Yes, you can garden in winter. It’s called winter sowing. Have you ever heard of winter sowing? I read an article in Northern Gardener Magazine several years ago written by a master gardener, with whom I later became acquainted. After seeing the results of Michelle’s winter sowing, I knew I had to try it. It’s so incredibly easy and a great way to get some beautiful perennials for your flower gardens for super cheap. There are different methods of winter sowing, but I’m going to stick with what I know and what has worked for me.
- Several clean, plastic, gallon-sized jugs or plastic deli containers (that are at least 4 or 5 inches deep)
- Potting soil – I just use a cheap potting soil. You don’t need anything with fertilizer in it.
- Seeds – perennial flower seeds
- Sharpie or permanent marker (I use these paint markers.)
- Plant tags or labels
- Clear packing tape or duct tape (I use this packing tape.)
- A sharp knife or scissors
- Free printable Winter Sowing Chart – this chart helps me keep track of what I’ve sown and the results.
- If you use gallon jugs, cut them around the middle neatly, leaving 5 or 6 inches on the bottom. You’re going to need the tops so don’t discard them.
- Poke some drainage holes in the bottom of your container.
- Fill your containers with 3 – 4 inches of soil. Pack it down to fill in air pockets. Water the soil to get it fairly moist but not soggy. At this point make sure the drainage holes in the bottom of the container are working.
- Plant your seeds according to the directions on the packet. If you don’t have the seed packet to refer to, as a general rule-of-thumb, the smaller the seed the shallower you plant it.
- After your seeds are covered, give them a light sprinkling of water (I use a spray bottle).
- Next you’re going to tape the lid or top of the jug to the bottom. Poke some holes in the top of your taped up container for ventilation. And there you have it – a little green house. As you can see in my pictures, last year I forgot to take the caps off. Oops, I still had great results.
- Write the name of your seeds on the container. Make sure to use a marker that will withstand weather elements.
- Place your container(s) outdoors. I put mine on the deck where I can see then and watch them in the spring.
- Now all that’s left is waiting for nature to do it’s magic.
I just have to share this handy Winter Sowing Chart that I’ve been using
to keep track of what I’ve winter sown. Next year, it will be so helpful
to be able to refer to it and see what worked and what didn’t.
You can get yours from my Free Gardening Printables library.
While you’re there, help yourself to all the other goodies too.
When it starts to warm up, you’ll be able to see your seeds sprouting. At this point you’ll need to make sure your new sprouts are getting enough water and ventilation. Poke a few more holes in the top of you container and/or loosen some of the tape to allow for some air flow. Once it warms up and frost isn’t an issue, completely remove the lids. At some point, I will either divide and transplant the seedlings into bigger individual pots or directly plant them in my garden.
Here are a few of my successes from my winter sowing last winter. None of my plants flowered the first year, but I’m sure I’ll have flowers this summer. I will say they were very healthy looking plants. There’s Foxglove which is a biennial which means it only flowers the second year. If you’re lucky you’ll get some plants from seeds that drop. I would like to get a big patch of foxglove growing and winter sowing is the cheapest way to do it. I also had success with Painted Daisy. The bunnies thoroughly enjoyed this addition to the garden. And there’s, Delphinium, which is always a lovely addition to any flower garden.
Depending on the perennials selected, the first year they may not flower, but the next year they will and they’ll just keep getting bigger and better each year. Is there a perennial you’ve wanted to try in your gardens, but didn’t want to shell out the money for it? Well, winter sowing is a great way to get it for practically nothing.
If you would like to learn more about winter sowing, below are some links to additional resources:
Here is the original article that got me thinking about winter sowing that appeared in the Jan/Feb 2009 edition of Northern Gardener magazine. janfeb09itssoweasy
Here is another article written by Michelle that talks about winter sowing vegetables. I haven’t done this yet, but I’m hoping to give it a try this year. 38-41.SowVeg-NG-Jan.Feb_
Here is an article from WinterSown.org. I’m not positive, but I believe this article was written by the person who originally came up with the idea of winter sowing.
Thanks a bunch for stopping by today to learn about winter sowing. Are you going to give it a try? Leave a comment and let me know. And while you’re here, please feel free to have a look around. If you like what you see, subscribe to receive updated posts and I will send you the password to my Free Gardening Printables library.
This post contains affiliate links. If you click on
one of the links and make a purchase,
I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks so much!
Shop Amazon to have your winter sowing supplies delivered right to your door.
Would you like more gardening ideas? Follow me on Pinterest.
I’m sharing at these link parties:
Vintage Charm Party
Thursday Favorite Things
Feathered Nest Friday
Morning Cup of Joe
Silver Pennies Sunday
Sundays at Home
Dishing It and Digging It
Amaze Me Monday
Inspire Me Tuesday
Tuesdays at our Home
Wow Us Wednesdays
To Grandma’s House We Go
Share Your Style
Share Your Cup
Home and Garden Thursday