Winter Sowing for a Beautiful Garden!

2 Materials
15 Minutes
Many hardy annuals and perennials can be sown in the cold of winter. Got an itch to plant? Then try winter sowing, its easy and so much fun, plus you get loads of plants!
Step by step video of how I winter sow.
If you want masses of flowers in your garden winter sowing is the answer. The plants that germinate will be stronger and healthier than ones started indoors under lights and on heat mats.Why? Because they only germinate when conditions are just right for them and they must endure the changeable temperatures that Spring can bring.
Over the years I have used many types of recycled items to winter sow. Most prefer the humble 1 gallon milk or water jug.Cut around the jug with scissors, just below the handle leaving 1 inch attached to act as a hinge.
I have also used these salad containers with success. (just to give you options)Pierce holes for drainage in the bottom of your container of choice. We want very good drainage.
Add 3 plus inches of seed starting mix or potting soil lightened up with perlite or vermiculite to your container. I typically use 3 parts potting soil to 1 part perlite or vermiculite.(there is a debate on whether using seed starting mix is preferable. I have used both and had success with both, so you choose)
Moisten the potting medium in the container well. This is so you don't need to water after you get add the seeds, possibly dislodging them.Sprinkle the seeds on the soil and press them down firmly to make sure they have good contact with the soil.
Top with a light layer of vermiculite, horticultural sand or sifted potting soil.Note: if your seed packet states that the seeds need light to germinate, skip this step!
Close the container and write the name of the flower or veggie on it. You can also add a tag of some sort inside in case the writing on the outside washes off in the weather.
Duct tape closed the seam of the opening and place outside in an area that is exposed to the weather.Up against a building is not advised as it can protect the containers from the full on weather (which is what you want) thus making conditions incorrect for this type of sowing. Radiant heat from the building can cause the seeds to sprout prematurely.I place mine on top of a raised bed in my garden where they get full exposure to the rain, snow and the rise and fall of temperatures yet are protected from winds that may topple them. (we don't get a lot of wind)
Be patient. You won't see sprouts until Spring when conditions are just right for the plants. This can take months so just set them out and leave them.Want to know what seeds are good for winter sowing? Visit my website here at Flower Patch Farmhouse

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Frequently asked questions

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  3 questions
  • Cynthia Carroll Hall Cynthia Carroll Hall on Feb 18, 2020

    I really like the idea of winter sowing of seeds for flowers in the Spring and Summer. But how cold does it really get where you are living and when do you put these containers out (roughly what month). Here where I live it can be 50-60 one day, the next day down to the 20's with snow. Or we can get several days of rain, and no sun for quite a few days.

  • Mary Morvant Mary Morvant on Feb 18, 2020

    Does this work for sprouting tomatoes and other vegetables like green peppers?

  • Elida Elida on Feb 23, 2020

    Hi, what is the name of the purple plants, with the one sunflower to the right of the top picture? Thanks.


Join the conversation

3 of 9 comments
  • Loretta Jasper Loretta Jasper on Mar 03, 2020

    What a great idea...thanks for this wonderful tutorial...I can tell you I am going to be very busy this Spring and Summer...I have a lot of projects to do.....

    • Pamela Pamela on Mar 04, 2020

      Me too. And I am still sowing seeds!

  • Michelle Michelle on Feb 19, 2021

    What a great way to start butterfly /milkweed too