Monday, January 5, 2009

Winter gardening

The seed catalogs are beginning to arrive and fill my dreams with the new gardening adventures awaiting me in just a few short months. I sit and study the catalogs and find exciting things just waiting to be grown and eaten. I find offers of purple carrots and cucumbers that already taste as if they have been pickled. It doesn't matter that the space my garden occupies is under 100 square feet. I must find a way to incorporate all the wonderful new flavors just waiting to be tasted. (Looks like the poor old husband is going to lose a little more of has lawn this year.) I have this intense need to dig into the soil and have an ever increasing patch in which to plant my new finds.

Oh but the obsession has already started. I have been collecting milk jugs, water bottles and other containers for seed starting. I found a way to get my fix playing in the soil and planting seeds that does not require me to have a greenhouse or expensive lights. I found a method called Winter Sowing. Oh to my delight! I can start planting now when the temperatures outside are below freezing. With winter sowing you get a jump start on not only starting the early spring seeds, but it takes so little effort you would think it is not possible. How could I possibly plant my seeds and put them outside to freeze? How can they possibly grow? These questions have been asked and answered by Trudi of Wintersown. She developed the method which has been tried time and again and has proven it works.

The method is so simple it seems too good to be true. As do most people, I didn't believe it was possible and was quite skeptical. I started out small last spring with just a few containers. Much to my delight, I was able to grow flowers and vegetables with very little effort and expense. Much to my dismay, as many others before me have found, this method soon turns into an obsession. I cannot walk past a container without thinking what I can plant. Luckily, I have things under control....well I am trying anyway...ok I do have a few things going and I do have plenty of more seeds waiting for the perfect containers...oh well, I give up. The more containers I collect, the more containers I plant. I haven't taken wintersowing to the extreme yet as I only have 22 containers started and another 12 waiting for my next round of seeds to arrive in the mail. I hear of others who have 300+ containers sitting on the frozen ground just waiting for Mother Nature to give them their wake-up call.

You may not want to read any further. I'm going to tell you just how easy this method is. Ok, last chance, stop reading now unless you too want to get hooked. Oh sorry, it is already too late? Don't say I didn't warn you!

milk jug or other suitable container
a razor knife or scissors able to cut the containers
potting mix (NOT soil)

Just how simple is this? Using the razor knife, cut a door in the side of the milk jug. Punch a few holes in the bottom of the container. Fill 3-4" deep with potting mix, water and let drain well. Sprinkle seeds on top and lightly pat into soil (for larger seeds barely cover with more potting mix). Place lable inside container and tape the door shut. Discard the lid! (You don't want to fry the little guys when the temperatures start to warm up.) Place the container outside. Now for the hard part...wait! When the time is right, the little seeds will begin to swell and soon you will see the beginnings of green. Yes, it really is that easy. What are you waiting for? Give it a try.

Before you go, take some time to visit for complete details on how and what to plant. If you still have questions, hop on over the the message board at Garden Girl Tv and give me a shout . Then don't forget to come back and join me in My Little Corner of the World.

Happy planting! Kim

Wintersown thus far:
12/9/08 (a little too early I later found out) asparagus, alpine strawberries, leeks, broccoli, garlic chives
12/21/08 kohlrabi, cauliflower, dill, oriental leaf mix, romaine lettuce, red rock mammoth cabbabe, Italian market wonder tomato, freckles lettuce, minnesota midget melon
12/31 red cardinal flower, lemon bee balm, gaillardia, marjoram, thyme, sage, creping rosemary, Wyatt's Wonder giant pumpkin

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