Winter sowing geophytes

Wed, 24 Dec 2008 11:43:28 PST
Here's a question to ponder on Christmas Eve......any input would be most
So far our fall has been colder than normal, which usually means a cold
winter.  By cold in South Georgia (USDA hardiness zone 8b) I mean that we
will have freezes in the low 30's F, hard freezes in the 20's F, and
possibly even some temps in the teens.  Our weather generally swings back
(heaven help us today it's in the 70s) but I have already dealt with several
hard freezes over the last couple of months that would not usually hit until
January.  Since the promised cool greenhouse has not been built that means
lots of covering and uncovering of plants.
A wise collector would limit her planting at this point to things that do
not require extra care until spring, especially because my collection is
already causing a lot of work.  Of course, a wise collector wouldn't be a
member of PBS, IBS, FDS, CSSA and ICPA, hold a full time job, and have just
moved all of her plants to a new home.  
Having admitted that I am not a wise collector (anyway, I think that's an
oxymoron) I have been thinking about how to use the weather to my advantage.
This would be a perfect year to test wintersowing of seeds.  Those that
require warmth and babying could be grown indoors with or without a heat mat
but that could only be a few if I want my husband to remain calm.  I have
seeds of a few different Zephyranthes yet to sow, those will probably be in
this first category and I might have room for one or two other plants.  What
I am really looking for are seed-producing geophytes that prefer to be sown
outdoors in the winter and mostly ignored until spring, ie seeds that like
or can tolerate some stratification but don't require a severe winter.
My climate is not condusive to plants that prefer a long steady chill every
year, many winters are mild and our summers are brutally hot- AHS heat zone
9.  This would, however, be a great time to get some seedlings established
before summer hits.  Also this time of year I both have free time and can
stand to be outdoors midday without passing out from heat stroke.   I have
lost many tender seedlings to heat, lack of water, or an overage of water
during the summer.  (including, alas, some beauties from Silverhill)
Suggestions, anyone?  What seeds would have the best chance?  
Thank you.  Again, any input would be most appreciated! Oh, and Merry
Erin Grace
Thomasville, Georgia USA
USDA hardiness zone 8b, AHS heat zone 9


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