If you’re living in the grips of winter, but still want to get a start on your planting, try this great garden idea: sow your seeds in winter. But what if you don’t have room in your home for a grow lamp? With these tips you can actually create miniature outdoor greenhouses so you can start growing your favorite germs, annuals and even certain vegetables now.
Choose a Container
Gather recycled containers such as cut milk jugs, clamshell boxes, unused plastic planters or foil trays. Each needs to be waterproof and able to hold about 3 inches of soil. But the most important thing is the container should hold soil and keep it moist and covered, without allowing water to escape or leak outside. If you have small window boxes or planters, for example, then just be sure they have their holes in the bottoms for drainage.
But if you are using plastic milk jugs, you’ll need to create the holes. First, cut the milk container in half, about six inches from the bottom. Then poke some holes in the bottom for drainage. You can use duck tape when finished to attach the tops to the bottoms to create your greenhouse.
Place and Plant
Once you have the containers, you’ll want to choose a good location outside your home. You want the plants to get good sunlight, and also be sheltered without heavy exposure to wind. But you also need to consider the humidity. Look for an area that is normal to your area. If the area is too hot it can over dry the plants. Conversely, if it is too moist then fungus or rot can interfere with your seedlings.
Fill your container with topsoil from you existing garden or prepared potting soil. Make sure it has a good mix of organic materials; loam and some sand to ensure good drainage. Then plant the seeds into the containers according to their individual instructions on the packets. Don’t forget to label them! You can use a black marker or tape the seed package to the container.
Water and Cover
Then just water your plants and cover them. Cover the containers with their tops, if you’re using cut milk jugs, for example. Or, if you don’t have a tight-fitting lid, you can use a layer of plastic wrap. This will seal in the moisture and decrease the need to water as often.
Uncover the seedlings once they are sprouted, and then water them as needed as they grow. Use a liquid fertilizer and observe their health. When they are strong enough to survive being transplanted, then you can put them into whatever containers or garden you are using them in.
For more information and details on how to sow plants from seedlings in winter, check out the site at Wintersown.org. It’s a great way to creatively get started on your gardening early regardless of the weather! Posted by Jean Widner of the Garden-Fountains.com Team.