#GardenWithJulia 2017 – Winter Sowing

Garden Graphic (3)

Hello there! I bet you didn’t think you’d see a gardening post so soon! Last year I came across an idea called “winter sowing.” Basically, you sow the seeds you want to grow in a plastic container and set it outside during the winter. In colder climates (those with freezing temps/snow), this is a way to get a jump on the gardening season. It’s hard to find much info on winter sowing in warm climates, mostly because I think there’s not really a need for it. BUT! I figure there’s no harm in trying, right? I already have all the materials, and if nothing comes from it, I’ve lost nothing, and gained experience I wouldn’t have if I didn’t try at all.

So, my containers are translucent milk jugs. Here’s the post I used to prepare them. This first go-round, and I’ll update you on what I’ve planted once I get there.

I’m setting them in the shadiest corner of my yard, trying to keep them as cool as I can since we’re setting record warm temperatures this winter. Wait, sunlight is important for this process. I guess they get the sun and we’ll just see what happens. Wait. I have enough of everything to do some in each area, I guess that would be a great way to see which might be better for the future? Also, since we get lots of strong fronts that blow through, I’m going to be thinking of a way to try and keep these containers from blowing away.

BUT! I’ve also recently come across a video about “winter direct sowing,” which is basically the same thing, but beginning in the same container it would be transplanted to, eliminating the need to transplant. I may try this as well, if I can find domes to fit my buckets.

I’m in USDA zone 8a, if you’re wondering.

If this doesn’t work out too well (and even if it does) I think I’ll be buying transplants this year instead of trying to grow everything from seed. Since I’m still quite the novice, I’m still learning what works better for me.

I think that last year my soil was too heavy. This year I’m amending it with coco fiber, perlite, and compost. I’m doing this partly to make it a little lighter (and the coco retains water) but also because I’m not starting with all-new soil. So hopefully the compost will help add some lost nutrients and my plants do better this year. I’ll also be trying to learn more about adding nutrients as the season goes on.

Once I get some of this out (in the next couple of days, hopefully) I’ll post some pictures and specifics.

Have you heard of or tried winter-sowing before? What kind of climate do you have? How did it work out for you?

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