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RE: When to WS HA's esp. in z5 (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: vera_eastern_wa on 02.22.2009 at 07:11 pm in Winter Sowing Forum

Yup, last year I did my Calendula on 12/22 and germination started 3/8
Other hardy annuals I do early or would still but they usually self-sow themselves in fall and winter-over on their own or start very early spring; sometimes both in the case of Larkspur, Nigella and Poppies:

Snapdragon (are perennial mostly for me though)
Clarkia elegans
Clarkia amoena (Godetia)
Cerinthe major
Linaria maroccana
Impatiens balsamina
Rudbeckia hirta
Coreopsis tinctoria
Cynoglossum amabile
Lunaria annua
Bells of Ireland
Scabiosa atropurpurea
Verbena bonariensis
Sweet Alyssum


wintersow viola, impatients, amaranth during last week in Feb.
clipped on: 02.23.2009 at 09:49 pm    last updated on: 02.23.2009 at 09:50 pm

RE: Average last frost (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: tropicanarama on 03.12.2005 at 08:24 am in Midwest Gardening Forum

You gotta pretty much stick to the May 15 date these days. The average low around April 15 is only 37 according to, and the mean temp is like 42 - that's really, really pushing it for seedlings, and one dip below the AVERAGE means all your hard work is ruined. I've put a chart below so you can see the yearly average & record highs and lows - you'll see that even in late April/early May, that green line dips dangerously near/below the dreaded frost line. (Some people wait til Memorial Day to be on the safe side!)

BUT... you have plenty of options for starting seeds now. We're just about 9 weeks out. You can certainly plant things that require 8-10 weeks to transplant:
- Vinca
- Impatiens
- Petunias
- Moss roses
- Verbena
- Gazania
- Cleome
- Thyme

and, if you plan on hardening off for a week or so in a frost-protected place like an enclosed porch, you can plant the 8-week stuff this weekend - here's on my seed starting list for today:
- Ageratum
- Bachelor's buttons
- Four o'clocks
- Nicotiana
- Snapdragons
- Alyssum
- Celosia
- Dahlias
- Dianthus
- Evening Primrose
- Hollyhocks
- Penstemon
- Poppies
- Malva
- Nigella
- Melampodium
- Rose Campion
- Heliotrope
- Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers (use peat pots - they get big fast)
- Coleus

Hold out another two weeks to plant the 6-week stuff:
- Morning Glories
- Moonflower
- Scabiosa
- Sweet William
- Stock
- Amaranth
- penstemon

and maybe wait even three or four weeks more to start:
- cucumbers (peat pots for sure)
- cosmos
- marigolds
- zinnias
- calendula/pot marigolds
- dill

...So I guess all of which goes to say, if you're jonesing to plant now, you can - just grow some new varieties.

And if you can't STAND holding out, check out the winter sowing forum. It's very reassuring to do low-maintenance gardening when it's snowing out, like today! Plus... think about planting some of those crops that need direct sowing as early as possible, like sweet peas and radishes. You can get those into the Actual Yard by April 1 - that'll make you feel better too!

Good luck, and let me know if you want to trade seedlings here in Chicago :)


Here is a link that might be useful: Chicago weather averages


clipped on: 02.13.2009 at 11:44 pm    last updated on: 02.13.2009 at 11:44 pm