Winter Sowing

The dead of winter gets me stir-crazy. I'm tired of sitting around. I'm tired of being cold and I'm ready to work outside. Luckily there is something you can do for the garden in the winter- sow some seeds! I don't like to over complicate gardening so this is super simple.

Early in the year I asked friends for empty milk jugs and we got a full trash bag of them. One cool  but yet slightly warm day in February my daughter and I got to work.

This is what we found to be the easiest method-

Take your empty jug and stab a bunch of holes in the bottom. This provides water drainage, so don't skip this step! We also wrote what each one was going to be but we ended up not needing to do this step.

Then take your jug and slice it around the middle, but leaving the handle part still attached. You want the lid to be able to bend open as opposed to coming off completely.

Then add dirt. But make sure it's specifically a seed starting mix (as opposed to potting soil) You want to give these little ones the best start possible. Once your soil is in, plant your seeds. You don't have to worry about spacing or anything, just stick them in there and give it a good soak.

Label,  duct tape it shut and stick all your jugs in a flat place that gets sunlight. Make sure you leave the lid OFF as that's how air circulates and additional water gets in. Then just leave it. For the rest of the winter.

We live in Tennessee so we don't get much snow, but the internet is full of pictures of snow covered jugs. The jug acts like a mini greenhouse and keeps those seeds nestled snug in their beds.

Depending on your weather and when you started this process you will start to see sprouts. That's a fun day.

Let them keep growing until planting time. Open it up and it will look something like this:

Isn't that the coolest thing? Try to be careful when you take the seedlings out as the roots will be intertwined but plant them where you want and watch them take off. These snap peas went right into the straw bale garden.

What I've learned thus far:
This works best with cool weather crops. Snap peas, lettuces, kale, etc. Snap peas did the best for me. Swiss chard and lettuce were good as well. I can't wait to try this again as I was using some really old seed and I think that was part of the reason every single thing didn't grow wonderfully. I will give further updates over the next few years.

According to my research you can plant these as soon as you want. The end plants will be bigger and possibly easier to plant. This really depends on your area though. In Tennessee, I started them in February and we were eating snap peas in May.


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