Winter Seed Sowing

Winter seed sowing is a way to start plants from seed outdoors in winter. Yes, winter. Yes, in zones where there's lots of snow and in zones where there's little snow. This requires less care than indoor seed sowing, increases the amount of space available, and, best of all, creates  plants that are ready to go in the garden without the hardening off process required with nursery stock.

I learned about this technique from Trudi Davidoff. You sow seeds in mini "greenhouses" with top and bottom ventilation. These containers can be flats with dome lids, milk jugs, juice containers, yogurt containers modified to have clear plastic lids, etc. The containers can be placed outside (in zone 5) as early as late December. Whether it rains or snows, they remain dormant until spring.

Milk jugs and flats barely visible under snow

Milk jugs and flats happy in the spring sunshine

Come spring, plants sprout at their natural growing time, and with a little care (removing lids and watering), the seedlings quickly grow their true leaves and can be transplanted into the garden.

Beet seedlings  sprouted in spring