Messages posted to thread:

From:Date:Zone:
Susan26-Aug-04 12:20 PM EST 3a   
Glen26-Aug-04 10:20 PM EST 7   
Susan26-Aug-04 10:56 PM EST 3a   
Jayne27-Aug-04 04:20 PM EST 2b   
Jayne27-Aug-04 04:25 PM EST 2b   
Susan27-Aug-04 05:33 PM EST 3a   
dm27-Aug-04 10:39 PM EST 3   
Susan28-Aug-04 07:47 AM EST 3a   
dm28-Aug-04 12:03 PM EST 3   


Subject: Planting perennial seeds in the fall?
From: Susan
Zone: 3a
Date: 26-Aug-04 12:20 PM EST

I have read in seed catalogues and other publications that you can direct sow some perennial seeds in your garden in the fall. Would this apply to my zone (3a - south of Calgary, AB) or just to milder climates? When would be the time to plant? Do you plant early enough to get a start or do you sow later to prevent germination until spring? Can anyone suggest perennial varieties that can be planted this way?


Subject: RE: Planting perennial seeds in the fall?
From: Glen
Zone: 7
Date: 26-Aug-04 10:20 PM EST

Susan--I hesitate to suggest answers for your area, so different from mine, but thought I'd make a comment from my limited experience...

Perennials naturally set seed and drop them thru the summer and fall, so the seeds tend to go thru the winter before germinating the following spring. They normally benefit from the period of cold during winter, it actually jogs the seeds into sprouting when warmth returns.

Keeping seeds and sowing them once it warms up in spring may prevent them from germinating, in many cases of perennials and shrubs/trees.

Even so, every plant works different. For example, hellebores need quite a few months of warm, moist weather (summer/fall in nature)before they begin to germinate in the cool of winter.

Lewisias need only about a month of cool/cold treatment...I sow mine here in pots outside in Feb., so they begin germinating sometime in March.

I'm also trying to think of perennials suitable for sowing directly in the garden, most are pretty slow or delicate and I prefer to sow in pots or even a nursery bed for growing on a bit before transplanting. I'm surely forgetting some of the more robust plants, but the stuff I grow mostly would get lost in the garden if I just scattered around seed in the fall.

One exception I can think of is columbines...these do reseed themselves constantly and could be just cast over a prepared area like wildflower seed mixture. And echinops...this pops up everywhere each spring from the tons of seeds produced. Hmmm, actually there are a few perennials good for direct sowing after all!!!

Good question, Susan. And again, it must really vary with the area of the country you're gardening in...I'm thinking of your winters as so much drier and changeable weatherwise cp. ours on the west coast. What sorts of perennials are commonly grown in your neighbourhoods?

Glen


Subject: RE: Planting perennial seeds in the fall?
From: Susan
Zone: 3a
Date: 26-Aug-04 10:56 PM EST

Glen - Thank-you for your reply. I live on an acreage property and have lots of space to fill and lots of space I can work in. My idea was to start a nursery bed for transplanting later to my flower beds and borders. Because I have the space outside and not inside I thought I would try direct sowing and see what works.

I understand your comment about seeds requiring a cold period. Since my original post I have read that Foxglove and Lupins can be planted in the fall and Lupins prefer it to break down the hard outer coating of the seed. It seems to me that I don't want to sow too early and risk having the seeds start to germinate. So my dilemma would be deciding when would be the best time to sow the seeds. Anyone on the praires have any suggestions?

I am familiar with Columbines - they reseed readily here as well. Some other perennials I have growing well in this zone are Monkshood, Iris, Rubeckia, Coneflower, Cranesbill, Goldenrod, Daisies, Asters, Coral Bells, Daylilies, Beebalm, Coreopsis, Phlox. My sister lived in the Vancouver area for a few years and I envy the milder moister west coast weather and what seems to be the almost year round growing season. Just this week we had a brutal hailstorm which shredded much of my garden. Given that we are heading towards the end of our growing season I have starting thinking forward to next year's garden already.

Call me Sad Susan...


Subject: RE: Planting perennial seeds in the fall?
From: Jayne
Zone: 2b
Date: 27-Aug-04 04:20 PM EST

Hi Susan, I also live on an acreage in the cold zone. I started with a clean slate, the lady that lived here didn't have one perenial on the whole yard so with cost being an issue I planted seeds. Delphiniums did great being planted in the fall for spring. I didn't have much luck with others, but up until this year it has been extremely dry here (Sask.) Actually I moved here from Calgary. Calgary is challenging gardening with the crazy weather, but what fun would it be without the prairie extremes ;o)


Subject: RE: Planting perennial seeds in the fall?
From: Jayne
Zone: 2b
Date: 27-Aug-04 04:25 PM EST

p.s. Susan I planted my seeds the last time I worked my garden which was the end of Sept.


Subject: RE: Planting perennial seeds in the fall?
From: Susan
Zone: 3a
Date: 27-Aug-04 05:33 PM EST

Thank-you for your reply Jayne. I think I will give Delphiniums a try. Our acreage is the original homestead from a family farm and there are a few things growing that I think have been here for many many years. I have a patch of Delphiniums but it is very thin. Maybe I could plant in the same area to revitalize the patch.

Extremes is the definitely the buzzword for the prairies. After several years of drought, this year was a welcome relief until the 2 hailstorms we had. This week's storm was brutal and some crops were virtually wiped out. At least my gardening is only a hobby and not my livelihood.


Subject: RE: Planting perennial seeds in the fall?
From: dm
Zone: 3
Date: 27-Aug-04 10:39 PM EST

Susan, I found some information on the web about sowing seeds in winter. I live in Calgary, and am very excited about trying it this year, especially since I've accumulated too many varieties of seeds...I don't have space to start them all indoors! Here's a site for you to explore. It also leads to a Winter Sowing forum that gives even more information that you may find helpful.

http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/wtrsow/


Subject: RE: Planting perennial seeds in the fall?
From: Susan
Zone: 3a
Date: 28-Aug-04 07:47 AM EST

dm - Thanks for the link! It will take some time to look through it but at first glance it looks like a wealth of information. Do you have any idea yet what varieties you are going to try?


Subject: RE: Planting perennial seeds in the fall?
From: dm
Zone: 3
Date: 28-Aug-04 12:03 PM EST

At last count I had approximately 150 different packages of seed! Talk about an addiction! I haven't sorted them yet into winter-sowing vs starting indoors. I'll do that once the gardening season is over and I (hopefully) have more time.

Many seeds that I have are for alpine plants and should be well-suited to starting outdoors in winter. Perennials that require a period of cold to break dormancy are perfect as well. Any annual that's listed as hardy will work, as I understand it. So, I'll be checking my seed reference books (there's lots in the library) and also the instructions on the back of most packages. The website I gave you also gives lists of specific seeds that work and also certain words in sowing instructions that let you know if unlisted seeds are suitable.


In order to post the forum, you must register to the site.
To register, click here.

If you have already registered, you must log in.
  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row