Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Annual Winter Sowing Post

Some of my winter sown babies from May, 2012, ready to go in the ground.
At a glance, I see leeks, striped hollyhocks, daylilies, sunflowers, 
bok choi, two different kinds of poppies, annual phlox, tomatoes, and zinnias.

I know I've bent your ear about winter sowing in the past (here and here, and probably elsewhere too).  For my new blog followers, the quick summary is that winter sowing is the practice of planting seeds in recycled containers in the dead of winter, chucking the containers out in the snow to freeze solid, and waiting for them to thaw and sprout in the spring in their own sweet time.  You'd be amazed at how easy this is, and how much money it saves in the long run in the cost of plants.

I put out my first batch of winter sown containers a few weeks ago - 17 milk jugs with tough annuals and perennials.  This week I'll go for a second round, with probably two more rounds to go after that.  I sow the hardiest plants first (the perennials and annuals that will come up no matter what the winter throws at them), and work my way down to the tenderest ones (who really don't want to be frozen at all, just chilled for a few weeks, like tomatoes, peppers, and zinnias) in late March.  Now, in late February, I'll be planting the "happy medium" plants, the ones I didn't get around to last time but who won't mind being frozen for a month or so before spring.  I've got a bunch of daylily seeds in the veggie crisper from late last summer - they'll be planted soon.


Winter sown containers, February 2011.

I'm still waiting for a couple seed orders to arrive, so I'll have a lot left to plant in a couple weeks.  Lots of annuals, but not that many perennials.  We do have a wonderful local greenhouse that I can get all sorts of wonderful plants ready to go, especially more tender things that I don't have a long enough growing season to effectively sprout myself, so I know I'll be spending some time (and money) there when they open in late April.  But for today, I think I'll rifle through the seed box and see what can go out in the cold right now.  Ah, anticipation - one of the sweetest parts of gardening.


Update:  I ended up planting eight containers today - 7 of various daylilies, and one of romanesco cauliflower.  Maybe I'll toss a few more outdoors later on.