Winter sowing seeds is a great, cheap, easy way to start seeds ahead of the planting season. It gives you a head start on your gardening goals and produces stronger plants.
Depending on your available space, you can plant seeds in small pots, plastic cups, or directly into the ground.
If you want to sow seeds directly into the garden, make sure that you’re prepared for the cold weather by covering your seedlings with something like a sheet of plastic wrap until they are ready to be transplanted outdoors.
If you live in an area where it snows during the winter months, you may not be able to start your seeds outside until spring. In this case, you can store them inside over the winter and plant them when temperatures rise.
This method of sowing seeds doesn’t require expensive equipment; this article will explain everything about winter sowing. In the end, it will all be beneficial to you.
- 1 What Is Winter Sowing?
- 2 Winter Sowing Benefits
- 3 What’s The Best Soil for Seed Germination
- 4 Seasonal Temperature and Seed Germination
- 5 How do You Germinate Seeds in Winter?
- 6 Which Seeds Are Best For Winter Sowing?
- 7 How Do I Sow My Seeds For Winter Planting?
- 8 How to Create a Cold Frame?
- 9 Is It Easier To Start Your Plant from Seeds than Cuttings?
What Is Winter Sowing?
Winter sowing is a fun, easy way to start seeds outdoors during the winter. You plant your seeds in tiny greenhouses made from recycled plastic containers and then place them in the snow and freezing temperatures.
This method is great because it allows you to grow plants without worrying about soil temperature and cold winter conditions that can interrupt seed germination.
Plastic pots filled with soil and seed starter mix can be used to sow seeds which are usually ready for when the temperature warms up in the spring, after which you can transplant them into larger pots or in the ground.
Winter Sowing Benefits
Gardening can be an expensive sport. But starting your plants from seeds is a great way to cut costs. And, well, winter seed sowing isn’t exactly cheap.
You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on seeds just because it’s cold outside. In fact, there are many ways to start your garden without spending a lot of cash. Here are some tips for getting started.
Low Cost of Seed Germination
Winter sowing doesn’t require fancy indoor seed germination equipment that can run up purchasing, setting up, and operating costs.
The electricity bill is literally zero dollars, as you will not need any special lights, heat mats, or fans.
Winter sowing allows you to set the seeds and wait until they sprout.
Use Recycled Materials
Using recycled material for germinating seeds is another low-cost option.
You can use old tires, milk jugs, or empty water bottles. Make sure that whatever container you choose has holes drilled in the bottom so water can get out easily when the time comes.
You can Use A Cheap Seed Starter Mix
Another cost-saving tip is using seed starter mix instead of buying commercial potting soil.
It’s cheaper than buying potting soil but still provides all the nutrients your plants need.
You can buy seed starter mix at most gardening stores.
It usually includes peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, and other additives.
Creates Stronger, Hardy Seedlings
Plants grown from seed this way are tougher than those started indoors. Healthier plants equal better success when transplanting.
Furthermore, you don’t need to be concerned about having tall seedling plants because they’re planted and grown outside.
Hardening off the seedlings is unnecessary because they’re already used to outdoor conditions and ready to start growing when the weather gets warm enough.
What’s The Best Soil for Seed Germination
The best seed-starting mix is made of perlite, vermiculite, and sphagnum peat moss, giving the soil adequate drainage and aeration for new roots to thrive.
Do not use soil from your garden or re-use potting soil from your houseplants.
Basic Recipe for Seed-Starting Mix:
- 4 parts compost.
- 1 part perlite.
- 1 part vermiculite.
- 2 parts peat moss.
I have found that this Miracle Grow Potting Mix is a very cost-effective soil and works well for germinating seeds as well. You can find it by clicking here.
Seasonal Temperature and Seed Germination
Temperature is one of the most important factors when it comes to germination. Germination time can be as short as a few days, but it can also take months or even years in some cases.
Temperature affects the time it takes for seeds to germinate, affecting the speed at which your plants grow.
It’s important to know which type of plant you’re growing, whether it’s annuals or perennials before you decide what method of propagation to use.
Annuals are easy to grow from seed but won’t survive freezing temperatures.
On the other hand, perennial plants can live through colder winters because their roots go deep underground.
If you’re planting seeds outdoors, ensure the soil temperature is between 68(and 86(F. Once germination occurs, the optimum growing temperature for the seedling is about 10(F cooler than the optimum germination temperature.
The best way to determine how cold your area gets is by checking the USDA hardiness zone map.
The USDA has divided the country into zones based on average winter temperatures, which should be used as a guide in determining the temperature limits with the time of year according to which stat you are in.
Seeds should be planted after the last frost date, usually around April 1 – 21 in Zone 6 and earlier in Zone 5.
Seeds will start sprouting within two weeks if sown in warm conditions.
If you want to sow seeds in early spring, wait until the ground thaws after the first freeze.
This gives the seeds more time to develop and mature.
How do You Germinate Seeds in Winter?
Use a Cold Frame
A cold frame is a simple structure you can build and use to germinate seeds in winter. Cold frames can protect your seedlings from the wind and provide some protection against rain and snowfall.
Use a Seed Tray
If you don’t have access to a cold frame, try using individual seed trays instead.
These are available from most gardening stores (and online) and allow you to start growing almost any plant indoors during winter.
Use a Propagator
Propagators are mini-greenhouses that use artificial heat sources to keep seedlings warm enough to germinate despite subzero temperatures outside the greenhouse itself!
They usually require additional electricity but can be incredibly useful if you want to grow plants indoors during winter without sacrificing comfort or convenience!
Use Heated Propagators
Heated propagators are just small versions of regular ones.
Still, they come with built-in heating elements so that no matter how cold the outside might be, the inside will always remain warm enough for growth without requiring additional costs or effort!
Which Seeds Are Best For Winter Sowing?
You can show a wide range of seeds in winter, and most will germinate quickly. These include:
- Carrots, beetroots, leeks, and onions.
- Radishes, spinach, lettuce, and parsley.
- Lettuce, celery, and rocket (arugula).
You may also try sowing flowers such as pansies or violas that you can plant in your garden after the danger has passed.
You don’t need any special equipment to sow these seeds; scatter them over the moist compost prepared in trays or pots and cover them with more compost or soil.
How Do I Sow My Seeds For Winter Planting?
You can sow your seeds in a cold frame, greenhouse, or the ground.
A cold frame is a glass-sided box with a wooden or plastic base designed to keep your young plants warm and protected from harsh winter weather.
In this climate-controlled environment, you’ll be able to grow tender plants like lettuce and spinach outdoors.
You’ll also need to protect your crop from hungry pests by covering it with netting or floating row covers that prevent insect damage without blocking out too much light.
You can plant directly into the ground at zero degrees Fahrenheit (-17 Celsius) using unique seed beds filled with organic materials such as composted bark mulch or peat moss.
This will help water penetrate deeper into the soil’s surface area where most seeds germinate best (typically between 1-2 inches).
Keep an eye on how much water these beds need during the growing season so they only dry out partially before they’re ready for harvest!
How to Create a Cold Frame?
A cold frame is an insulated box with a transparent top. It protects plants from the cold and wind while growing during winter.
The simplest way to make a cold frame is by using wood, plastic, or metal. Build the frame so it’s at least twice as long as it is wide, with a depth of about 3 feet (1 m).
The cover should sit on top of this box, held up by walls at least 18 inches (45 cm) high to keep out rain or snow.
You can also buy pre-made frames from your local hardware store or garden center if you don’t want to build one yourself—make sure you choose one that’s big enough for the number of plants you want growing inside!
Once your cold frame has been built and set up in its place outdoors near where your plants are growing (but not too close), fill it with soil and plant seeds directly into the ground inside it—you’ll want plenty of room between each seedling because they’ll get very large once fully grown!
Water them regularly until they start sprouting leaves; then remove any dead leaves from time to time throughout summer months while keeping all soil moist until fall comes around again before covering over entirely again, so nothing gets damaged during winter months ahead again.”
Is It Easier To Start Your Plant from Seeds than Cuttings?
- Seeds are cheaper.
- Seeds can be stored for months with no trouble or even years.
- They are easier to germinate than cuttings or divisions in winter because they have a protective coat that needs to be broken down before they can grow roots. The seed is already a potential root—it just needs water to sprout!
- This makes it much more likely you’ll get your plant up and growing when starting from seeds rather than cuttings or divisions during the winter season.
- Seeds produce more plants than cuttings or divisions—and since you’re trying to grow indoors.