Winter Sowing: good for the garden and the gardener

After growing veggies in pots last summer, I simply could not sit idle all winter. And the moment I learned about Winter Sowing, I knew I had to do it. The goal of winter sowing is to start seeds in covered plastic containers — outside — in winter. The idea is the brain child of Trudi Davidoff. Details on  how to do it are available at her website,

But it’s the power of winter sowing that got me. For the price of some seeds, and some potting mix, the use of plastic milk jugs or pop bottles (begged, stolen, or borrowed), it’s possible to grow hundreds of beautiful bedding plants in one season.

In all zones some plants self-seed themselves just fine from last year’s plants. With winter sowing you take those plants, mostly perennials and stuff tubs full with their seeds.

Some Winter Sowers plant 100s of jugs. I’m already up to 33 containers, and I only intended to put out one dozen, at most. Plus,. I’m going to add more. So a warning is in order: Winter Sowing can be addictive. And at the Garden Web forum on Winter Sowing, the posters call themselves enablers, so beware.

But it struck me the other day. If only twenty of my pots give me five plants each, I’ll have at least 100 plants to set out into the garden this spring. That’s what I see as the power of winter sowing. I don’t care how large a garden you have; it can fill quickly and inexpensively with beautiful plants by using this germination method.

Of course my gardens are small. So I’ll have lots of plants to give away after they sprout. I’ve already warned relatives. They’ve kindly said that they’d take a few. I haven’t mentioned this to the neighbors yet, but they’re next on my list. But they must be wondering. Those jugs pictured above are sitting on my front porch.

I also suffered sever angst the other day when the thought struck: next year I won’t have any gardening space to fill. But there will still be a need for new pots of herbs and vegetables. Thank heavens that need will go on year after year. And I suppose some of my flowers may not work out as planned or will be eaten by critters or something. So I may need to do new pots of those.

That’s important. You see, besides being a wonderful way to start plants, Winter Sowing does a good job of chasing away winter blues. In the meantime, think SPRING!

P.S. Not pictured in the above photo are Styrofoam cups planted with herbs. They’re also WS, using potting mix, Styrofoam cups, and sandwich baggies with a small slit in the top. The baggies are secured to the cups with a rubber band. Next month I plan to use the same method to WS tomatoes.

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3 Responses to Winter Sowing: good for the garden and the gardener

  1. Awesome! I can pretty much garden year round in my neck of the woods…but I do start seedlings indoors in December and January…repurposing plastic bottles is a great idea. I’ve been scrounging around for liter bottles to irrigate my beds…I bought water spikes…I use worm compost tea and like to make sure each plant is getting their fair share.

    • tempusflits says:

      Lynda, that’s nice to use lights etc. to grow starts. I’d never have the room indoors to do that, but you’ll get earlier plants that way. I enjoy the repurposing side of this too, and I must admit it’s been fun to step outside, even in winter, to check on the jugs. You’ll see green sprouts far earlier than I will. But I’m looking forward to the “green wave” come spring. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Pingback: For the Love of Mystery and Other Gardening Plots | Ps of Mine

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