I want to send you to a place that deals with sowing seeds- sowing them now, I mean. The people at this place just cannot wait for the Winter Solstice! That is the signal to begin planting seeds, of all sorts, in all sorts of containers, and stick them outside to be frozen, snowed on, iced over, and abused in such a cold manner, you would not expect any of them to live. But they do, and the following Spring, they have so many new plants for their gardens! I thought you might be interested in this manner of plant propagation.
It is called "Winter Sowing", and is based on the premise that all seeds know when to germinate. If a plant reseeds naturally, it would go through all the cold, snowy, freezing weather naturally, and still survive to grow the following year. So, they give their seeds the same treatment they would get 'in the wild' so to speak, and they are very successful.
I have planted in winter here, but with us, we have such a mild winter that the seeds usually germinate right quick, then we have to protect them because the next freeze is going to take them out. Bummer. I want to do Winter Sowing! Oh, Wait! That would mean it was cold, possibly snowing.....that's not for me, never mind.....
Be sure to read the FAQ. There is so much information there, you will be set to go!
For example, this is one of the FAQ pages:
What IS "Hunk-o-Seedlings"?
It's how to transplant your seedlings when they've grown very close together.
You can sow as many seeds as you want into a flat, that's up to you....if you don't like thinning seedlings then sow lightly, otherwise you can sow heavily. I am heavy handed when sowing seeds and I always sow plenty. I just thin the seedlings as I transplant them, often I just take a flat and pry off a "hunk-o-seedlings" and divide it into small clusters and plant those as is. When they grow larger I'll thin them out if needed. Mother Nature is very helpful with this too....she'll bop off the weakest seedlings in the cluster so only the very strongest do survive....so thinning is rarely ever neccesary.
OR...if you really-Really-REALLY want to divide those little seedlings into individuals before you transplant them:
To separate any close seedlings just simply take out a cluster of them from the flat, not a big hunk, maybe a piece of soil an inch or two across, and then carefully work the soil loose from the roots to separate them out. To me the action is very similar to butterflying a piece of meat....I just carefully work the roots apart repeatedly opening and halving the soil hunk (this is not something I do when I am hurried or have "anxious" mangling fingers) and I do very little, if any, damage to the roots.
PS....I really personally prefer the hunk-o-seedlings method best. With Winter Sowing you WILL have a gazillion seedlings so planting them out "en masse" will save time, energy, and sanity.
Entered by Trudi_d
Trudi d is the person who came up with the Winter Sowing idea, and she will cheerfully answer questions, and will be so thrilled you are wanting to WS- as they call it. Click to see her webpage, WinteSown.org.
Go, Read, and maybe you can quench your gardening thirst. More than anything, have fun!