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Time to Winter Sow Your Seeds

By valleylynn
January 13, 2012

Have you tried winter sowing vegetable and ornamental plant seeds? If not, give it a try this winter. Many seeds, including tomato seeds and your favorite perennial seeds, do unbelievably well using this method.

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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
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chelle
Jan 13, 2012 5:55 AM CST
Winter sowing gets a big Thumbs up from me!

My first year to try it was last year, and out of perhaps 50 containers only two or three had no germination. I later found out that some of the seeds that didn't germinate should have been started indoors, in warm conditions. I certainly ended up with more than enough new and interesting plants!

Well done article, Lynn!



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Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
Jan 13, 2012 8:03 AM CST
I have started Golden groundsel, Green milkweed, Cone flower and Blackeyed susan, some are already sprouting.
Very good and article with clear explanations, I like that. Thank you.
Josephine. Smiling
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 13, 2012 9:14 AM CST
Thank you Chelle and Josephine. Do either of you have some photos of your winter sow projects? I'd love to see them. Hurray!

I have my jugs ready to go for planting. Our winter has been very strange so far. Starting yesterday we are finally starting to get colder weather, so I think I can start mine the end of next week.
I'll be doing tomatoes, dill, not sure what flower seeds yet. I'll sow the pepper seeds and basil in March. We get killing frost until some time in May.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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chelle
Jan 13, 2012 10:42 AM CST
I haven't begun yet this year, as we still have plenty of winter to go; however, I do have some pictures from last year.

The seedlings in the paper pots were started in re-purposed fruit/cookie/salad containers and needed to be pricked out first. Smiling
Thumb of 2012-01-13/chelle/2da6a9


Shallow containers will work for frost hardy seedlings. You can get them out sooner. (The hanging plastic was to deter the neighbor's feral cats that kept digging in my seed trays!)
Thumb of 2012-01-13/chelle/9617b3


I used popsicle sticks for markers...just cut a tiny slit in the top of the handle and shove 'em in. Smiling
Thumb of 2012-01-13/chelle/13f2c1


I kept my caps on to deter chipmunks and field mice.
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens


Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 13, 2012 9:14 PM CST
We don't have problems with field mice or chipmunks, so I just throw the cap away.
I love what you did with the Popsicle sticks. Thumbs up
Name: Angie
Concord, NC (zone 7)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Winter Sowing Region: North Carolina Daylilies Roses
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Hemophobic
Jan 14, 2012 10:41 AM CST
Excellent, clear article about this method of seed starting, which I first tried 3 years ago and absolutely am sold on. I agree with Chelle: a huge thumbs up from me. Thumbs up

I'm getting ready to start a few things this year as well. This weekend will be spent trying to decide what to show in my 2-liter soda bottles. I don't usually need as many plants as I get in the milk jugs, so I'm confining mine to the soda bottles. I will add that I never was successful starting poppies from seeds or even keeping them alive after purchasing live plants until I used this method and I now have 2 healthy clumps of Papaver `Brilliant' which delight me each spring.

I presented a program on this method at our local gardening club last winter and have spread the news to neighbors who also love it once they try it.
I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day. ~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 14, 2012 11:20 AM CST
Hurray! Angie, how wonderful that you are teaching others how to winter sow.
What other seeds have you used this method for germination?
Would love to see some photo of your winter sow beauties.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Jan 18, 2013 8:58 AM CST
Excellent article! I don't start my winter sowing until March, since we get Chinooks which can cause early germination and then the quick temp drop kills them.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 18, 2013 9:16 AM CST
When is your last frost date Joanne? Your winter conditions are much harsher than what we experience. Some winters we don't even get snow.
I am thinking about trying sweet peas with this method.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Jan 18, 2013 9:25 AM CST
Sweet Peas will probably do really well for you by ws. I would recommend at least 4" of soil mix, since you will sow pretty deep. Are you going to nick them 1st or just let the fluctuating temps/conditions breakdown the seed coat? You might want to choose an "early variety" since the days the days are short now
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 18, 2013 9:43 AM CST
I will let nature be the guide, and will try both an early and later variety, just to see what happens. Now hope I can find seed.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Jan 18, 2013 9:45 AM CST
Make sure you get one that has "fragrance" mentioned. There are quite a few varieties that have little to none for scent.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Jan 18, 2013 9:46 AM CST
This looks like an excellent place to source sweet peas.
http://lathyrus.com/
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 18, 2013 10:22 AM CST
Great site, but is in England. I found one in the U.S. http://www.swallowtailgardenseeds.com/vines/sweet_pea_vines....
Looks like a great source for other seeds also.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Jan 18, 2013 10:43 AM CST
I think many top notch mail orders carry a variety of choices. I found a nice selection at a local garden centre. They are now receiving the 2013 seeds and haven't been picked over yet
I'm going to try these this year and alternate the different varieties along the side wall of the house. I think it will look cool with different heights and flower colours inter-mixed
3 feet Knee High light fragrance, early bloomer
3-4 feet Cupani high fragrance Heirloom vibrant colour. small flowers with only 2 per stem
4-6 feet Early Spencer, little to no fragrance. Big Ruffle blooms
6 feet Scent Infusion (includes Albutt Blue, April in Paris, Cathy, Fire & Ice, Heathcliff, Juliet and Memories) Even though they are large grandiflora blooms, they are labeled as intense fragrance)
6 feet Statesman Mix (includes America & Senator Heirlooms) later bloom - highly fragrant with bi-colour streaks
6 - 10 feet Sweet Old Glory (includes Heirlooms Queen Alexandria, Dorthy Eckford and Lord Nelson) Strong Fragrance.

I will winter sow some of each and start indoors too.



[Last edited by Joannabanana - Jan 18, 2013 10:51 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #347160 (15)
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 18, 2013 11:33 AM CST
I saw the Lord Nelson and really liked it. Also fell in love with the intense color of Henry Eckford. And I loved the delicate beauty of Painted Lady.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Jan 18, 2013 3:41 PM CST
There are many to choose from. I'm really excited to see how they will grow this year. Last year, I planted Mammoth and although the flowers were large and pretty, they had very little frangrance
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Jan 18, 2013 7:03 PM CST
I want fragrance, and I'm going to plant them by my front door.
Name: Marilyn
Greenwood Village, CO (Zone 5b)
Garden today. Clean next week.
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CDsSister
Mar 25, 2015 4:29 PM CST

I found it I found it and I still have questions. But I can get started. Anything unusual about Spring Sowing?
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Mar 25, 2015 7:21 PM CST
I think @Joannabanana would be the one to answer your question Marilyn, if you are talking about sweet peas?

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