Friday, February 27, 2015

{Grows} Winter Sowing 2015



Last year, I did a little Winter Sowing Experiment. 
I took a sample pack of tomato seeds, so it was about half a pack of seeds and threw them in a milk jug, watered, and threw the jug in my garden in February.

I was very skeptical. I thought there was no way this would produce plants. 
So skeptical I didn't take pictures, or blog about it. Until now. 

The experiment went so well, that I will never plant my seedlings in my window again!
Normally I do the little mini greenhouse in my window {2013, 2014}, with mixed results.
Winter sowing is the ultimate lazy gardeners way of getting great results!
You put in a little time up front, and end up with amazing, hardened off seedlings without any work!

You seriously won't believe the process!
First up, gather your supplies. 
Milk jugs, seed starting soil, and seeds. Duct tape.
You'll also need a knife, and scissors.


Once you have a couple milk jugs saved up, cut them in half horizontally. 
I found it was easier to start with a knife.


Then, cut around with scissors.
Leave about an inch near the handle, to create the hinge.
The bottom half will be where you fill it with dirt and seeds, so make sure it's not too short.

Using a knife, poke a couple holes in the bottom for drainage. 
If I remember correctly I didn't even do that last year, and still had success!

Fill with some dirt! 
I used a seed starting mix, so it was light and fluffy.
Also, I used two cupfuls to fill the bottom of my container. 
I purchased two 12 qt bags of seed starting thinking each jug would use a quart. 
Well, I have 8 jugs started and about half my bag left! 


Add seeds, add a little more dirt over top. 


Lightly water and duct tape shut.
Label! I wrote on my jug and also my tape since these will be out in the elements.
I labeled the name of the seed and how many seeds I planted.

So far, seems normal right? Here's is where you will be skeptical. 
Place your milk jug greenhouse outside. 
Yes. Now. In the snow. If you are inundated with snow like us, you may have to get creative.  
 As the snow melts the jugs might fall over disrupting the plants, so I put mine on my front porch. 
They wont get much sun, but for now it's more about the cold. 

Your jugs will freeze and thaw, and this essentially creates a "survival of the fittest" atmosphere.
When the temperature is right, the strongest seeds will begin to sprout.
Hopefully by then, some of the snow has melted and I can move my jugs.
Last year I placed my jug in my unheated back porch from February to the end of March. 
Then placed in the garden. 

Once the jugs are outside. We wait. 
Can you believe it?
A garden full of homegrown seedlings without all the work!
Yes. Please!

As we get closer to planting I will post an update about how my seeds are doing!