Winter sowing is another and perhaps easier way to start certain seeds.
Can be used to start hardy annuals, perennials and garden vegetables. This is not a good way to start tomatoes.
Winter sowing is often recommended if you are interested in starting a native plant. This is especially true for seeds that need to undergo cold stratification (cold and wet) or alternating periods of cold and hot temperatures.
The seeds of native plants fall to the ground in nature, overwinter, and germinate at a time suitable for growth. Winter sowing basically mimics this process, but the seeds are placed in a container and can be kept away from the eye.
There are several ways to do this.
Most winter seeding resources recommend recycled containers such as plastic milk and water jugs, take-out containers with lids, large soda bottles, and flower pots.
The container or lid should let light through. It doesn’t have to be transparent, but it should be at least translucent.
If you use something without a lid, such as a flowerpot, you need to protect it from mice and chipmunks that will eat the seeds. Using a 1/4 to 1/2 inch hole and covering the pot with some kind of wire mesh or hardware cloth will keep them out.
To prepare the pan, first make sure it is clean. If recycling containers containing milk or food, wash them with hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Use a container that is at least 4 inches deep.
Some people like to make mini greenhouses for their plants and use containers with lids. This helps protect the seeds from animals and prevents them from drying out due to too much moisture.
If you use the lid, you’ll need to drill some holes for ventilation, so moisture can get in. If using a gallon jug or soda bottle, leave the lid off the top. increase.
Also, containers without drainage holes should have additional drainage holes.
Some containers, such as jugs, require further preparation before use. The cut should be in the middle of the jug, but don’t cut all the way down the top of the container.
A “hinge” should be left to hold the container together. Works well under steering wheel.
Leave at least 0.5 to 1.5 inches uncut.
Once the container is planted, the cut pieces can be secured with duct tape. If you like a visual guide, search the internet for ‘winter sowing’.
You will see lots of websites with pictures that can give you additional ideas.
Don’t forget to create a label and label the container.
Pencils last longer on the outside and markers fade. I was lucky enough to use acrylic paint pens to create labels that he could use for over a year.
Just to be sure, label the outside of the container and add a label to the inside. Some native plants can actually take up to two years to germinate, so make sure the label is still legible.
Once the container is ready, it’s time to plant. Fill the container with about 4 inches of good soilless seed starting mixture.
Lightly water and drain.
Sow the seeds on the surface according to the instructions on the seed label. Spread them evenly over the container.
There should be good contact between soil and seeds. For seeds that do not require light for germination, gently cover with a thin layer of soilless mix.
It can also be covered with a thin layer of coarse sand. This helps keep the seeds from moving if you need to water them.
The principle is to cover with the same thickness as the thickness of the seed.
Find a place to put the winter container. I want the container to be exposed to sunlight, but I don’t want to fry it in the spring.
The north side of the house is fine. Don’t put it directly under the overhang because you want it to rain.
Wind is a consideration as you don’t want to blow away all your work. Once you find the right spot, you can forget about them until spring!
Seeds will begin to germinate when warm enough.
Once the seedlings are ready, start monitoring the container. As the seedlings grow, the container should be opened during warm days to keep it from drying out, and closed at night and in cold weather.
A great advantage of winter sowing is that the seedlings become firmer. Once the seedlings are large enough and all danger of frost has passed, they can be transplanted into the garden or potted into larger containers.
Flowers and vegetables that are frost-tolerant or cold-tolerant in your area are good choices to try. amaranth), foxglove, petunia, coreopsis, cosmos, larkspur, dianthus, straw flower, love in the mist, gloriosa daisy, hollyhock.
Vegetables include beets, lettuce, onions, chives, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, cabbage, chard, carrots, kale, bok choy, and spinach.
Some winter seed growers say that vegetables started this way may seem a little weak compared to seeds started indoors, but catch up when planted in the garden.
If you are buying wild plant seeds, read the germination code that most vendors list. .
Winter seeding is also a great family activity and a way to get young people interested in gardening.
Have a question about gardening?
Master Gardener volunteers are in the office Monday through Friday from 10am to noon. You can stop by her CCE office at 420 E. Main St. in Batavia. Call (585) 343-3040, ext. 127, or email.
Updated master gardener email address. We are currently migrating email to Geneseemg@cornell.edu.
If you have contacted us by Hotmail email in the past, please update your contact information in your address book.
Garden Talk returns at noon on February 2nd with Hidcote and Hever — Two English Gardens of Renown. Join us on a ‘journey’ to England to explore these two wonderful gardens of his.
Hidcote Manor Gardens are often referred to as one of England’s great gardens. The beautiful gardens of Hever Castle have many beautiful features.
The Garden Talk class is free, but please register on the event page on the CCE website for a Zoom link or call the office to attend in person at (585) 343-3040 ext. 101.