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It’s the first day of spring and that means gardening tasks are starting to spring up and we’ll soon have more to do in our yards than we might have time for! One task that you may have already begun or might be thinking about getting into is seed starting! Seed starting is a great way to give our plants a head start so that they grow and produce well during our limited growing season.
Seed starting can be done in a greenhouse, in our home with grow lights or a very sunny window, or even outdoors through winter sowing. Each method will give us a different result, come with a different set of advantages and disadvantages, and might work better for some seeds over others.
Many of you might want to start seeds but are thinking, “I don’t have a greenhouse” or “I don’t have the space to start seeds indoors or the money to invest in grow lights” or even “I don’t have the time to coddle tiny seedlings!” All three are true for me, so I’ve been spending this winter using the winter sowing method.
Winter sowing is a method of seed starting where seeds are planted in mini greenhouses outside during the winter months. The natural cycles of freezing and thawing help break through the seed coat, and when the conditions are right for each individual seed it will germinate and grow with the protection and assistance of its personal greenhouse structure.
Some of my favorite advantages of the winter sowing method – 1. It’s low cost! The greenhouses are made of recycled clear plastic containers such as milk jugs and juice bottles. 2. It’s easy! The setup of the mini greenhouses is quick and easy, and once the seeds are planted, the whole greenhouse gets set outside and left alone until spring! 3. It produces strong plants that are already more tolerant of the outdoor environment than plants started indoors. 4. Winter sowing gives you a way to get your seeds planted when you can’t really do anything else in the garden, which also frees up your springtime to take care of other gardening tasks! The list goes on, but let’s keep moving.
Different seeds need to be started at different times due to their cold tolerance, and although it’s officially spring, we can still use the winter sowing method. In fact, it is the perfect time to winter sow tomatoes!