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Winter Sowing 101!

The EASIEST way to start seeds at home

Wintersown containers opened up in May

What is Winter Sowing?

Baby yarrow plants sprouting up in April

This unique way to start seeds is my absolute favorite for the home garden. The premise behind it is that you are getting a jump start on your growing season by creating a miniature greenhouse for your seeds. Your "greenhouse" can be any recycled container, get creative! I have used milk jugs, salad containers, plastic totes, really anything that is clear or opaque will work! You will be leaving your "greenhouses" out in the elements so your seeds will sprout when mother nature tells them to! This method has many benefits, it produces stronger plants that transplant easier, naturally stratifies those tougher perennial seeds, and is just so ridiculously easy.

To get started...

I start sowing my seeds anytime from January to April. There is no set time with wintersowing because the seeds will sprout when they should according to the weather. Isn't nature amazing?

To begin:

Drill holes in the bottom of your container. I typically add 10-12 spaced as evenly as possible.

Cut your container. I start cutting about 5 inches from the bottom and leave a inch to inch and a half uncut to use as a hinge. It is OK if you cut the top off completely though!

Fill your container! Use whatever mix you have handy. I have had good luck with Promix, Happy Frog and Vermont Compost! If your soil was not moist, be sure to give it a good watering before adding your seeds.

Add your seeds! This is the fun part! For larger seeds like tomatoes or nasturtiums I might only add 7-10 seeds, but for smaller plants like herbs or perennial flowers I just sprinkle them liberally.

Add a label (this is key!) I like to add a plastic label stuck into the soil. Putting one INSIDE the jug seems to last longer and better for my scatterbrained self. Permanent marker WILL fade in the elements, especially if written on the container itself, in a pinch you can use pencil on the tape and I've found that lasts longer.

Tape your container shut! I like to use painters tape because it is easy to remove later.

Ta-da! You're done! Now obsessively check your containers until you see little baby sprouts! I peek in about once a week to make sure the soil looks slightly moistened. I rarely ever need to water but in the event that your soil looks dry, just open the top, add water, and close it up again.

A few notes:

*Cutting the containers can be tricky. Please use caution!

*Keep your containers! I have some that are going strong after several seasons!

A big pile of used containers, some of these are 5 seasons old!

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