A few days ago, I finally did my first batch of the season's winter sowing. I usually sow one container on Dec. 21st, so I'm a little behind, but still in plenty of time. A lot of what I sowed were natives and other plants that need periods of cold and moisture to germinate. Indoor seed starters emulate the cold cycles by putting their seeds into and out of the refrigerator, and they cut a little notch into hard seed coats to help the little cotyledon break through. Winter sowers don't need to worry about either, because the outdoor containers get plenty cold and the moisture softens the seed coats without scarification. Yay!
In the past I sowed at least eight or more of each seed variety because so many seeds come in those packets. But it dawned on me, hey! I'm not a nursery and I only need so many of each plant. So I'm starting much smaller numbers each of more varieties overall. If you're curious, the list of what I sowed so far is here.
It has been bitterly cold here. The winter-sown containers above are just waiting for the weather to warm up. As they have ice on the lids, I know the moisture inside is good. (Snow or water droplets also indicate adequate moisture.)
D. Landreth Seed Company catalog came in the mail on Friday. Uh oh. Oh my. So many lovely and droolworthy heirloom varieties. I'd come across Landreth's about five years ago, when ordering seeds for the 1860s fountain garden I created at Cobblestone Farm, but didn't end up ordering from them. I'm not sure why. Here is what I, showing the utmost restraint, now ordered for my own garden:
- Corn, Golden Bantam
- Miniature Chocolate Bell
- Jalapeno Early
- Eggplant, Black Beauty
- Balsam, Bush Mix
- Potatoes, Bintje
- Black Krim
- Dr. Carolyn
- German Johnson
- German Red Strawberry
I'm excited to winter sow corn. I know the seeds need warmth to germinate, but that's no problem in winter sowing where seeds wait dormant in the containers until the soil temperature is ideal for their particular needs, but I hope the seeds themselves can survive cold temperatures. I'll be growing the eggplant and bell peppers in containers, where groundhogs can't see the seedlings. I'm hoping some zucchini seeds find their way back to me in the seed swaps (waves to participants), as they did last year. Those did wonderfully in a container as well.
Great Backyard Bird Count on February 12-15. You can do the count on any or all days. It's a lot of fun!