HAVE YOU STARTED your winter-sowing project yet? My own plantings are under way, starting (but by no means ending) with the half dozen miniature “greenhouses” pictured above. What I’ve planted in these gallon-size milk and water jugs, along with a few helpful links to articles which explain the entire winter-sowing process:
I used to kick my African violets off my fluorescent-lit shelves in order to make room for seed-starting indoors. Then I got wise, and started planting seeds outdoors — most of them during the frigid days of winter. This procedure produced strong (not spindly) plants that required no “hardening off.” Now in my seventh year of winter-sowing, I wouldn’t dream of starting seeds any other way.
I planted the following seeds today, and then set them outdoors where the temperature is currently a bikini-like 5°F.:
Bachelor Buttons ‘Blue Boy’. Plant these, and the honey bees will thank you. I enjoy the touch of sky the flowers provide for my Kitchen Garden.
Snapdragons ‘Fordhook Tall’ mixed (in two containers). I love these for cutting. Sure, they require staking, but they bloom and bloom until the first hard frost. Furthermore, because they are members of the Sage family, deer and rabbits leave them alone. (Please forgive the above picture; it’s from 2009, when I knew nothing about photography.)
Russell Hybrid Lupines. Can we all agree that one can never have too many lupines? I always winter-sow new plants to add to the existing crop (above) in the Serpentine Garden.
Swiss Chard ‘Bright Lights.’ I love the ornamental contribution these red-, yellow-, rose-, gold, or white-stemmed plants bring to the Herb Garden. The beet-like leaves are delicious raw in salads, but I usually saute them in olive oil and a splash of dry vermouth. Delicious!
Spinach ‘Bloomsdale Longstanding’. Because I love spinach, and because it self-sows here (as do many other lettuce greens), I always include it in my winter planting-schedule. It usually germinates in early March, even if there is still snow on the ground.
Some helpful links:
Need proof that winter-sowing really works? Then by all means read Winter-Sowing 101.
Not sure how to turn a milk or water jug into a greenhouse? Read Making a Greenhouse & Sowing Seeds
Have questions about what to winter-sow, and when to plant the seeds? See What to Winter-Sow…& When.
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