Starting winter growing seed

Kathy Stokmanis
Mon, 09 Feb 2004 10:01:54 PST
Climate makes such a difference, which is why I really appreciate people posting their zones and information about their climate.  Mary Sue gardens on the coast in Northern California and I garden inland in the foothills of the Sierras.  What a difference a hundred or so miles makes.  This year my climate must have been ideal for winter sowing.  Calochortus venusta planted outside in uncovered pots this fall from my own seed and several months later C. splendens from PBS BX seed in pots covered with plastic bags both germinated very well and survive.  These fragile seedlings get knocked down easily by the rain but I still have a plethora of survivors.  Calochortus grows wild here and the grasses sprout with the fall rains in November and December, slowly growing taller all winter.  I think they must provide a natural support for the C. seedlings without overshadowing them.

Sparaxis hybrids, Bulbinella cauda felis, Allium platycaule, Hesperanthus magna, H. cuculata and Moraea loebsen (?) also responded very well to winter sowing--all BX seed.  The Brunsvigia grandiflora seeds started last October (not exactly winter sowing, since it's still quite hot here then) have been outside unprotected all winter.  They are doing well.

I love to read about seed sowing successes and failures.  So far I have just been guessing and blundering about.  I need to get a good reference on it and will review the PBS archives.  I know there was a discussion of favorite books somewhere.

Kathy Stokmanis
Supposedly Sunset zone 7 but it hasn't snowed at my place in two years--just rain, rain and more rain.  Occasional frosts in the morning.  Very hot and dry in summer for prolonged periods.  I'm more worried about my seedlings surviving the summer than I am about the winter.

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