Saturday, February 25, 2012

Winter Sowing… Winter what?!

While surfing the web about a week ago, I stumbled onto the concept of winter sowing.  That’s right.  Sowing seeds in the winter, of all things.  This concept blew my mind!  How in the world would it be possible to get seeds to germinate in the winter, while it’s snowing, without using a greenhouse?

Sounds crazy to me.

Naturally, I’ve decided to try it.

The concept seems simple.  You use a relatively transparent container (A mini-greenhouse!  Ah, ha!),  You fill it 3-4 inches high with soil, plant seeds inside according to the directions on the packet, water it, place it outside somewhere, and voila!  A few weeks later you have plants growing.  Basically, you're allowing mother nature to do the job.

I gathered my supplies.
winter sowing supplies

Here we have an empty milk jug, cut in half, a packet of Canterbury Bell seeds, a sharpie for labeling, scissors, tape, and organic soil.  This is all that’s necessary to complete my task.

Here’s the process I used (step by step):

1.       Buy milk.

2.       Drink it all.

3.       Rinse the jug out and cut it in half.

4.       Cut slits in the bottom for drainage.

5.       Fill the bottom half with soil.

6.       Moisten the soil.  No, don’t just moisten it… make it muddy.

7.       Plant the seeds.

8.       Tape the top half back on.

9.       Walk outside and place it in a sunny location.

10.   Wait.  And wait. And wait….
completed plastic milk jug environment
That’s about it.  I should mention, however, that it’s important to take the lid off of the milk jug, unlike I’ve shown in my picture…  I forgot that part, and had to go back outside later.  Removing the lid ensures air circulation, as well as a way for water (or snow) to get in.
I chose flowers for this first attempt, mainly because that’s what my daughter wanted.  I’ll add herbs and vegetables later (As each jug of milk I own is finished), in order to test this method on different types of plants.
I’m a little worried about my tape choice, however.  Not wanting to buy anything new, aside from seeds and soil, I used what tape I could find to seal the jug back together.
I hope I can remove the gorilla tape in a few weeks…

I'll talk a bit more about winter sowing tomorrow, but in the meantime, to find out more, as well as get info from real experts, take a look at WinterSown.


  1. Awesome- how did it go by the way... I am going to try it with my son this year.

  2. It went *semi-well*... That winter was warmer than usual, and the jug didn't get as much snow cover as it should have. I had some sprouts poking out, but they weren't nearly as healthy as they should have been.
    With the huge amounts of snow this year, though... I think the one I'm doing now will be largely successful. We shall see, right? I look forward to hearing how your own winter sowing goes!