I started my winter sowing this week-end, and I started about 25 tomato plants indoors. I’m hoping to get my garden in early this year and possibly get some plants in the garden twice. I’ve found that I’ve just about depleted my stash of canned tomatoes, sauce, corn, green beans, peppers and herbs.
Also, I may expand my garden this year. My grandchildren love my tomato sauce and my sister and daughter enjoy the fresh vegetables as well. After taking inventory, I realized that I needed to replenish my stock. So, I’m going to winter sow some vegetable seeds and plant others under the grow lights for my garden.
If you don’t winter sow, you should. Here’s a few good reasons why you try it:
1. Cost Effective – Winter sowing can be done cheaply. For example, plastic containers, duct tape, a utility knife, seed starting mix and outdoor space is basically all you need. A single plant at a garden center will cost $2.00 – $4.00. Things can get expensive if you’re trying to plant a garden to feed a family over the winter at that price.
2. Saves Indoor Space – Indoor germination requires space. Once the seedlings germinate they require a warm space with proper lighting. Many gardeners don’t have space inside their homes for this endeavor. As a result, they resort to direct sowing in the garden or purchasing expensive plants at the garden center. Furthermore, you can use your deck, shrubbery beds, backyard tables, backyard benches, your garden, the options are limitless. I don’t recommend concrete areas unless you have a bedding of straw. Your plants won’t appreciate a cold bottom from the concrete.
3. Nature Does The Work – Once you place your containers outdoors, you let nature take its course. The rain, snow, light and moderation of the temperature will help germinate the seed and cause the plant to grow at the right time. Once spring arrives, you will have to take the top off the plants and give them water, separate or thin them and prepare them for spring/summer planting. How easy is that!
4. Doesn’t Require A Light System – Nature will provide all the light that your plants will need when you use the winter sowing method. Indoor sowing requires grow lights or some type of fluorescent lighting system. I have an indoor system and it works great; however, if you have to spend money to set up a system why not go the free route.
5. Doesn’t Require Hardening Off – The rigid, mild, and warm temperatures prepare seedlings for movement to the garden. When you sow seeds indoors you will have to get your plants adjusted to being outside. This requires you to harden off your plants. Gradually expose your plants to shade, sun and nights before transplanting them in the garden will be necessary.
Once I complete my outdoor sowing, I will be posting a list of seeds you can outdoor sow successfully too. Start gathering your jugs and containers, you will have plenty of time to start your winter sowing too. You may also like My Winter Sow Seed List.