What Is Winter Gardening & SowingDid you ever think that you could actually sow seeds outdoors during the winter? Even amidst snow, sub-zero temps, and other winter blues, winter sowing can be too good to be true. However, it’s a great way to let mother nature take her course, and also to encourage hearty plants. You can sow them directly into the ground, or you can give them a give of a helping hand by starting them in enclosed containers to get the ball rolling a little faster.
Getting StartedYou’ll want to choose hardy seeds, and stay clear of the tropical and tender plants. A few good choices are
- Butterfly Weed
You can sow your seeds directly into the ground, or you can start them in containers which are then transplanted later. Direct sowing will not give you a head start the way that sowing in containers will because the soil in the ground will not warm up as fast as the soil in the containers. Yet, it will save you the trouble of transplanting.
When looking for containers, make sure you look for something that can handle the freezing and thawing that is caused by winter weather. You’ll also want to make sure that there are drainage holes int eh bottom of the containers and are vents in the top covering. The vents should be small to start with, and then widen them as the weather warms in the spring.
You’ll want to start with at least 2-3 inches of potting mix, maybe even 3-5 inches. It helps insulate the seeds and prevents them from being heaved to the surface.
Start PlantingNow that you’re containers are ready, you’ll want to start by sowing more seeds than you think you’ll need. Germination rates will be lower than if grown in ideal conditions. When sowing, though, don’t sow too thickly. The seedlings could crowd each other out when they do begin to grow.
Don’t forget to label your containers somehow, either. No matter what you think, comes spring you’ll be looking at the tray of green seedling wondering what in the world they are.
What’s With Winter Sowing?This relies on cycles of freezing and thawing to loosen seed coats and prepare seeds to germinate. In fact, some seeds may even say to put them in the freezer before sowing them. When spring first arrives with sunny days but still freezing nights, you should start to see seedlings coming up. When you do find days that are above freezing, open the containers and check the soil dryness. Water them if they need it by using a gentle spray bottle and then put the lids back on.
winter sowing at the Lake of the Ozarks, we would love to share our experiences. Our in-house Plant Doctor has decades of experience planting and growing many varieties and types. If you need gardening supplies at the Lake of the Ozarks, we’ve got you covered. From small to large tools, you’ll find everything you need to get your garden off to the right start at Camdenton Farm and Garden. Come out and see us, and don’t forget to share your gardening stories with us!