Never heard of the winter sowing method? Here is the USDA’s definition: “A propagation method used throughout the winter where temperate climate seeds are sown into protective vented containers and placed outdoors to foster a naturally timed, high percentage germination of climate tolerant seedlings.” While having “naturally timed, high percentage germination of climate tolerant seedlings” is pretty special, it isn’t one of our reasons to love this propagation technique. Winter sowing is the trifecta of savings that this blog is all about.
- No spike in the power bill from the grow lights or fluorescent tubes you usually start your plants under.
- No replacement costs for burned out lighting.
- For those without the space to start plants inside, there is no need to run out to the nursery to buy plants for the garden.
- Recycled containers are perfect for the winter sow method. This is the ideal project for all those clamshell containers, milk jugs, soda bottles and leaky Gladware that you’ve been saving forever. I use the zippered, plastic packaging that bedding comes in to form the mini greenhouse.
- Damping off is not a common condition with winter sown seedlings. There should be no need to replace seedlings killed by this disease.
- WinterSown.org gives free seeds for a SASE. Go ahead and give it a try while comparing it to the way you normally start seeds.
- There is less time involved in caring for winter sown seeds than for their counterparts grown under lights. You sow in winter and forget them until they emerge in the spring. You are, then, caring for them outside in one group so they are much easier to water.
- Plants grown inside under lights require frequent attention if they are to thrive. Winter sown seeds are outside waiting for nature to take it’s course.
- The seedlings will harden off naturally as they grow. It’s not necessary to lug flats in and out of the house until the plants adapt.
- No re-sowing of seeds killed by damping off. Although this is a somewhat common malady of seedlings started inside, it isn’t common with winter sown plants.
*Vegetable seeds are winter sown at the time they would be started under lights for your hardiness zone.
Come back and share your experiences.