Tuesday, March 20

Celebrating Spring by Winter Sowing

Remember when I mentioned winter sowing back on the winter solstice? Well, I wouldn't start my winter sowing quite that early, but I did start it in late February last year.

This year, I feel like I'm way behind. The tulips that I planted in the fall are already shooting up in the front yard. Hellebores are blooming, and sprouts of everything from Jacob's ladder to cardinalflower are showing.

Some people, like Colleen, are already exulting in the appearance of their winter sown sprouts--and rightfully so! But until today I had no little "ghetto greenhouses" lined up along the side of my house. With the spring equinox right around the corner, and my fingers itching to get dirty, it was definitely time to rectify that situation.

I am a little short on winter sowing containers right now, so I started with the perennials and hardier annuals. Somehow, most of the seed varieties I picked were teensy-tiny, like these. Luckily, the seed companies tend to really pack a lot of these small seeds into each packet so I didn't have too much trouble scattering them in the container. When you winter sow and get too many seedlings in a container, you can plant them out in chunks. The strong ones eventually crowd out the weaker ones as they fight for nutrients.

So far, I have winter sowed the following: alchemilla erythropoda, asclepias incarnata 'Cinderella,' Hungarian Blue breadseed poppy, ruta graveolens, allium cernuum, coleus 'Wizard Velvet Red,' nicotiana sylvestris and echinops bannaticus 'Blue Glow.'

The coleus is an experiment because winter sowing it seems like a hit-or-miss thing. The rest of the seeds should do okay for me, I hope. In a few weeks, I will find out whether my winter sown seeds will sprout... taking the leap of faith to sow seeds on the spring equinox seems appropriate in light of the hopeful nature of the season.


MrBrownThumb said...

All of these seed sowing pics and posts on the net just serve to remind me that I'm really behind. :0(

I need to spend less time playing with blogger templates and more time actually...Oh, I don't know...gardening?

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Hi Kim,

You've been busy sowing I see. So have I, my greenhouse and conservatory are full of seedlings.

I usually start sowing half February as that works best for me. If I sow earlier then the seedlings get very spindly.

I hope that your coleus experiment will be a success!

BTW I've linked with your lovely blog, will you do the same?

Colleen Vanderlinden said...

I'm sure they'll sprout. I'm sure it's good luck to sow on the spring equinox :-)

I'll try the coleus experiment, too. I did some inside under lights, but I would like more. I'll throw the rest of my seeds in some WS containers and see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the only winter sowing I'm doing is in my basement under lights. I got excited when I first read about winter sowing right here on your blog but didn't get a chance to try it out this year.

But I also have coleus seeds that I'm going to grow under lights. Let's compare pictures in the future.

A wildlife gardener said...

I have lots of packets of seed to sow, but we have snow at the moment, so they will need to wait. Good luck with yours.

lisa said...

It's so encouraging to hear you are behind in this also...I hope that when I start my winter sowing project this weekend, it won't be too late. I doubt it, though...I have much less spring in my yard than you do. Good luck!

Ki said...

I especially love the allium, echinops and the Nicotiana...boy the leaves are big...you can almost smoke that!

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