MY 2012 WINTER SOWING ADVENTURE is well under way, starting (but by no means ending) with the 8 miniature greenhouses you see pictured above. What I’ve planted in these jugs, along with a few helpful reminders and one very nifty trick for increasing your own winter-sowing success:
1. Lupinus polyphyllus, Russell Hybrids. Lupines bloom their first summer from winter-sowing. I’ll add these stately spires in purple, pink, red, yellow and white to the already-existing patch (above) in my Serpentine Garden. I planted 18 seeds split between two containers.
2. Linum perenne – I bought perennial “Blue Flax” for two reasons: first, the packet of seeds cost me only 99 cents; and next, because I can never resist blue flowers. I’ll let me you know how they work out. Part of winter-sowing is the fun of experimentation.
3. Primula japonica – Reader Beverly sent me these seeds from her own pink plants. I’ll add them to the other japonicas in my Woodland Garden.
4. Centaurea cyanus – You can count on “Bachelor Buttons” (above, in my Kitchen Garden) to bloom their first summer from winter sowing. Why I value this plant.
5. Myosotis – “Forget-Me-Nots” bloom their first summer from winter-sowing, and bring dependable, early spring color to the Woodland Garden. Well, I told you I love blue flowers.
6. Lathyrus – Who can resist Sweet Peas? I grow them next the north fence in my Herb Garden. There, they bloom and bloom until the weather turns hot. Mercifully the seeds require neither nicking nor soaking when you winter-sow them.
7. Delphinium elatum – Delphinium is the only flower that has ever eluded my winter-sowing efforts. I’ve read that the seeds need to be fresh — and in January they mostly likely are not. Still, a boy can hope.
Good drainage is absolutely essential to winter-sowing success. For without sufficient means for moisture to escape, seeds or seedlings are bound to become dislodged when the snow melts and early spring rains arrive. I eliminate such potential disaster by punching out 12 holes (3 in each quadrant) in the bottom of my gallon-size milk or water jugs.
If you set your greenhouses in a plastic bin, as I do, you’ll need to equip that bin with drainage holes, too. Bins are useful — they mitigate the chance of tipping, and furthermore, they make it easy to transport the jugs should you need to move them for any reason.
A hot tip: If, in the interest of admitting more sunlight, you wish to remove the brand label (“Crowley Milk” or whatever) from your miniature greenhouse, simply warm the label with your hair-dryer for 30 seconds.
Well, I hope you feel motivated to start your own winter-sowing project. If you have any questions about the method, feel free to ask! I’m here to help.
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