Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Winter Sowing





Moving our clocks forward is around the corner which means so is spring!  Here in Florida, there is already a change in the air and it has been very pleasant to get out there and do pre-spring clean up.

Get an early start on spring by starting your seeds indoors.  There are so many methods and don't necessarily have to be expensive.  Utilizing egg cartons is my favorite method for seed starting.  The following article from HGTV Gardens has some other great ideas.

In the past I purchased my seeds from the popular catalog companies, which can get rather pricey.  Last year, I ordered lots of seed from Amazon.com which saved me quite a bit of money.  Check them out!  Even better . . . do a search on free seeds and you will find lots of offers for limited amounts of free seeds.  

Join a seed swapping group and get tons of seed for the price of postage unless you find a local seed swapping group that organizes get togethers.  In the past I've even swapped plants with other gardeners with great rewards of getting a ton of new plants for free and making some awesome gardening friends.  Back in the day, we hosted some awesome plant and seed swaps complete with BBQ grill going and everyone bringing a cover dish.  Loads of fun!

Gardening doesn't have to be fancy or expensive.  Just use your imagination and do your research!

I'm so ready for spring!!!



Winter Sowing

by Julie A. Martens, HGTV Gardens



"Get your hands dirty this winter by starting seeds outdoors using a practice called winter sowing. This method forgoes supplemental lighting and pricey seed-starting kits and lets nature’s rhythms coax seeds to sprout. Winter sowing is simple and yields sturdy seedlings that are ready to grow. If you have avoided starting seeds because you lack space or sunny windows, check out winter sowing.

To get started with winter sowing, you’ll need supplies you probably have around the house. Plastic containers, like milk jugs, 2-liter bottles or clear-lidded clamshell-type containers serve as a mini-greenhouse for the seeds. Use a box cutter or pen knife to cut around the middle of the container. Leave roughly a one-half inch section uncut to act as a hinge. What you’re doing is creating a hinged container that opens. Clamshell containers don’t require cutting.

Punch drainage holes in the bottom of the container. Use a lighter to heat the tip of the screwdriver to make punching through plastic easier. The container forms a mini-greenhouse for your seeds. Cut slits in the lid of the container to provide ventilation and prevent heat build-up. If your container has a lid (milk jug, 2-liter bottle), remove it.

Fill the container with 2 to 3 inches of soil. Winter sowing works best with a soil a mix that’s light and drains well. Bagged commercial peat moss and perlite mixes work great. Avoid mixes that feature water retention agents or moisture control properties. Wet soil thoroughly, place seeds on the surface, and add additional soil as needed to cover seeds. Pat the soil lightly to ensure good seed to soil contact, and close your container. Use a piece of duct tape to hold the container closed. Be sure to label containers with planting date and seed."


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