Wintersowing anyone?

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I wonder if anyone here is into wintersowing? I have not looked through all the threads but did look through all those in this section and didn't see it.

I have relied on this method to start plants early as I don't have either a suitable indoor planting area, or a greenhouse.

Basically, the method is to use gallon milk or water jugs (I prefer the latter since there isn't the issue of cleaning out the milk residue), cutting them around the middle leaving a section attached as a hinge, cutting some drainage holes in the bottom, filling with seed starting medium, and sowing seeds. The top part of the jug becomes a "lid" and the entire thing is like a mini greenhouse.

These are kept outside in the winter and allowed to freeze and thaw as they will. The only caveat is not to let them dry out or stand in water and get soggy.

This works amazingly well for perennials and hardy annuals. Tender annuals get wintersown in early spring but you can do it long before you could sow them in the garden directly.

The plants tend to be sturdier than otherwise also and do not require hardening off.

I'd love to answer any questions or discuss wintersowing with anyone who is interested!
 
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My father in law has always said
sow it in the snow and let it melt down into the soil
i do it on the farm for clover
 
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Yes! That's how I was taught to sow ornamental poppies also, right into the snow.

Wintersowing, however, is a method for starting all kinds of seeds that one would not direct sow in snow. Such as tomatoes for instance! I grew some wonderful tomatoes one year from that method.
 
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We've discussed it somewhat, but threads seem to disappear after a while. You might check out the cold frame topic as we've been discussing cloches there. Most of us have decided there isn't enough sun to make winter growing that productive.
 
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I'll have a look. But wintersowing is different than both of those -- although definitely the amount of sun is an issue. For one thing, you can move the containers around and follow the sun if need be which you can't do either with cloches or coldframes.

Also wintersowing doesn't require that much initial time or money investment, you don't have to build a thing!

Anyway, for anyone who might be interested in checking this out further, here is the original website about this process. This is a non commercial operation, by the way, just gardeners sharing. And if you want to try it, they will send you free seeds, from plants produced from wintersown starts, for a stamped envelope. They send all kinds too, vegetables, flowering annuals and perennials, herbs...... http://wintersown.org/
 
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All of my plants are in containers so I could definitely move them around if I wanted, but that makes no difference on gray wintry days when there is no sun. Cold frames are also mobile; most are just a wood box with an open bottom. Also, covering a plant with a plastic jug with the bottom cut out is using a cloche; cutting a hinge instead of removing the bottom is simply making a mini cold frame. I don't really see the difference.
 
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I hear ya! I don't know how to explain it better either. And of course you're perfectly correct, lack of sun is not really a curable condition. Certainly there are similarities with coldframes and also with cloches. The basic principle is the same, of protecting tender plants during inclement weather of one kind or another. With a cloche, though, you are working directly in the garden soil which can stay cold longer, whereas the containers in wintersowing are able to warm more quickly. And the investment is less than for a coldframe..... though admittedly all these differences are somewhat minor.

Still, I did have amazing success with this method and just wanted to share it. :)
 
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I wonder if anyone here is into wintersowing? I have not looked through all the threads but did look through all those in this section and didn't see it.

I have relied on this method to start plants early as I don't have either a suitable indoor planting area, or a greenhouse.

Basically, the method is to use gallon milk or water jugs (I prefer the latter since there isn't the issue of cleaning out the milk residue), cutting them around the middle leaving a section attached as a hinge, cutting some drainage holes in the bottom, filling with seed starting medium, and sowing seeds. The top part of the jug becomes a "lid" and the entire thing is like a mini greenhouse.

These are kept outside in the winter and allowed to freeze and thaw as they will. The only caveat is not to let them dry out or stand in water and get soggy.

This works amazingly well for perennials and hardy annuals. Tender annuals get wintersown in early spring but you can do it long before you could sow them in the garden directly.

The plants tend to be sturdier than otherwise also and do not require hardening off.

I'd love to answer any questions or discuss wintersowing with anyone who is interested!
Kyla sounds interesting thanks for sharing...
 
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I think I will give this a try since I have a lot of sun! I will try some annuals and I have some more tomato seeds left so I will try those, as well. I will take some pictures and post them, if they turn out well.
 
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I hear ya! I don't know how to explain it better either. And of course you're perfectly correct, lack of sun is not really a curable condition. Certainly there are similarities with coldframes and also with cloches. The basic principle is the same, of protecting tender plants during inclement weather of one kind or another. With a cloche, though, you are working directly in the garden soil which can stay cold longer, whereas the containers in wintersowing are able to warm more quickly. And the investment is less than for a coldframe..... though admittedly all these differences are somewhat minor.

Still, I did have amazing success with this method and just wanted to share it. :)

I think you're right about containers and warmth. A few years back my dad dug up some of the ginger in his back yard and put it in two pots for me. Maybe two years ago there was a freeze and he lost his plants but mine are still alive.
 

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