In the Garden | Winter Sowing

I am so excited to be trying something new! A random Facebook group popped up last week called “Winter Sowers” and after reading a bit about this method of seed starting, I decided I had to give it a try!

It is a common sense method of early (early early!) seed starting that utilizes the natural freeze-thaw cycles to germinate seeds. Essentially, plant seeds in closed containers, creating what amounts to mini greenhouses, in the middle of winter and the seeds will germinate when they are ready. Especially considering how many perennials can be sown in the fall and will germinate in the spring, this method makes a lot of sense. If all goes well, and from what I can tell people have a lot of success with this method, you have exceptionally hardy young plants to eventually transplant to your garden. Why have I never heard of this before? In western South Dakota, we have a short growing season (we’ve been known to have frosts as late as June and as early as August), and very changeable weather, so anything I can do to jump start my gardening is a plus!

So far I have started a number of perennials – lavender, coreopsis, lupine, some wildflower mixes, coneflowers, black eyed Susans – and some greens and veggies – asparagus, kale, spring onions, spinach, arugula, and chives. I planted in a variety of containers and will take notes, containers ranging from Ziploc bags with holes cut in the bottoms, paper pots, old lettuce containers, and seed pots leftover from greenhouse plants last year. After a kerfuffle with the animals, the winter-sown seeds are safely inside the woven-wire fences we put around our trees. I may start others as I accumulate more containers (and inevitably accumulate more seeds).

Check out the Winter Sowers Facebook page if you want details and extensive how-tos! I’m excited to see how this goes!

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