Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gardening for EVERYBODY!

I am hearing so many say they cannot garden now. If you live in the frozen North, in zone 4, 5, and 6, and 3 and 2 as well, you CAN be gardening now, and planning in a hands-on way for Spring. Getting a head start on it.....

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:

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Hunk-O-Seedlings.....whazzat?



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.

Trudi

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

FAQ Page

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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!

16 comments:

Grace Peterson said...

Hi Janie~~ Thank you for this friendly and exciting reminder. I have poppy seeds that need to be sown now. Spring-sown seed just doesn't do very well. You and Trudi are so right. I'll have to check out her FAQ. This might be good subject matter for my newspaper column. I've always got my antennae up. :)

Elephant's Eye said...

Getting seedlings thru our summer heat is a mission. I prefer to take cuttings in autumn, then they are tough enough to get thru summer.

Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

I'm a wintersower. My perennial bed was filled in one year with plants using this method. I was skeptical at first, but I plunged in deep and went all out last winter. I sowed 700 containers in all from under-the-bed storage boxes to 9 ounce styrofoam cups. Between the perennials and the annuals, I had blooms in the garden from early spring til late fall. I've already started again this year, although I am waiting until Jan 1-2, as recommended by Farmers Almanac for the largest sowing. 116 containers will be done over those two days. All of them are hardy perennials. Annuals will be sown in March and April as the chance of frost passes.

Thanks for sharing this with your readers Janie. It's really a more natural way of starting seeds than using lights and heatmats indoors. There's no damp off, no fungus, and there's plenty of excitment as you see the first tiny sprouts surviving snow, heavy frosts, and temperatures in the teens or below.

Liisa said...

Janie,
I am so looking forward to getting my seeds started. Thank you so much for the reminder, as well as the informative post! :)

Carol said...

It is true we can all be playing in the dirt! Great post and reminder! Thank you Janie!

Di said...

Janie, hi. Sowing seeds... all I can think of right now is the vegetable garden and the soon-to-be sowing of those. Like Grace, poppies are the only flower seeds I currently sow in the winter. We are about downsizing and taking out 3 or 4 higher maintenance plants and replacing with one evergreen. ;)

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wish you a New Year of good health and much Joy! Diana

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Hi Janie, yes it is a great time to start gardening for winter. Garden Web has such great forums filled with many answers.
Wishing you a New Year filled with all your heart desires.

tina said...

Now there's a thought-gotta get planting. Have a great New Year Janie.

azplantlady said...

Hi Janie,

What a great idea! Like you, I can't do winter sowing either, but what wonderful advice for those in colder areas just itching to do some gardening.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I tried winter sowing for the first time last year and had great luck with it. I know that soon I will be starting my first plantings. I can't believe how well the Cosmos I started that way did, so much bigger than when I've direct sowed them.

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

Great post!! I haven't had much luck with growing from seed, it seems that with outrshort growing season plants don't usually flower the first year after germination, so it's 2 years from seed to flower, and I'm not a terribly patient person. I should try fast & reliable growers though, like cosmos & forget me nots.

Thanks so much for the suggestion, I'll have a look at seeds when I visit the garden centre this week. :)

Thomas said...

Hi Janie - thanks for the post. Very interesting! Eliot Coleman mentions something similar to winter sowing in his books. This is definitely something that I'll be interested trying! That is, if our snow ever melts!

Autumn Belle said...

Janie, I find your sowing seeds and handling seedlings tips very useful. Winter sowing is new to me but I think this is a brilliant idea. Wishing you a Happy New Year 2010! May all your dreams come true.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

You should be kidding dear Janie! I am still hibernating...

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

outrshort = our short lol.

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