Winter sowing is a method of cold weather gardening that allows you to grow vegetables while it is still cold to get ahead in the growing season. I learned about winter sowing a few years ago from my friend Amber, who lives on a farm in Campbell County, Kentucky. Its not too late in the season to get started since ground planting is not recommended until after Mother’s Day in our area (growing zone 6a).
Here are some easy steps you can take to start winter sowing.
- Do you have clear plastic bottles or plastic bins such as the ones that hold spring mix? You can use winter sowing to turn those items into mini green houses.
3. If you use something like a milk jug or a 2 liter, remove the lid for ventilation, or just poke some holes in the top of your container for ventilation. This keeps your sweet plant babies from being burned up in a hot environment.
6. Put in your seeds. If planting tomatoes or other vegetables that get large 1 to 2 seeds is best so you have an easier time transplanting later. Things like lettuce and herbs can be grown much closer together if they will be planted closer together in the garden. Make sure to use a marker to write what seeds you planted in your containers.
Check your containers for dryness and water when needed otherwise leave everything alone until the plant starts to outgrow the container. Since it is already April, you can try to time it so your plant is ready for planting the second week of May.
When your plant is several inches tall, start opening the container in the day time for a few hours every day and increase the time every few days to harden off the plant to get ready for planting.
Set a timer to remind you to water the containers or to cover them for the night. I have forgotten to do both and have lost plants because of it.
There are websites and social media groups for more information, just search “winter sowing”
My favorite group from Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wintersown/
Written By, Cathy Craig Outreach Programmer for the Kenton County Public Library and amateur micro farmer