Sunday, April 4, 2010

A New Way of WinterSowing

I've been winter sowing seeds for a few years now.  The premise is to make little mini greenhouses out of plastic bottles, like milk jugs or 2 liter soda bottles, then transplant the seedlings right from the jugs when it's time.  This is a really great idea for people who don't want to bother with indoor lighting contraptions for seed starting.  It also means no hardening off of seedlings and it's a great way to recycle plastic bottles.  And most people think of winter sowing in December of January which works great for perennials, but annuals work great using this method, too.  I usually start them in March or April.


The one thing I don't like about winter sowing is that the roots from the seedlings tend to grow together and become tangled.  When you transplant them, you basically have to rip them apart, which seem barbaric, but it usually works.  This year I decided to try a new way of winter sowing.  Instead of filling the containers with dirt, I filled them with pellets.  This way, transplanting will be a breeze. I have no idea if this will work, but I'm hopeful.  I was able to fit 9 pellets in each jug.

Today I used this method to sow some annuals, including Spitfire Climbing Nasturtium which I'm growing as part of the Seed Grow project.  Nasturtiums are easy to grow by direct sowing, but since I'm not sure where I want them to go yet, I thought I'd start them this way and decide their permanent home later.  I have some left that I'll probably direct sow, too.  

I'll be reporting the progress on this batch of winter sowing, including the Climbing Nasturtium, so be sure to check back for updates.

For more information on winter sowing, visit wintersown.org

"I'm growing Nasturtium "Spitfire" for the GROW project. Thanks, to Renee's Garden for the seeds."

10 comments:

  1. Using the pellets is going to help you out a lot in the long term. Save you some soil and money.

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  2. I've used toilet paper rolls in the wintersowing containers for the same reason. Works great.

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  3. This sounds like a great idea! Do you think you could start vegetables this way too?

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  4. Great idea about the peat pellets -- I also like Xan's idea of using tp rolls in the milk jugs. It is amazing how much soil I go through when winter sowing -- both ideas will help a lot in that department!

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  5. I've been wanting to do a small container garden for my apartment. The thought of using old milk cartons seems like a great idea!

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  6. Using the milk jugs is a great idea! We go through milk like crazy at our house. Will have to give that a try with my next batch of seedlings.

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  7. Good luck with your peat pellets! We make our own pellets by the millions in our greenhouse :)

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  8. Everytime I read about someone starting seeds in toilet paper rolls, it really makes me smile.

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  9. I use pellets to start my peas early, then transplant them out into the garden. This assures that the seed will not rot in wet cold soil.
    I haven't been by your blog in a long time....nice to see you are still gardening and blogging.

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