Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter Sowing... Winter What?! Part 2

After looking at the photos that I posted in Part 1, I noticed that they illustrate something very important.  You'll notice snow in the background of my first picture, and a complete lack of snow in the second. 

What does that have to do with anything?

It has to do with which side of the house we're looking at.  The snow is on the North side.  Not enough sun gets through to melt it.  The other photo, however, is on the west side of the house.  While it doesn't melt as quickly as snow on the south side would, it does get a decent amount of sun.  The bottom line?

Don't place your plantings on the North side of your house!  They need sunlight, after all, if the seeds are ever going to grow.

What you want to aim for when it comes time to pick the perfect plant is perennial seeds.  These seeds need to go through a process of stratification.  That's basically a fancy way of saying they need to be cool and damp.  In the case of winter sowing, you get seeds freezing, then thawing, then freezing, and on and on.  This loosens the outer shell naturally.

You'll notice that I chose Canterbury Bells for my first attempt.  Not a wise choice.  This is because they're biennials, rather than perennials.  The good news is that I haven't found anything yet that says my choice is certain to fail.  On the contrary, it seems to be a valid choice. We'll have to see how that goes.

Also, avoid root vegetable seeds, such as carrots and beets.  While yummy, they do better when sown directly into your garden at a later date.  In the case of carrots, at least, I've noticed that any disturbance of the seed can make a very crooked treat.  While amusing to look at, crooked carrots are no fun at all to remove during harvest, since they cling to the soil with great tenacity.

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