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 

Originally written by Dave @ The Home Garden
Not to be reproduced or re-blogged without permission. No feed scraping is permitted.
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Blizzard Warning: Be Prepared

Here in Illinois, we are preparing for a major winter storm that could dump more than a foot of snow before the storm finally leaves. They say it can dump as much as three inches an hour and will be blizzard conditions.

This is going to be a rough 48-hours, and your home has to be prepared for the worst. It’s no different than living in a hurricane or flooding area. There is always a chance that it could happen, so you need to be prepared. The last thing you want is something major happening when there is a blizzard.

1. Check your windows. Winds can be in excess of 30-40 miles per hour in a blizzard and that means wind chills of 30 or 40 degrees below zero. You windows are the weakest link in keeping the heat in your home. Winds this fast and cold can drop a house temperature by 10 degrees or more, especially if they are drafty. Protect your home by putting plastic over the windows and securing it with tape and staples.

2. Cover door cracks. Doors are another place of significant heat loss, as the wind slips through the cracks such as the bottom of the door. Place a blanket at the bottom off the door to cover the crack, and if the door isn’t used, then cover it in plastic just like the windows.

3. Make sure awning and screen doors are secure. I learned this the hard way. A few years ago, wind ripped an awning off our front door. Every awning is triple secured using multiple screws, and I am sure that if a tornado hits, the only thing that would be left of house would be the awnings. Screen doors have a tendency to become unlatched, and while they may not be ripped off their hinges, you don’t want to hear a slamming door all night.

4. Keep an eye on your pipes. The cold of a blizzard can easily cause the pipes to freeze, and you can suddenly find yourself without water. It’s best to buy some bottled water in case this happens. It’s also not a bad idea to buy a couple days’ worth of meals and snacks.

5. Always have extra blankets.
With high winds and cold temperatures, there is the possibility that the electricity could go out. Crews will have a hard time finding the problem in a blizzard and fixing it, so it may be a day or so before the power comes back on. For many, that means no heat, so pile on the blankets to keep everyone warm. You may want to consider purchasing a backup generator for such a purpose.

A blizzard can be deadly to those who are not prepared for the worst. Emergency crews will have a difficult time navigating the snow-covered roads and seeing in blizzard conditions, so it’s best to be prepared and keep yourself and your family safe.

Image Source: flickr.com/photos/jasonpersse/5297211166

Related posts:

  1. Winterizing Your Home: Quick and Easy Tips to Keep Heat In
  2. How to Grill Safely in the Wintertime
  3. Outdoor Living Ideas: Camping in the Winter

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Seed Sowing Saturday!

Next week I’ll be starting my seed sowing and I wanted to invite all other bloggers to join in to share their experiences. Each Saturday we’ll post about what we’ve done with our seeds, what we’ve selected, what we’ve planted, and how it’s doing. From sowing to growing it’s all fair-game!

What can we talk about?

  • seed selection
  • how you start your seeds 
  • winter sowing
  • equipment you use
  • techniques like stratification and scarification
  • growing and transplanting

We’ll keep this meme going until May when most gardeners have finished sowing their crops (we can always add more Saturdays if needed.) Once you have your post ready leave a link in the comments of the current SSS Post here on The Home Garden, just be sure to link back so that others may join in the fun!

I hope you will chime in and share your seed sowing experiences every Saturday with us! If you like starting seeds then this is your meme!

When will you be starting your seeds?

P.S. If you can’t get enough seed talk don’t forget to join in Mr. Brownthumb’s Seedchat on Twitter!

Originally written by Dave @ The Home Garden
Not to be reproduced or re-blogged without permission. No feed scraping is permitted.
All Rights Reserved.


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