Winter sowing sounds wonderful when you live in a home with limited space to start seeds.  However, how much winter is too much for this method?  Winter sowing, simply put, is planting seeds outdoors in the winter in a mini-greenhouse environment and let mother nature encourage germination in her own time.  For a more detailed overview, visit http://www.wintersown.org/  I am also curious about the rate of growth compared to a seed started indoors.  In a northern climate, we can't plant many vegetables (tomato, eggplant) outside until mid-May or later.  One advantage of starting seed indoors is having a strong healthy plant ready to plant at that time.  We race mother nature and our neighbors for the first tomato.  Or, in some cases, we race our gardening sister.   How far ahead in the race will a winter-sown seed get me?

Next week , I will be using the winter-sown method to start a variety of tomato and a yet-undetermined flower.  I will also start the same seeds indoors when I normally would.  I will post photos updating the progress of my plants as we go.  

 

Well, I had a green bean, a single lonely baby, come up in early April during a warm snap.  Once the typical early April chill returned, the tiny seedling died.  It's been a month with no further peeking through of any seedlings.  I opened the jug today, both bean jugs and all the seeds were rotted, some already gone, completely decomposed.  So two jugs down as a failure.  In the tomato jug, nothing, which is not a surprise per not very hot out yet.  The pepper jug?  Two seedlings.  A corbaci and a habanada type. Complete surprise as peppers usually need even more heat than tomatoes do, to germinate.  Possible that the tomato seeds also rotted, but I'll give it a week.

Not sure what I did wrong, perhaps started too early?  Jugs nestled in a sunny corner of my deck getting 6-8 hours of morning and noon sun, so sunlight not an issue. In March, the jugs looked dry so I did add some water.  I kept the lids off the jugs, as required.  This spring there were greater fluctuations in temperature than usual.  Maybe winter sowing is better in locations were fewer fluctuations and/or no larger seeds that are more likely to rot.  If I do not get any tomatoes, I'll likely chalk the failure up to temperature swings.  One day, a few weeks ago, the high temp reached 80 degrees, unheard of for early April in my area.  

I'll add another update in a couple of weeks.  

My two little peppers have no grown at all since they emerged.  No other peppers, nor any of the tomatoes, came up.  Not sure if I will try this again but definitely not encouraged by these initial results.

 

Thanks for following!