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Life #3: Ready For Winter Sowing

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Blog entry by Brad posted 10-31-2009 01:01 PM 11816 reads 1 time favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Things Are Slowing Down Part 3 of Life series Part 4: Wintersowing Is Closer Now »

It won’t be long until I be readying myself for what I’ve heard some call, Winter Sowing. Have you heard of it?
It’s where you use things like milk jugs, plastic containers, etc….fill with potting soil and seeds…...leave it outside ALL winter…..then in early spring you have your little miniature greenhouses full of sprouting seeds.
I’ve been doing it for a few years and always have great results. You really do get flowers a lot earlier.

I use milk jugs and am still in the process of collecting them for this winter. It sure does make the winter go by a little quicker!!

Hope everyone is well!!

Brad's WinterSowing Tips

Gateway to GT Wintersowing Links

-- Brad, http://www.container-gardening-for-you.com



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Brad

101 posts in 3110 days
hardiness zone 5

The life and times of a gardener...with a two year old and lovely wife.

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30 comments so far

View jroot's profile

jroot

5121 posts in 3504 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 10-31-2009 03:18 PM

I’ve done quite a bit of winter sowing. In fact, when we moved to this new home, that was the only way I could afford to build up a good garden stock at a reasonable price.

Good idea. Thanks for sharing, Brad.

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View Brad's profile

Brad

101 posts in 3110 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 10-31-2009 06:36 PM

You certainly hit the “nail on the head”, jroot…...flowers are so expensive!!! I’ve been the same way with what’s in my yard. Practically everything in it has come from winter sowing!

Brad's Container Garden Tips

-- Brad, http://www.container-gardening-for-you.com

View Orchids77's profile

Orchids77

268 posts in 3123 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 10-31-2009 09:45 PM

Hi Brad,

This is something new for me so I have a few questions:
1. So where do you place the plastic containers? Do you cover them?
2. Do you drill holes for drainage?

Sounds an exciting winter program .

-- Orchids77

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3874 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 11-01-2009 03:12 AM

Xploreorganics posted a nice blog about the process when our site first started.
It was fascinating then and fascinating now but I have yet to try it.

Perhaps a new blog on “how to” would be inspiring.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Orchids77's profile

Orchids77

268 posts in 3123 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 11-01-2009 04:50 AM

Yes. I can’t hardly wait.
Brad.. tell us more.
In the mean time I will have to go rescue those plastic containers before
dear hubby takes them to the curve since it is trash day tomorrow.:)

-- Orchids77

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3654 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 11-01-2009 07:48 AM

I would like to see a new how to blog also.Also what kinds of seeds you can start this way.Thanks.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View Greenthumb's profile

Greenthumb

2290 posts in 3694 days

posted 11-01-2009 08:06 AM

The price of plants keep going up, along with taxes and my paycheque…..well, it just cant keep up.

Thus the greenhouse.

-- just one more rock, and the garden is done ; )

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4312 posts in 3137 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 11-01-2009 09:58 AM

Winter sowing sounds interesting to me also. It seems similar to using a cold frame, but in smaller containers. My question is what if you do not have consistent snow cover? Our weather fluctuates so much between extreme cold and then warm that I am afraid the seeds would start and then freeze. With the cold frame, I wait until spring so the differences in temperatures are not so extreme.

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3874 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 11-01-2009 01:46 PM

here is Xploreorganics project on Winter Sowing
Click for details: Winter Sowing in the Freezing Rain

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Brad's profile

Brad

101 posts in 3110 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 11-01-2009 02:16 PM

Just got around to checking this post…..sounds like there’s some interest in winter sowing. It really is great.

I don’t have any time right now, but I’ll re-post later tonight and tell you how, when, where, i do it. I’ll try to find some photo’s as well.

I’m going to be putting up a page on my website…I’ll try to get that done too!!

Talk to everyone soon!!

Brad's Container Garden Tips

-- Brad, http://www.container-gardening-for-you.com

View Brad's profile

Brad

101 posts in 3110 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 11-01-2009 08:18 PM

Orchids77, I place the containers outside on my patio. They get some afternoon sun. No matter how cold it gets, or how much snow falls…there’s never a worry. The seeds just think they’re doing what they were “born” to do. Fall on the ground, let winter come…..then they come forth in the Spring. The milk jug is kinda like a miniature greenhouse.

I’ve had plenty of times when it snows real deep, thaws, gets warm, then snows more and freezes….BUT…they don’t seem to mind!!!
I drill holes in the bottom for drainage. And so far, I’ve never had to water them in the Winter.

The cap of the milk jug is left off for ventilation and never needs put back on. It always seems to keep enough moisture inside for the seeds to be satisfied.

As far as seeds, I can only speak for my area….which is Kansas Zone 5…I’ve grown Marigolds, Zinnias, Columbine, all types of Daisies, Dahlias, vines, Petunias, Snapdragons, Coleus, Pansy, Sweet Peas, Bachelor’s Button, all types of Coneflowers…......etc. There are lots more, too!

Instead of re-writing everything here, I’ll have a step by step process mapped out on a page of my website…I’ll post the link here when I’m finished with it. It should only be a couple more days…I hope!!

Should I start a new how-to blog just about Winter Sowing? Is that what you guys meant? If so, do I make just a new series under my blog….or should it be done another way?

If anyone needs some other questions answered, I’ll me more than happy to try to answer them.

Till later,
Brad

Brad's Container Garden Tips

-- Brad, http://www.container-gardening-for-you.com

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3874 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 11-02-2009 03:21 AM

I didn’t know you could start petunias!

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Penny's profile

Penny

318 posts in 3209 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 11-02-2009 04:39 AM

I tried it for the first time too last winter and had pretty good luck with it.
I plan on starting more next year too for 2010.

-- Gardening is Great Therapy!!.....Georgian Bay area....zone 5b

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3874 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 11-02-2009 05:58 AM

a thought popped into my mind earlier—wouldn’t it be fun to have a challenge. Everyone, well I guess, everyone in the northern climate, is to try at least one container. It would be fun to watch everyone’s progress.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View jroot's profile

jroot

5121 posts in 3504 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 11-02-2009 07:04 AM

Sounds like a challenge, Ms DebbieP. If I were to do it, I would start just after Christmas.

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3874 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 11-02-2009 07:28 AM

that’s 2 of us then.. so the challenge on. Since I’ve never done it before I’ll be following your lead ;)

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Brad's profile

Brad

101 posts in 3110 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 11-02-2009 07:59 AM

I’m glad there is a challenge going on! How cool!!!

This will be fun to watch.

-- Brad, http://www.container-gardening-for-you.com

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3654 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 11-02-2009 08:09 AM

This might sound stupid but do the containers have to be clear to let the light in?The only containers I have are heavy white plastic kitty litter jugs.I do drink small bottles of water sometimes are they too little to use?

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View Brad's profile

Brad

101 posts in 3110 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 11-02-2009 09:19 AM

Ya, the containers have to be able to let the light in. Water bottles would work, but gosh you could only plant a couple of seeds.

I get lots of free distilled water jugs off of Craigslist. Milk jugs you have to wash out real good. Distilled water jugs, you don’t.

-- Brad, http://www.container-gardening-for-you.com

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4312 posts in 3137 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 11-02-2009 09:56 AM

Oh, the challenge of finding re-usable plastic containers! We have been very successful in reducing our consumption of things that come in plastic containers so I will have to get creative in finding a source. I think Craigslist or Freecycle might be where I am going to have to look as well….

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View Brad's profile

Brad

101 posts in 3110 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 11-03-2009 09:58 AM

I used to keep all of our milk jugs from Costcos. Then they changed to a real dark white jug that didn’t let much light through. That’s when I got on the hunt for something different. I put a want add on craigslist for milk jugs, then some guy wrote back and said….”I have gallon distilled water jugs to get rid of”......I figured, wow…no cleaning.!! Cool!!!

-- Brad, http://www.container-gardening-for-you.com

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3654 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 11-03-2009 10:10 AM

Thanks for the info Brad.Now I gotta hunt down some containers.I don’t think it will be that easy where I live.but I’ll ask around and see what I can come up with.I love a challenge.(lol)

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View Brad's profile

Brad

101 posts in 3110 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 11-03-2009 01:19 PM

Bon, you’re right. It may turn into a challenge. But I hope all the best for ya. The first year I did wintersowing, I had about 50 containers out!! Ouch..that’s a bunch!!

Good Luck!!

-- Brad, http://www.container-gardening-for-you.com

View Brad's profile

Brad

101 posts in 3110 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 11-03-2009 01:21 PM

Okay, I finished the writing and photos on my webpage.

If you want to check it out….go here…
Brad's Winter Sowing

Come Winter, Come!!.....Okay, not just yet!!

-- Brad, http://www.container-gardening-for-you.com

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3874 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 11-03-2009 01:32 PM

haha “come winter come” —oh what a little challenge will do for one’s perspective!

great blog. I guess now I just have to decide what type of seeds I want to try growing…

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View jroot's profile

jroot

5121 posts in 3504 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 11-03-2009 04:40 PM

Good article, posted in Brad’s Winter Sowing. Trudi ( the originator of the concept ) would be proud of your work. Thanks for sharing.

-- jroot ....... Southern Ontario .......... grow zone 5A ...................."Gardening is an exercise in optimism." ....... . . Author Unknown

View Brad's profile

Brad

101 posts in 3110 days
hardiness zone 5

posted 11-03-2009 10:13 PM

Thanks jroot….I hope she would be!

Brad's Winter Sowing

-- Brad, http://www.container-gardening-for-you.com

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3654 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 11-05-2009 08:31 AM

Brad I just read your blog on winter sowing.I found it to be really well written and informative.Thanks for posting it.

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

View Radicalfarmergal's profile

Radicalfarmergal

4312 posts in 3137 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 11-05-2009 08:59 AM

I agree with Bon, your step-by-step instructions are very clear and will be easy to follow. Thank you, Brad, and let the winter challenge begin!

Bon, I am thinking about trying some of the seeds you collected for my winter sowing project!

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View Bon's profile

Bon

7374 posts in 3654 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 11-08-2009 08:51 AM

Radgal.I’m thinking of doing the same.(lol)

-- Bon,Hastings,Ont.....zone 5a....Always room for one more

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