Wednesday, February 9, 2011

First Winter Sown Seeds

Since starting this blog last March, I've read a lot about winter sowing.  This is a new idea to me.  I've been reading posts and researching it online.  WinterSown.Org has a lot of great information.

I have some seeds I saved from a flower in my neighbor's yard.  She doesn't know what the plant is.  She got it free at a plant giveaway.  It had yellow flowers that resemble sunflowers and yet resemble coneflowers.  No, I don't have any photos of it blooming.  It reached about two feet in height and bloomed mid summer to frost.  She saved me some seeds.  I decided they would be used in my first winter sow attempt.

Many different containers can be used.  I went with free and am reusing some of our milk jugs.  Also on the table, potting soil, the seeds, packing tape, shears and a permanent marker.  Saturday, I put it all together.


I cut the bottom off the milk jugs except through the label making that area a "hinge."

I cut slits in the bottom of the milk jugs around the edge for drainage.

I filled the bottom of each jug with potting soil.

I soaked the soil very well and let the jugs drain in the sink.

These are the seed heads I received from my neighbor.

I loosened all of the seeds.

I sprinkled seeds on the soaked potting soil.

I covered the seeds with a little more soil.

I pressed the soil down on the seeds.

Taping the container back together was messy because I sat each one on the counter to put the tape over the slit.  They all continued to drain and made a mess!

After I dried the counter and the containers, I labeled each one.  I only planted one thing, but I wanted to be covered in case I decide to plant some other seeds.

I sat the containers outside where they will get full sun.  They're beside the pile of concrete pieces.  I'm hoping that will protect them from any crazy strong winds we may receive.  You'll notice there are no lids on the spouts.  The containers need ventilation.  If your container doesn't have a small opening, you should cut slits in the top. 

The idea is that the seeds will sprout when temperatures are appropriate for the seedlings to grow and they'll be easy to transplant.  I'll check on them occassionally to see if they need water.  Although, right now, they're buried in a snow drift from Tuesday's snow storm.

I have more of the seeds which I will also plant directly into the garden when we're past chances of frost.


  1. That looks like a splendid idea.

  2. I just did the same thing. Winter sowing for the first time. It's fun!

  3. That is exactly how I am doing my winter sown seeds! I haven't had any luck with it in the past but fingers crossed for this year. I suspect your yellow flower may be a heliopsis or maybe a helianthus. I am leaning toward heliopsis though. Was it tall? Taller then or equal to coneflowers? They do set seeds but I'm not sure if they are really black like that. I'll check mine here soon.

  4. It seems like a lot of people are trying winter sowing this year. It's such a easy way to get seeds started. Glad to see I'm not the only one that makes a mess of the kitchen with it :)

  5. Your seed pod looks like a type of Echinacea whose name escapes me now, but there is a yellow one that sort of resembles Rudbeckia but has the telltale cone shape like yours. I have it in my garden too and it loves its hot, sunny area. I am glad you are starting seeds in winter. It is such a joy to grow plants from seed! Happy gardening.

  6. I can't wait to see how these work out. I always say I will do the same in the winter and never do. Great post!

  7. If this method works, then you will have a big jump on plants to place in Spring! I never have luck with starting seeds, heck, I did not have much luck with spreading seeds on the ground last spring! I planted lots with little results. Not sure what went wrong with me.

    Can’t wait to see your blooming beauties this summer....

    Burrr, your snow looks cold…

  8. Can't wait to see how it turns out. I love that idea for sowing peppers and such. It's a bit like my eggshell idea. Thanks so much. Stay warm.~~Dee

  9. This method worked pretty good for me last year...good luck!

  10. Excellent! Can't wait to see them sprouting! I will be doing the same in a few weeks with chinese food take out containers.. :)

  11. Good luck. .and I know you'll let us know how it works. I am hoping to start tomatos and peppers this weekend to get started too!! Spring will be here soon!

  12. Hi There, Sounds interesting... I'll be anxious to see how it works for you... Keep us posted please --and thanks for the directions.

    I was thinking about you all in Kansas --with all of the recent snows... Yipes!!!!!

    Love your bird pictures.

  13. ~Joani

    Hope yours sprout too.

    Thanks for the lead on the unknown flower I'm trying to grow. I'll keep you posted.

    I thought I had a handle on trying it without making a mess but it happened anyway. Ha!

    I'm really hopeful on these seeds.

    Thanks. It never hurts to try. I kept some seeds to plant "normally" this spring too.

    Sometimes, I put out seeds and they just do their thing. Other times, they just seem to disappear. I blame birds alot. Poor birds.

    I wondered about trying this with pepper seeds. I may still.

    Thanks for the encouraging words.

    Those should be easy to use.

    Hope you got your seeds planted. It's so warm today. We have the doors open.

    Thanks for visiting.

  14. I keep thinking I'm going to do that, then I don't. We have a milk jug in our recycle tub. Maybe I'll pull it out and clean it up to plant in.

  15. I've had my jugs out for a couple months now but in checking yesterday since the snow melted, nothing sprouting yet but I didn't really expect it. Looking forward to spring.
    Goldenray Yorkies


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