Yes, you are viewing this correctly. I am starting to plant my outdoor garden while it is still snowing and the temps are still in the teens. What am I thinking? No, I’m not nuts. Its called winter sowing and it works! (or so I hear, thinking positive!)
I love to eat fresh produce and vegetables, but the cost to buy them can be expensive (especially if you buy organic). So this year our family has decided to turn half of our backyard into an edible landscape. I have not always had the best of luck with gardens and plants. I tried one other time to start plants from seeds and lets just say they didn’t make it. This year will be different though. This year, I want it more and I want to see my handwork pay off. So in order to put my best foot forward I did some research online and found what I believe to be the best seeds to get started with.
In preparation for my big winter sowing project I started saving our plastic milk containers months ago. I also went door to door collecting peoples recycling from them for my project (lol, no lie). After I had about 20 containers, washed and air dried, I began re purposing them into mini greenhouses.
First, remove the lids. You wont be using them for this project, but you could keep them for another purpose. I was thinking of turning mine into a tic tac toe board.
Second, carefully poke holes in the bottom of the carton so excess water can drain out.
Third, carefully cut all the way around the middle leaving a one inch spot uncut. This will work as a lid that can be opened and closed.
Next, fill the bottom of the container 3/4 of the way full with a good quality seed starter mix. Add your seeds and add a little more dirt to cover.
Water thoroughly, allow the water to drain out the bottom holes.
Using duct tape, close the lid and tape it shut so it does not fall open when the wind blows.
Finally, write what you planted on the carton using a sharpie and place them outside in a sunny place.
Now, just leave them be. Once the weather warms and the seeds get more sunshine they will sprout. During warm days you can open the lids to give them more air, but make sure to close the lids at night. The milk carton will act as a mini greenhouse and keep the little buds warm. After the last frost you can transplant them into your garden. Apparently some seeds need this cold period in order to bloom and some say that winter sown seeds are hardier than those planted in the spring.
Doesn’t this sound fun? I am super excited to see my little baby sprouts in the next couple of weeks! Oh, but keep in mind. Not everything should be planted at the same time during winter sowing. Its best to start with plants that are hardy to your region. Hardy plants can be sown anytime during January or February. I started my garden with spinach, broccoli, strawberries, clematis, and poppy’s. I will be starting my annuals and less hardy plants during March and April.
As things begin to grow, I will be keeping you up to date on our progress! Please also share your garden photos and stories with us on our facebook page. If your just getting started gardening, I recommend checking out the book Backyard Gardening and starting with Ferry Morse seeds. These two have turned out to be great resources for me.
Go Dig in the Dirt
<3 Dick and Jane
Disclosure: Raising Dick and Jane will not be held responsible for any injuries or non sprouting seeds from following our advice in this post. Please use caution when using sharp objects. A big thank you to Ferry Morse for providing us with seeds for our project. No compensation was received, my opinions are my own.