Sunday, January 16, 2011

Time to Winter Sow

 Some of last year's crop of winter sown seedlings.

This week I started my winter sowing.  I learned how to do that about 6 years ago, maybe 7 now, on the Winter Sowing Forum of GardenWeb.  It's saved me quite a bit of money each year by allowing me to start seeds at home rather than buying nursery-grown plants every spring.  Well, I still buy some plants (no gardener can resist buying plants!), but far fewer than if I didn't winter sow.  Starting my own seeds has allowed me to try new things inexpensively, saving my own seed has saved money as well, and trading seed with other gardeners is just plain fun, as well as good for preserving the biodiversity of our country.

What is winter sowing?  It's a method of starting seeds outdoors in the winter, using recycled containers as miniature greenhouses, and Mother Nature as the thermostat.  The seeds germinate at their own pace as the weather warms in the spring.  Gardeners in all climates can use this method.  It's simple, it's inexpensive, and it works.  You can learn much more about it at the site www.wintersown.org.  Trudi Davidoff, who runs the Winter Sowing Educational Organization site and founded the organization, pioneered and popularized winter sowing, starting over 10 years ago.  Trudi is a hero for the environment in my book!

Tomorrow I'll post a tutorial on winter sowing, showing how I do it.  (Like any gardening method, there are variations in materials, and in personal preferences.)  We successfully did this for my daughter's Brownie troop last year, which was a lot of fun.

See you tomorrow!