That would stop the milk jug caving in and not having to to wait for it to freeze. Do you have any information on this subject? Awesome! https://104homestead.com/winter-sowing-by-zone/. I was wondering if you can put the seeds in your raised bed and just put the tops of the milk containers over them? That seems to me to be much easier than waiting for water to freeze…. I also deal with high winds most of the time. You certainly could do that, but I found the fragile plastic shape still collapses, even from the inside. Last season, I had volunteer tomato plants in my garden, that sprouted the same time I was planting purchased plants from dealers. Even more surprising, winter-sown plants tend to be stronger and more resilient than indoor-sown seeds. Could I do this? In a nutshell, winter sowing, or winter seed sowing, is sowing seeds indoors in the winter in mini greenhouse-like containers, like milk jugs or other recycled containers, and setting the containers outside in the winter elements until Mother Nature germinates the seeds in the spring. I'd like to think we are the people who don't fit the mold. Last Fall, I made a hoop tunnel garden (3′ x 15′ x 20’+). I live in Maine and most years mine are buried under 3’+ of snow (this year is an exception). Yes, we transplant just like you would with traditional starts. I buy starting soil from Home Depot. Log in as an administrator and view the Instagram Feed settings page for more details. Just make sure not to smoosh the root. I love my burn barrel. The easy way to make holes in plastic is poking it with hot soldering iron. Subscribe to The Homestead Helper and receive a copy of my new book, Welcome to the World of Homesteading, your guide to setting attainable homesteading goals. And how do you? I used my hot glue gun without any glue to melt the holes in the milk jugs. I would think that you could start perennial seeds anytime now. Anyway, I’m just not sure about the timing. how many seeds do you, put in the milk jug and what time of the year would I plant, we live in Thomas,Wv. This method is great for those that don’t have any extra space indoors to dedicate to … I have no idea if they will all work… but fun trying. Awesome, I’m so glad I inspired you to winter sow more types of seeds! Last year I used Gal.empty Water Jugs X 4 , planted Perenial Flower seeds and had Great Results ! I used this method years ago with great success. I haven’t tried all of the seeds you have listed, but I would wait until April for the zinnia and impatiens. They need to be mostly clear? Easily! I use the transition of textured plastic to smooth plastic as a guide. Thanks again for sharing with Green Thumb Thursday! I plan on getting the containers I've been saving for cloches and use them now to start my seeds. I love this idea! They are sitting still in this morning’s 20mph plus winds! I will do this again next year, fun! I do have a couple of questions; will the seed. There’s still a few months of winter. It sounds so good that one wonders if it can be true. So glad to hear that most of your winter sown seeds have germinated! I would put some rocks in the bottom of the milk cartons, and then the soil, to help keep them stable in the wind! I have a ton of these jugs,so I’ll be busy making these this week! I have read a lot of tips from other website, but yours is one of my favorite. The soil will compact over the long winter months. What a good idea! If you are worried that won’t be enough, can you get a hay bale or something to create a wind block? Sure would take alot of stress off of me! There are no good protected areas, either. My mind is blown in my way of thinking, and here I just bought a grow light, argh, seriously two days ago! I am not a doctor, lawyer, veterinarian or Martha Stewart. I grow a garden every year, but having a head start will be great! Required fields are marked *. Herbs Chives (both regular chives and garlic chives are a must in my garden) Cilantro Dill Anise hyssop Lavender Mustard ( Mustard Red Giant is a must) Oregano Parsley ( this is my favorite) Peppermint Sage Salsify Summer Savory Chamomile Go throw some seeds in some milk cartons and toss them out in the yard. Make sure you swing by on Thursday when I talk about how to winter sow for the various gardening zones. Winter sowing Seeds January 15, 2016 December 29, 2019 A brilliant way to get early spring spinach, rocket salad, lettuce, carrots and radish is to copy the way the nature does it – make sure that the seeds are planted before spring starts. Do you? It’s nowhere near the numbers you do, but I just don’t drink enough juice quickly enough! I was looking for a planting project for my granddaughters, this fits the bill. The neat thing about winter sowing is that the seeds take their cues from nature. Great idea, thanks! What kind of soil do you use? My name is Jessica Lane. Winter sowing is a method of germinating seeds outdoors in recycled containers during the cold winter months. Do you put the cap back on the jug? I am not sure that planting in plastic is safe because of the leaching out of the chemicals. Forgeting about them last Winter , then discovering them in the Spring was such a Pleasant Surprise !!! This method is perfect for me. It’s an in-depth training that will teach you exactly how to grow any type of seed you want so that you can save tons of money every year on garden plants! Thanks for supporting The 104 Homestead. I’m happy to help. I will show you how to use a milk jug, but the same rules apply to other containers. I do have one question. When the sun is out it is in the 50’s inside. That would hold some good sized seedlings. With as much milk as we go through I can definitely start saving jugs today so I can give this a whirl! We are so very busy with two toddlers and this would eliminate so much stress for us. You can certainly start plants and seeds earlier when you use a plastic hoop setup. I live a nearly self-sufficient lifestyle with my three beautiful children on 5 1/2 acres in Maine. One question..we sometimes get really windy days here in Ohio in early spring. Broccoli alfredo lasagna roll, This error message is only visible to WordPress admins, Your Guide to Reading and Understanding a Seed Packet, Seed Saving 101 – An Encyclopedia of Seed Saving, Burn Barrel 101: Why You Need One on Your Homestead, Can You Freeze Spaghetti Squash? They don’t start sprouting until the weather warms up and then they act like little greenhouses to keep the seedlings from getting too cold. Freezing is not an option for me as I don’t have the extra freezer space. If you want to grow beets in a spot where the temperature fluctuates a lot, then I would instead recommend sowing in spring. You can see our full disclosure statement here. Sharing on facebook and pinterest! 55° one day and 85° the next. Instead, this method uses recycled containers which act as miniature greenhouses to sow seeds of plants that would normally survive winter either as perennials or as reseeding annuals. thanks! I try to start as many plants from seed each year as possible, but, since I don't (yet!) The most ideal seed starting medium for milk jug winter sowing … This would be great since I often run out of room under my plant lights inside! How to Sow Seeds in a Milk Jug. Moisten the soil before using, by placing some soil in a... Plant the seeds into the soil as directed on the … The neat thing about this system is that the container maintains a lot of moisture, like a greenhouse. It depends on where you live. Before they begin germinating (which is triggered naturally by the warming weather), they are dormant, so no harm will come to them. The reason this question is so important is because you can’t use every type of seed with the winter sowing method. I am a busy mom on a small bit of property with not a lot of financial resources, but I am figuring out how to live the life I want. Yup. You are correct, though, that those light-block bottles won’t work. I have mine against the side of my raised bed. You can also use water bottles or soda bottles. If you need tips on what to grow when, or the how to on sowing seeds using this method, don't forget to check out my Seed Starting 101: Winter Sowing article. If you live in a warmer zone (6-7), you will have better success than I do here in z4. I’m concerned that the containers will get blown away or just blown over. The way I’ve seen these done is by laying the carton down on its side, cutting the top out and cover it with the plastic from a ziploc bag. If I can homestead where I live, what's stopping you? Winter sowing is for gardeners who don't have the space or lighting available to sow seeds indoors. I saw you’re a Maine girl, I am too! So excited to see we can do this here. Start tomatoes inside early February. Could you use 1/2 gallon paper milk cartons the same way? Click Here for zone-specific planting schedules and answers to several FAQs. Winter-sowing beets works, the seeds can rest in the cold soil and still germinate nicely later. This is my first year trying this method. Today we are going to talk about Winter Sowing. Thank you! I can’t wait to try this Jess! You will receive an email in your inbox shortly to confirm your subscription. Learn how your comment data is processed. I would suggest sticking a thermometer in the covered area and tracking the temperatures for a bit. you never really explain what to do with the lids. You also want to place three or four holes about 1/4 – 1/2″ up on the sides. I grow my vegetables in the cold winters of zone 3, so I'm sure you can do it too. As the temperatures rise, the seeds begin to germinate. In Florida you should be able to sow seeds outdoors all year without a greenhouse or any weather protection. My question is : wouldn’t the constant warm and cold trigger germination? I have never had any luck with starting seeds indoors either. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Sowing Winter Seeds. Just use a soldering gun to make your holes. I found a few insects inside, roly poly’s What is Winter Sowing? Look at all those winter sown seeds sprouting! Using a sharp knife and plenty of safety measures, cut across the container, leaving about an inch uncut. However, the seed can also sprout during some freak warm spell between weeks of frigid conditions. Also how many plants in a milk container at a time? I am so looking foward to planting your way. But trust me, it works! I need to look up my zone. Also I am in WI and am a 5 as well so this guide should be a great help, not sure 5a or b, does it make a huge difference? Not knowing the specifics of your growing area, I can’t tell you for sure when a good time to start would be. Can I still use your planting list? Winter sowing is a method of starting hardy seedlings outside during winter. My biggest downfalls in seedlings are forgetting to water them or over-watering them and then forgetting to bring them in at night when I’m hardening off the plants. Enroll in the course and get started today! This will be my Second year trying Winter Sowing , and I can’t Wait ! Winter sowing is a technique gardeners can use to start growing seeds outdoors during the winter months. There are tons of seeds that will work, but there are also many that will not. Heirloom, open pollinated, non-hybrid and non-GMO seeds with no chemical treatments. Can I start with any seeds or are there some that I should plant closer to spring? Tried last year with store bought plants. This might help. What zone is the guide for. Do I plant all the types of seeds in one month, or different types for each month? I’m excited to try this! The mini-green house allows our seeds to germinate while we are still getting freezing … I’ve got 11 jugs out I used a heated Philips head screwdriver to poke thru the bottom for drainage holes. 🙂, Hi Amy, Thanks. Hey Amy, Learn how, Shut the front door! Winter sowing also frees up a lot of seed starting space in the house. Add your soil and wet it well. The idea behind this method is that the seeds take their cue from nature and begin sprouting when nature says it’s time. I’ve gotten a lot of questions regarding zone-specific guidelines. It makes sense that you would follow the directions, but what if there were an easier and much better way to get those seedling started? I have a solar shed in zone 6, when would I start perennials, vegetables? Sowing seeds in the middle of winter probably sounds counterintuitive to many gardeners. All content found on this website is copyrighted materials and any form of reproduction is strictly prohibited. When you are done, just duct tape the lid closed, remove the cap and label the outside of the carton with the plant name. Actually I’ve seen what Susan is talking about. You are moving them early enough in the seedling phase that it doesn’t tend to be a problem. Unfortunately, we don’t drink milk nor know anyone who does. Thanks for sharing. I first tried winter sowing last year with several types of flower seeds. Most of the plants are tiny yet and growth is very slow. Central KS. Creator of the winter-sowing method, Trudi Davidoff puts it in simple terms: starting plants outdoors, in winter. I use my glue gun to melt holes in the containers. Was stationed at Brunswick in the early 90’s and my oldest was born there . Typically we get our last frost at Easter. A homesteader's life. I think I have about 30 containers and I have marigolds, nasturtiums, cosmos, a few kinds of herbs, morning glory, snapdragon, moon flower, zinnia, coreopsis, lobelia. I live in the Northeast and it snows a lot. I want to do alyssum, impatiens… and I think there were more. Do you purchase a bag from the store? Winter sowing relies on cycles of freezing and thawing to loosen seed coats and prepare seeds to germinate. I am a non-traditional homesteader. Once you start experimenting, and seeing the similarities in the different types of seeds you can use, you’ll easily be able to figure out which ones to try in the future! I am winter sowing for the first year. “Winter-sowing works with nature to prepare seeds for growth by providing the proper conditions to begin germination. I've decided this year to just grow heirloom veggies so I can save the seeds and know there are no GMO addititves. Don’t wait for the last frost. I tried googling for information for your area, and came up short. This prevents your container from collapsing when you push the drill bit against it. Mustard greens can be sown in the greenhouse, or on the windowsill throughout winter. I’m not familiar with a solar shed, so I’m not sure exactly. As a rule, if a plant is hardy in your zone, you can plant its seed any time in winter, regardless of the temperature outside. Some types of seeds work great, but others will only rot. Heads up! Choosing seeds for winter sowing is easy once you know what to look for. Absolutely! Results of a recent social media poll showed 96% of people who start their plants from seed do so by following the instructions on the back of the packet. Works great! I was imagining cutting it the same way and couldn’t see how that would work. Thank you so much. Sprinkle the seeds in the soil and tap then down. Download your copy today! I’m not sure if yours work the same way or if they are a US thing, but it should give you some direction. If you live in a northern climate and have snow, this method works even better because the melt adds all the moisture your seeds need. Worked like a charm! Thanks for sharing and answering all our questions. We also start sowing leaf lettuce varieties like Australian Yellowleaf from late February for early crops. Sorry to hear about your oopses. If you want to learn how to start all of your seeds, and how to mix the different seed starting methods to easily grow anything you want from seed, then my Seed Starting Course is just what you need! Do you think that using little individual pots inside the milk carton would work? Why don’t you just drill all your holes from the inside once you cut the jug open? Perennial Flowers Hardy Annual Flowers Brussels Sprouts, Spinach Kale Peas Broccoli Thyme Sage Oregano Cilantro. I want to tell you I have winter sown 57 milk jugs. Do they harm plants? Thanks, If you are zone 5, you can follow the same schedule I use. It may be too windy for this trick, but I’ve lined the bottoms with rocks before adding soil. Do you want to learn even more? That is a very common question, and an important one at that. Wow, really, just put them outside? What is Winter Sowing? Before drilling holes, fill your container with water and pop it in the freezer or outside until it’s frozen solid. As long as it isn’t opaque, you should be find. This sounds really neat. You probably are okay to use the same planting schedule as I do. Excellent! In February, we normally have a few 20 below zero or colder nights – won’t this kill the seeds before they can germinate? Because the milk cartons are white, they hardly show up and after a snow, no one will know they are there. Yes, saving some of your seeds “just in case” is always a good idea. How can you transplant root vegetables like carrots and beets so that they will still grow straight. You can find more winter sowing seed lists here. If we winter sowed them we would not have had such an issue… Oh well, guess that’s why you say you shouldn’t use all your seeds at once. ~ Christine, Sounds like a great idea, I’m thinking of trying this. It removes human error from the equation. This will help so much as I have cats that eat all my seedlings that I start inside. Not all seeds are suitable for winter sowing, so be sure the seeds you’re planning to use will work. I leave them taped up until I’m ready to put them in the ground, but I do move them in the shade if they seem to be getting a bit toasty. try using toilet roll inner tubes inside milk cartoons folded flat then flat again so there square then cut in half so u have 2 square pots easy to sow and replant into the garden in spring no disturbing roots cardboard composts away. So we cannot use the regular milk jugs then? This mix of veggies would be perfect if you’re just getting started. How many seeds per milk jug? What is a non-traditional homesteader? I’m afraid to break all of the little roots that are all tangled together. I have 28 containers planted, and have lots of Brussels sprouts sprouted, and onions, and bachelor buttons, and a couple of cabbage sprouts. Do you lift the lids on warm days, or leave them taped shut until you’re ready to transplant? As for veggie seeds… it depends. Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers says, Seriously brilliant! There is not set rule as to the size of the hole, but I used a 1/8th drill bit. i am also trying winter sowing in milk containers. Check the seed packaging or the description in the catalog or on the website for the following key phrases, which are signals that you can use winter sowing. I assume that the milk jugs need to be the clear (soda type), or semi transparent sort (water type), not the white ones (milk type), correct? Since tomatoes and peppers need a longer growing season, it works better for me to start them indoors rather than winter sow them. We like a variety of veggies! Some things that work well are large plastic jugs (like the ones pretzels come in), 2 liter soda bottles, or clear plastic take-out containers. For tiny seeds, I just sprinkle lightly. Our weather is so weird. Become a Contributor/Guest WriterAdvertise on The 104 HomesteadContact Me. Thanks! So, how does one winter sow? I’m confused as far as transplanting the plants. Thanks. My Winter Sowing eBook would be perfect for you! The outdoors part allows mother nature to cold stratify our seeds naturally. I live in NE South Dakota where we are freezing until the end of March, when do you suggest I start here? 🙂 Plus most of them will still be good next year. Try Winter Marvel and Reine de Glace which can be sown right through into November, starting again with new sowings in January if you can sow under cover. Hi there! I’m new to winter sowing I’m in zone 6-7… I wintersowed 42 gallon jugs since Late dec. Cornflowers, delphinium, monkshood, morning glory, larkspur , hollyhock etc… It’s now early feb I looked in them from above today and it appears that the cornflowers are starting to sprout ?? What seeds to sow in winter includes herbs, vegetables and flowers. Standard “milky” milk bottles work just fine though. That basically is the winter sowing method. They are protected in their little greenhouse. I am trying to envision how I might hold them down. Thank you! And what about watering? It may cause delays in your seedlings, but not by any major amount. With their shape you can squeeze a bunch together and if you save caps/lids, you can regulate watering during heavy spring rains. Hi Lori! . Cant wait to try this! You can winter-sow your way to a beautiful garden, too… for pennies . 🌿LINKS🌿Espoma Seed Starter - http://bit.ly/37WdtAa🌿MORE LINKS🌿Support - http://bit.ly/2rNoLUxBuy Garden Answer Merch - http://bit.ly/2Moi7QFVideo Gear … I find it easiest to just use my fingers to pull out the seedlings. You’ll thank me in the spring. What about if I live in a place without a lot of snow? Let it drain out the holes you made until the soil is damp, but not soaked. Up the idea behind this method for our gardening unit for the garden but wow in central Mississippi, 7A/B! Also deal with high winds most of your seeds “just in case” is always a idea. 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