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Start your gardens today — even in Minnesota
Winter sowing is simply making miniature greenhouses out of plastic containers and placing them in the snow. This is a way to get a head start on gardening, for those of us who are anxious to this get started — especially with this winter, thinking we don't know if spring will ever get here.
Well, with winter sowing we don't have to wait. Begin with four simple things — containers, soil, water, and seeds.
You will need containers that most of us toss into our recycle bins, such as gallon milk jugs, strawberry containers, two-liter pop bottles or any other clear plastic containers large enough to allow plants room to grow.
Make sure you sterilize first. Then take the milk container or pop bottle and cut in half, but not all the way through. You want to leave enough attached to create a hinge. You will need to poke holes in the bottom of containers to allow good drainage, using a heated Phillips screwdriver or a drill. You will also need holes in the top of container, if there is no lid, or otherwise just leave off the lid. This allows for ventilation.
You will need some nice, fluffy, well-draining soil mixture. Add peat-moss and perlite to soil. You need to add 2-3 inches of soil to the bottom half of each container.
Water very well, then drain.
Now you are ready to sow your seeds!
Place seeds on the top of the soil with enough soil to desired depth needed for that particular seed type and pat soil down. Now just bring top half of the container down and attach the two halves together with duct tape. Label all of your containers Then place all your containers in the snow. If there isn't any snow, place on table in a plastic container to keep from being knocked over. The plastic container should have drainage holes.
Plant your perennials and hardy annuals first, but don't plant tender plants until March. Now this is where nature takes over. When it chills and warms, then your seeds will freeze and thaw. This will loosen the seed-coatings, which is why hard-shelled seeds such as Morning Glories and Sweet Peas do not require soaking or nicking. When seeds start emerging, it's time to check if your plants are in need of watering, being careful not injure your new sprouts.
© 2014 Beverly Stancile