Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Winter Sowing 2014

I do believe this will be my 11th year winter sowing! I can't believe I have been doing this for so long, but I guess time goes by quickly.
I started winter sowing my seeds in February. We had a few days in the 60's, so I took advantage of the "spring" air.

I use both empty milk jugs and plastic pots for my seeds, but I will just show my milk jugs today.
First, I gathered all my seeds. Last year I mixed my seeds up, so this year I am being overly cautious by sowing one type of seed at a time. I planted a variety of veggies (cucumber, tomatoes, green beans, peas) and some annuals and perennials.
For milk jugs, you need the transparent jugs. They are semi transparent and if you hold a finger to the side, you should be able to see your finger. You want to let in light, so stay away from the solid white jugs.
I bought my soldering gun from Big Lots years ago for just a dollar or so. You can find them in most hardware stores. You can tell  by my picture that they take a beating.
I use my soldering gun outdoors because of the fumes the plastic emits. It really stinks, which is another reason I waited until a semi warm day to do this.
You don't have to use a soldering gun to make the holes, but it makes the job much easier.

 I put several holes on the bottom and a few on the side. Make sure you make a hole next to the handle. This is where you are going to place your scissors to cut the milk jug in half.
After cutting the holes, use duct tape to mark your jug with your type of seeds. Duct tape will not come off when wet. I use perm marker to write so the ink doesn't wash off. The reason why you mark the bottom of the jug is because the pots will sit outside for several months and in a short time span, the sun will fade the marker and you will be left with mystery seeds!

Using the hole by the handle, cut the milk jug in half, leaving the handle still attached. The handle acts as a hinge for the jug.
Fill the jug with potting soil and wet the jug until the soil is heavily saturated and water is streaming out the bottom.
Sprinkle your seeds on top. You can add a little dirt on top on the seeds if you wish. I found either way works.

Using a VERY long piece of duct tape, tape the jug closed. I use several pieces of tape for this.
LEAVE the cap off. You will not need the milk jug lid, so you can throw this away. Place your milk just in a sunny spot on your patio or deck. Do NOT place on a table, as wind will blow your jug down.

That's it! You are finished!

Now, you wait until warm weather visits your area! When it gets a little warm outside, check your jugs for moisture. You don't want your seeds to dry out. When the jug becomes lightweight,  use a watering jug to gently spray the soil with water.

Below are some pictures using 4 inch pots. I use "under the bed" sweater bags to hold the pots. You can buy these at the dollar store. Cut holes in the top, and bottom, for drainage.

I use tape on the bottom of each pot too. The spoon are used to keep the plastic off the surface of the dirt. You can also use straws, or sticks. I use the spoons as plant markers when planting the plants. I write the name of the plant on the spoon part and bury into the ground. This keeps the ink from fading.

Here is a lettuce container I used for seeds. The condensation on the top is what you want to see. You will see condensation on your milk jugs too.

Some Black Eyed Susan from last year.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Columbine that too 3 years to bloom!

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