bad.

  • pghgardengirl

    I have two cherry tomatoes sprouted, pink cosmos, but no delphs. Had a dog mishap with the Black Krim & Cherokee Purple. You can't put anything down for a second around here.

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA

    LOL. The dogs are why my jugs are on the patio table -- when they're on the ground the one grabs the handle and hauls it all over the yard, then I go around trying to salvage the clumps I find by putting them in an empty pot. A few gaillardias actually survived from late last summer, which is when I realized some plants I was keeping in jugs were disappearing. They'll go into their permanent home sometime soon. Now it's a matter of keeping the dogs out of the garden off the patio. They love to go in and sniff things and wind up trampling seedlings. Time to get the DH to fix the invisible fence and funnel the dogs to the back half-acre to play. :)

  • missyga64

    The Cosmos are blooming, I did manage to separate the 'clump' in to 9 smaller pods with 2-3 plants in each one.

    The Cherokee Purples are about 24 inches tall and have the beginnings of flower buds on some of them.

    I hope everyone's babies are coming alone as nicely.

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA

    You must be in full-blown summer weather already, Missy. Your cosmos look great. My cosmos (the few that survived having their container snatched by the dog and dragged around the yard) are about 3-4 inches tall. The Delphinium never did sprout. I think I planted black krim, and they're struggling, but the cherokee purple, sown around the same time, is already in the ground even though it's only a few inches tall. Seems to be doing great. The Delphinium never did sprout.

    Caryl

  • ladyrose65

    The delphinium died? The cosmos never sprouted. The Black Krim is all that is left?

  • mnwsgal

    May 18 and nothing in any of my experiment containers. Only a few of my ws containers are sprouting, everything is very late here this year.

  • lizbest1

    I planted delphiniums and cosmos for the experiment but neither jug sprouted. Planted more jugs of cosmos a month ago and those are almost ready to plant out. Think Feb was too early for my area.....

  • mnwsgal

    June 11 and nada, not a single sprout in any of these containers. We've had so many cold, cloudy, rainy days that only a few of my total containers have sprouted. I'm wondering if the seeds rotted. Even the self sown tomatoes in the ground are growing. Unless there is a big surprise when we ever get two days in a row of dry sunny warm weather this was a complete failure for me.
    Won't post again unless something shows up. Maybe try again next year?

  • terrene

    I ended up with 2 Cosmos Sensation sprouts, which was kind of stingy because they usually sprout more than that, and those were planted out about 2 weeks ago.

    I also ended up with 3 small Cherokee purple tomato sprouts and I just planted those out a couple days ago, in a little HOS. Don't have enough room for too many tomato plants, got some Sungold, Carmello, and Ace 55 too.

  • docmom_gw

    I didn't do the experiment with all of you, but I was just reading through some of the recent posts. I think that colder regions can sometimes end up with rotted seeds if they are planted too early and spend too much time in the moist jugs un-germinated. And I think this year was especially bad in some areas because of all the rain and a prolonged, cool spring. Unless a seed needs cold stratification, I don't think there is any advantage to sowing earlier than a few weeks or a month before they would be expected to germinate normally.

    Martha

  • docmom_gw

    I didn't do the experiment with all of you, but I was just reading through some of the recent posts. I think that colder regions can sometimes end up with rotted seeds if they are planted too early and spend too much time in the moist jugs un-germinated. And I think this year was especially bad in some areas because of all the rain and a prolonged, cool spring. Unless a seed needs cold stratification, I don't think there is any advantage to sowing earlier than a few weeks or a month before they would be expected to germinate normally.

    Martha

  • silverkelt

    I learned long ago not to sow things too early, Other then items that need strat, you can sow most items (especially annuals) in april for the most part.

    I wouldn't bother wintersowing cosmos. Its a fairly easy direct sower.

    (the items you want early is either the cold strat, or the cold hardy annuals (Im thinking lettuce , herbs , calendula, poppies, BBs even then a late march sowing here will do the job) Most of these can be planted out before the last frost dates, so get them going early!

    when I first wintersowed, I did them in December, next year Jan, Then next Feb ect.. I learned fast that 100+ inches of ice and snow will just ruin milk jugs quickly. Just too much weight on them.

  • caryltoo Z7/SE PA

    I usually sow in Feb. so I wasn't too worried about the Feb. 2 date. I don't think any of the seeds rotted because all of my tomatoes eventually came up as did just about everything else -- they just didn't thrive. As for doing the cosmos this way, the few that survived the dog are blooming while the ones I direct sowed are only about 8 inches high, so the wintersown ones did get a jumpstart.

    Dark, damp days probably had as much to do with things sprouting then just lingering as anything. We had no significant snow and it wasn't even all that cold -- just gray and dreary and wet.

  • mnwsgal

    I've been ws for 7+ years and generally start my perennial seeds anytime after winter solstice though mostly in late January/February. Annuals get sown in late March/early April. Most everything sprouts by midMay.

    I probably should have covered the jugs during some of those daily rains. With the changing weather patterns I will consider it a lesson learned and hope that we don't have another such spring for many years.

    Some of the jugs were "second chance" jugs, seeds that didn't sprout last year and given a second sowing to see if they might another time. Perhaps those seeds would not have sprouted this year anyway.

    A few of the old reliables sprouted, alcea, aquilegia, dianthus, papaver, penstemon, platycodyn. Annuals: antirrhinum, cleome, gomphrena, mirabalis, nasturtium, nicotiana, portulaca, salvia, and zinnia.

  • prairiemoon2 z6 MA

    I appreciated this experiment and enjoyed reading how it worked out for everyone. I love these kind of experiments. Unfortunately, I think you all had a difficult spring that year. I remember what it was like. Unusually late and cold for us here in Massachusetts. That spring I had bare root roses delivered at the usual time and had to hold them in the refrigerator for 10 days before they could do out.

    Wondering if you all winter sowed the following two years and how that went? Especially last year after that incredible winter we had.

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