I read about winter sowing last year and knew I wanted to try this method for growing seeds in 2008.
Last year I purchased shelves and lights to create this makeshift indoor growing system, the ones I saw in the gardening catalogs were way out of my price range. This set-up worked beautifully and I successfully grew many of my own plants from seed. There is a wonderful sense of joy and satisfaction in taking a tiny little seed, nurturing it for weeks and watching it grow right before your eyes. There is also immense pleasure in gardening during the winter months. You have a daily reminder that spring is just around the corner.
Even with this large indoor growing system in place, space was still limited. Winter sowing sounded like the perfect solution to me for getting even more flowers for spring.
Kylee, from Our Little Acre had posted about her winter sowing on her blog last year and I had been watching her blog closely this year to see when and how she would do her planting. She posted a few days ago, and gave wonderful directions.
I finally got around to sowing some of my seeds on Tuesday. I used a small drill bit and drilled my drain holes in the bottom of the plastic milk and water jugs.
I can be such a klutz sometimes and this part was a bit unnerving for me, after all I'm the same girl who once stuck a letter opener all the way through her finger while opening mail at work when I was about 20 years old. I still don't like sharp objects. I used the smaller blade for the softer plastics but had to use the box cutter for the harder ones. I'm not sure how you're supposed to cut these things straight, mine certainly were not. I am happy to report that this task was completed without injury to myself.
Next, I numbered the containers on the bottom and the top with a permanent marker. I then filled the bottom part of each container with potting soil and planted my seeds.
This project would be quite enjoyable were it not for the fact that you have to tape the jugs. I was getting frustrated, since the tape just would not cooperate and I had a difficult time aligning the flimsy uneven plastic. Kylee's containers looked so neat and mine, well, their not neat, but their done. Yippee!
Here is my list so far, I say so far because I still want to do a few more, but ran out of containers.
1 Foxglove, Candy Mountain
2 & 3 English Poppy
4 Foxglove Excelsior Mix
5 Blanketflower Gaillardia Aristata
6 Delphinium, Blue Bird
7 Delphinium, pacific Giants, Mixed color
8 Milkweed, Rose, Asclepias incarnata
10 & 11 Cosmos
I'm still trying to find out which seeds can be winter sown in zone 5, so I'm not particularly confident with my choices. I usually have volunteer cosmos, so I thought I try to winter sow it to hopefully get an earlier start, I have so many packages of it I thought I'd experiment. Hopefully the others will be successful, especially the Candy mountain Foxglove and English poppies.