Herbs Propagating plants Seed wintersown

Garden Plants — Acquiring them the No-Stress way

In a previous post I mentioned that I had started some lavender cuttings which were in small pots. In addition to those I had some small rosemary and lavender plants that I had started from seed using the winter sown method last December and January.

I never got around to planting all of them earlier in the season so they just sat there during the summer and fall. I kept an eye on them in the heat of the summer to make sure they had water when the soil in the pots dried out. After September I just ignored them. All are fine.

Decided to plant everything this morning.  Walked around my borders with plants in hand to determine good spots. Then planted.

I got to thinking about how this is definitely a NO STRESS way to plant.

Allow me to explain what I mean by No Stress.

If you’ve ordered or purchased young potted plants (starts or seedlings) within the last year or so — you know how high the price has gone.  That limits those of us working within a budget as to how many plants we can buy. And of course, if you’re really into gardening you want more than just say one herb or one perennial — but rather several kinds —- and lots of them.  At today’s prices — that can mount up quickly.

Then you get them home — and since you only have one or two of each kind you want to put them in just the right spot to give’em the best chance to flourish and grow. That takes a bit of time in thought and preparation. And of course there’s more time in watching to make sure they’re doing ok and that they don’t dry out and have water while they get started.

If for some reason one or more doesn’t make it — you’re out a nice chunk of change — and if your budget doesn’t allow — you may not be able to purchase more.  If your budget does allow for more— you just may decide not to chance it anyway.

I think the bottom line here is that you’re missing out on a lot of fun by not having a lot of plants. After all — life is a learning adventure and if you’re into gardening — you need plants to learn.

If you can relate to what I’ve just said — no worries —- I have a solution.

  • Buy seed.

Pinetree is one of the least expensive and has a extensive selection. This will allow you to buy a lot more.  You can purchase a package of most herb seed (usually 100 seeds) anywhere from $.95 to $1.95.  (At Burpee you’d pay at least $3.95 per package.)

Also check Diane’s Seeds and Annie’s Heirloom Seeds.  Both have excellent prices and a different and good selection.

  • Start your seed using the winter-sown method.

Even if you’ve never started seed EVER before — it’s easy as pie.   I have lots of posts on wintersown and seed starting and if you need a few more questions answered just write to me.

Winter sown is pretty much a “plant-and-ignore” procedure.  Gives you lots of time to fit things into your schedule.

  • When you reach the last step — which is planting in the garden or border —- there is NO STRESS whatsoever.

At this point — with very little effort — you have LOTS of plants of each herb or perennial or annual that you wanted.

Walk around your borders in spring or fall at a time when it’s cool and the soil is moist. Plant everywhere you think those plants would look good.  (You can water them in for good soil to root contact if you want — but it’s not really necessary if the soil is moist.)

  • And then pretty much forget them.

Estimating Your Cost and Savings

Yes — you might lose a few.

Let’s say you plant 20 rosemary plants. (About 10 cents each if you paid $1.95 for the seed.)  Unless conditions are very poor you’ll probably have half or more make it. (20 cents each)  But let’s go with the worse case scenario.  —-Say only one makes it.  That would bring your cost to about $2 which is still better than $5 to $15.00 per plant at a nursery or online.

I love the white iberis (candy tuft) together with the bathe’s pink in the spring. This coming spring will be more to my liking because of all the new iberis plants I’ve added among the bathe’s pink for less than 25 cents a piece.

Final Thoughts

I love white candy tuft (iberis) in the spring with bathe’s pink and never seem to get enough of the candy tuft.

This spring I planted candy tuft that had been winter sown in January all around my borders and then just forgot about them. When I was walking around the border planting this morning, I was delighted to see how many candy tufts had made it through and how big the were.

I can hardly wait to see them this coming spring!

No stress here.


Related Posts:

Seed Companies – Selecting Them

Pinetree Garden Seeds – Good News from A TMG Reader

Wintersown -Another Plus

Seed Starting – Another Variation of Wintersown

Early Hakurei Turnips – Compliments of the Wintersown Method

Warm Weather Crops and the Winter Sown Method

Wintersown and Garden Report – Radishes, Lettuce, Spinach

Looking at Winter Sown Seedling and the Garden

Seed Starting – It’s easy even with less than perfect conditions

Seed – the advantages – Dianes Flower Seeds

You can Plant in December

Organic gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot healthier.


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  • Another inexpensive source of seed, with a very amusing catalog, is Fedco. I usually start my flowers from seed, but you can also look for markdowns. Last year I got two re-blooming lilacs for a few dollars because they had been under-watered and had a few brown leaves. With the branches trimmed back they did fine. Sometimes a nursery will mark down a perennial because it has finished blooming or the pot is cracked. My front bed has gerberia, daiseys, rudbeckia, delphiniums, daylilys, and others, all from the markdown shelf and in between are snapdragons, dianthus, sweet William, rudbeckia, lavender and others from seed.

  • Just got my Fedco catalog today Abigail. Had not opened, but now that you’ve said it’s very amusing — I’ll check it out before bed tonight.

    Thanks for commenting.

  • Theresa,I was late getting my seed ordered this year & just received my lavender seed from Diane last week. First time for me trying from seed. Any tips on getting them started from seed this time of year? The instructions were to just plant out, but I’m thinking, since it’s so hot right now, of maybe starting a few in 4-packs just in case the ones in the garden don’t take in this heat. That way I could move them out when they won’t cook in the sun & move them back to shade when it gets too hot.


  • Betty, lavender seeds need to be cold-stratified (a period of cold needed before germination).
    They can be sown in a garden bed in the fall and will cold-stratify over the winter.
    Soil temperature has to be in the range of 50 to 70 or so degrees for germination to take place.
    (Germination takes about 2 to 4 weeks.)
    So – that would rule out summer germination.

    If you want to start now, I like your plan to start indoors. You could get them started now and transplant about September to the garden, they’d time to set roots before the severe cold sets in.

    Good luck. Let me know how you do.

  • I’m so excited about having more lavender plants in my garden! We love the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly and the one lavender plant I had planted near the entrance of the vegetable garden always has one on it every time I go out, Sometimes two. What a sight!

    One more question. Should I put the seeds in the fridge for a couple of weeks before trying to plant them? Would that be a long enough cold spell to encourage them to germinate?

    Thanks so much,

  • I’m not sure of an exact time Betty, but probably a couple weeks would be fine. I might do a month to be sure. You might be able to Google the time and see what you can find.

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