Winter Sowing.

It has been a long, cold, snowy winter.  I’m so ready for Spring.  And sun.  And my gardens.

IMG_5197Last years garden, which was my first ever real garden!

IMG_0656Not too shabby huh?

I thought I would get a jump start on things this year so I’m trying something new.

IMG_2792Winter Sowing.

It doesn’t seem too hard and it has been very therapeutic.  I get to play in the dirt and watch the snow falling outside.  I bought myself some seed trays, the ones that are biodegradable so you can plant the whole thing right into the ground when the time comes and the ones that have a built in water tray and a clear cover.  I also saved some pots from last years garden which I washed and reused.  I still need more.

IMG_2750Biodegradable ones (not my favorite, they dry out fast!)

IMG_2752I like these better because they have a tray to catch the water and a cover, nice and neat!

I also need a greenhouse to put them all in and a cold frame would also be nice.  I found this picture on Pinterest and I think it would look perfect in my yard.  It belongs to Sara from Calico Apron.  Isn’t she lucky?

IMG_5644~Big Sigh~

So anywho, as I was saying… I also bought a good potting soil made especially for starting seeds.  I think that is really important.  It’s light, fluffy and the label says it promotes fast root development.  All you have to do is soak it in water before you use it, this makes it much easier to work with.

IMG_2795Good stuff

Next I just followed the directions on my packages of seeds.  I planted one seed to each pot with the exception of the teeny tiny seeds like Kale and Swiss Chard.  They are as small as ground pepper and I couldn’t see them even with my glasses on so I kinda just sprinkled them in and when they start to grow I will just snip off the ones that I don’t need.

IMG_2753Easy Peasy Big Seeds

IMG_5645teeny tiny little seeds.  Not really.  It’s pepper. But I swear some seeds are that small! I was too lazy to run out to the potting shed to grab a package of seeds. Plus it is really cold out there!!

After I gave everything a good watering, using a spray bottle, I covered them all up in plastic and that was it.  Now every morning I just go and spray them down again.  Don’t let them dry out, you really need to keep them moist at all times.  This is more important than light at this point.  You actually want to keep them away from direct sunlight until they germinate and then place them under a light to keep them warm and help them grow.  Grow lights can be costly so you can use a florescent light with perfect results.  I just read a great article about that from Learning and Yearning if you’d like to check it out.  Or you could put them in your greenhouse, if you have one. ~sigh~


Oh, one more important tip!  Labels!!  Do you see the question mark on my Leek label?  Well, that is because I am not really sure if this tray has leek seeds in it or not.  It could be cucumbers, peppers or even squash.  You see what happened is, I had to temporarily move my trays outside before I had the chance to make up permanent labels.  I just placed the empty seed packets on top of each tray and hubs moved them into the potting shed for me (I do have a potting shed ~ I’m really lucky like that).  When the time came to bring them back inside I couldn’t believe my eyes, ok I could believe my eyes, it was my stupidity I was having a hard time believing!  The wind blew all the labels everywhere!!  Yep. Every last one.  Some I think I remembered, at least I hope.  Others I hope I will recognize when they sprout.  The rest?  I don’t have a clue.  So basically I will be planting a mystery garden this year.  I like to keep things interesting.

IMG_2800Can you guess what it is?  Neither can I!!

Another thing I thought I’d try is to make a mini greenhouse (only until the hubs builds me my real one).  These are made with recycled gallon containers and the beauty here is you can leave them outside in the snow until Spring and then Wha-lah!! Seedlings!  Ready to plant in the garden.

IMG_2797My for now greenhouses

Start saving your milk jugs, wash them well, then cut them in half.  Next just take a small screwdriver, heat it up over a flame and then use it to punch holes in the bottom and top of the jug.  The bottom is for drainage, the top for ventilation.  Fill the bottom half with soil, plant your seeds, water well, tape the two sections together and for the love of God…Label them!!  Immediately!!  Now stick them outside and forget about them till Spring.  I got the instructions from a great on-line magazine called FromScratch.  If you haven’t read it yet you really need to.  It has tons of great and useful information.

IMG_2793Just poking around!!

IMG_2796Nice BIG seeds!

I decided to plant my green beans and my peas inside the greenhouse containers because they are very hardy and I think they may do a little better then the tiny, finer seeds.  But that’s just me.  Most of the seeds can be sowed directly into the garden come spring, but with this method of winter sowing you can get a good head start and why wouldn’t you want to?  With something like pumpkins that take 120 days to reach maturity, I’m thinking it is a pretty great idea!

I will let you know how I make out with my mystery seeds. Oh, and if you have any tips or tricks that you would like to share to help me get my garden up and running, even when the snow is still falling… I’d love to hear them.

Thanks and Big Hugs

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