• New Year’s Day 2011-My first wintersowing

    by  • January 2, 2011 • Garden, How to, Projects, Winter • 7 Comments

    Jan 1, 2011

    This afternoon when it warmed up to a brisk 40F degrees, I tapped little soil ice cubes out of a planting tray, getting ready for my first attempt at wintersowing. I have a lot of seeds saved, and after counting how many grape boxes I had, selected a number of varieties to sow.

    Do I look cold? I am….

    Do I look cold? I am….

    Kneeling in front of the potting bench, completely shocked at how frozen my potting soil bin had become, I chipped off the frozen crust to dig out some crumbly mix. This is a combination of regular garden soil, a bag of all purpose potting soil and old soil from last summer’s pots. I mix it all up with a few shovels full of manure, and call it done.  I keep it in an old wheelbarrow that the Tractor Man ran over with his tractor. It has no wheels or the handles now, just a barrow now, but good for a soil bin.

    Grape boxes have holes and hinged lids already

    Grape boxes have holes and hinged lids already

    I filled all these grape boxes, come from Costco, with an inch and a half of soil and brought them up to the upper patio where the hose was not as frozen as the lower one. I soaked each one with a bit of water…they were already wet.  These clear plastic grape boxes have hinged lids that snap together and I’m hoping they will do as well as milk jugs, which we don’t buy in gallon sized anymore.

    Each box filled with 1 1/2 inches of dirt

    Each box filled with 1 1/2 inches of dirt

     

    One type of seed for most boxes

    One type of seed for most boxes

    I grabbed some office labels and a sharpie and a kitchen towel to wipe off the water where the labels would go. With cold, getting-stiff fingers, I opened each seed pak and sprinkled them generously on the soil. Bounding down the steps, I dug into the soil bin and brought up some extra with which to cover the seeds. Snapping the lids down, I stacked up the boxes one by one. Two trips down the steps brought them all down to the area in front of the potting bench to wait out the winter.

    Labeled with address labels

    Labeled with address labels

    This is what I planted:

    Red poppies
    Bread seed poppies-2 boxes
    Teucrium
    Gold Plains Coreopsis
    and rust coreopsis and
    Mexican Hats all in the same box.
    Delphiniums
    Allium ‘Drumsticks’
    Chocolate scented daisies
    Penstamen ‘Violet dusk’

     

    All boxes closed up

    All boxes closed up and set on the ground near the potting bench

    In addition, one large planting tray was filled with the native wildflowers mix I got last Fall from S & S Seeds to plant the new meadow. The second large tray I have was too frozen to use. Oops!  I’ll have to set it out in a sunny spot to thaw, and then I’d like to plant it with some extra meadow and wildflower mix, also from S & S, to fill in any bare spots.

    About

    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.

    7 Responses to New Year’s Day 2011-My first wintersowing

    1. January 2, 2011 at 12:11 pm

      hello Sue, thanks for sharing these winter sowing posts I’ve not heard of it before, I have never had much luck with seeds, so as I have several packets, this autumn when I was planting bulbs I sprinkled a pack of seeds over and covered lightly with soil and grit, I thought this is how mother nature sows so why not, I still have lots of packets of seeds so I will try some your winter sowing way and see what happens, Frances

    2. January 4, 2011 at 10:48 am

      Dear Frances, thank you! Good luck with your seeds and bulbs. I’m looking forward to seeing how your year is in the garden and with your needle arts. I like crocheting as well as gaardening. I like seeing all your projects!

    3. Jeannie
      January 6, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      A gardening friend told me about winter sowing last fall so I tried it in February. I used milk jugs and potting soil. The beet seeds and tomato seeds I sowed did great so I transplanted them to the garden in the spring. Much cheaper than buying plants and lots of fun too.

      • January 6, 2013 at 6:30 pm

        I’m so glad you tried this,…it IS fun and also amazing that the seeds know their own time to sprout!

    4. Dianne
      January 10, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      Would you recommend this for Colorado?I have a beautiful unheated porch which is warm during the day unless it is below zero but freezing at night-woun’t the plants freeze?

      • January 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm

        Hi Dianne, I think the concept is that the seeds sprout in their own time and if you choose seeds that grow at any time in Colorado, they will succeed this way and come up when they’re ready. If you place them in your poch, you’re in a sense coddling them as you would in a greenhouse. Once you plant them out, they may not be ready to survive. There’s a lot more info on this at the wintersown.org website. Good luck!

    5. January 10, 2013 at 3:56 pm

      Hi Dianne, I think the concept is that the seeds sprout in their own time and if you choose seeds that grow at any time in Colorado, they will succeed this way and come up when they’re ready. If you place them in your poch, you’re in a sense coddling them as you would in a greenhouse. Once you plant them out, they may not be ready to survive. There’s a lot more info on this at the wintersown.org website. Good luck!

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