We are in zone 3b and I wonder if you have any advice about the time to plant here. Hi Kevin, like many others here, I found you through Pinterest. I want to drink all my milk and soda!! can be winter-sown anytime between now and February. I’ve been using this method for a few years now ans have had better luck with it than any other method I’ve tried. I’m thinking of haybale gardening this year. Our winters here can often get to 20 below farenheit or more and sometimes stay there for weeks. It now has 25 leaves. Fax: No. I’m cleaning out my mudroom and discovered some old clear plastic containers with lids. Perennials can be started any time in winter. […], […] the start of a warmer/dryer spell so I decided to plant some tomato and pepper transplants from my greenhouses. I have heard that they are challenging to germinate. As a rule of thumb (and it is a rule I often break! I've used the method for a number of veggies including romaine, spinach, brussels sprouts, peas, broccoli, and yes, even tomatoes. Oh! Even though I used a permanent sharpie pen to write on the jugs it was faded and unreadable by spring. I know I am rather late, but I would love to get ideas for this winter. - Indiana Pastor's Wife. What a timely re-mention in your email! Honestly, it’s the easiest, most cost-effective way to achieve a beautiful garden. Park) – up in the mountains. Pour the soil, preferably to a depth of 2 to 3 inches, into the container. The recycled containers act as mini greenhouses for you. Thanks again for this great method! Winter Sowing is using plastic milk jugs or other plastic containers, and using them as mini-greenhouses outside in the middle of winter, to sow your seeds. Too cold for my liking. a ragamuffin princess – Welcome. Then, you need to be careful to check on conditions are not too dry or too moist. Get my email updates, and subscribe to my YouTube channel. From what I’ve read, the herb can be tricky to start from seed — even under the best of circumstances. Find the directions for the milk jug greenhouse here. I know I’d have to leave some headspace when sowing but overall what do you think about using these ? You never have to pause and reheat, as with a screwdriver. I am saving my cartons as we speak to go again this coming winter. You live in the Hudson Valley, and I don’t know what zone that is, but your cold must be somewhat ameliorated by the river and valley?. Outdoors — where the seeds will germinate — is anything but sterile! Cathy Reynolds – Welcome. My assorted greenhouses go on a wire-mesh patio table, out of the reach of Lily the Beagle, who would otherwise knock them over. Is there NOTHING you can’t DO?? Or should I wait a couple of weeks at this point and sow directly in the ground (I have a cold frame). ), filled them with soil and planted. They should be stamped for the current year. Punch out also a few holes along the top portion of the jug. Use the knife to cut around the middle of the jug. If that doesn’t help, it will be time for a tougher ground cover. Anyway, we are zone 3a. Or are they better started indoors? Appreciate it. This is the time to check for water. I checked out the photo of your new beds on Instagram — lovely! My question is that realistic option to the milk jug, etc, method? I’m in Topeka Kansas. Would this method work, just put the containers on my shelves? Thank you for your post! Natures thawing and freezing cycles help crack open the seeds, and as the temperature warms, the seeds will sprout and grow. It’s as simple as that! Just revamped my flowerbeds this past Fall and I want to see how they will look come Spring/summer. WinterSown Educational Can I start it using this method? So, thoughts of Spring are a great distraction. Those flowers wilted today, BUT, with the snow on the ground there are green bulb shoots peeking out of the ground. It’s Sunny today and we don’t have much snow . The few exceptions are those that live in regions without a true winter. You can slice through roots as if you were slicing brownies…you can rip the plants apart….they will simply yawn. Make a habit of collecting one-gallon plastic milk jugs all year long so that you have plenty when it comes time to winter-sow in January. Can I start a Clementine Orange tree using this method? This year I overwhelmed myself buying a tons of veggies seeds but too late in the season, I didn’t want to spend so much money in plants since I had to amend the sandy rocky soil. I live in Florida zone 8/9 tell us when and how PLEASE. I just planted some seeds from my England trip last year as well as tomatoes. I did not group them in a plastic container- do you think this makes enoug of a difference ? Be sure to read my article What to Winter-Sow …& When. Hi Kevin! I love these milk jug greenhouses. And, if I were a teacher, I'd be delighted to receive, in spring, a little “greenhouse” of seedlings. Winter sowing sounds like a plan that I can manage. I was able to share a lot of baby plants with friends and it was so fun to see them blossoming at their homes. I’m looking forward to not spending a small fortune at the greenhouse this year and knowing that my plants are not sprayed with anything that might be harmful to the bees and other pollinators. Thank you, Kevin, for this great advance in gardening! Crystal – Good news for you. Mother Nature does a pretty good job at keeping your winter sown containers at the right moisture level during the dormant period. Gently pat the surface to firm and give the seeds good contact with the moist soil. When you use the winter sowing method you can small greenhouse and natural weather elements to germinate your seeds. I live in Michigan and last night after snowing all day the temp got down to 10 degrees. Collards and broccoli, a month later. It took almost no effort and was highly rewarding. Select the Right Soil. But there are worse habits, right? Any articles or feedback on that Kevin? All seeds came from my own yard with the exception of my sister-in-law’s Baptisia. Follow up to my e-mail on Sept 15th 2:31 pm. I would love to start winter sowing asap. Hi Collee — See my post “How to Transplant Winter-Sown Seedlings” linked above. Also The GardenWeb has some interesting discussion on winter sowing […], […] are some links that describe winter sowing in detail. If you plant the ‘Munstead’ variety in a protected site (against a south-facing wall, for instance), and mulch it after the ground freezes, the plant may very well return for you when the weather warms in spring. which vegetables are not ideal for this? I’m good to go. Can’t wait to do it again. This, I believe, is a generally-accepted fact , Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea, I can not wait to try this. I did have a question for you. Wonderful stuff, just excellent! Reallllly hate to be a pest, but am planting winter jugs today and am unable to access your ‘winter sowing veggies and annuals’ (sic) link. Soak the soil, too. If you are not familiar with Winter Sowing, it is the process of using milk jugs, as little greenhouses. Remove the cap from the jug or bottle. Snap dragons are hardy annuals, and very slow to germinate. Previous owners made the yard a perennial garden and I am trying to keep it, but I am still learning. I grow micro greens indoors under lights during winter & have to stop when I start my garden seeds because of lack of room. Dear Kevin, your Winter-Sowing 101 Tutorial is so charming that I cannot resist trying it for the first time on a pack of dwarf sweet peas seeds. Sow your seeds on the soil surface. I can't wait to gather some milk containers and begin. Here I go… better late than never. tried a similar method several years ago and learned what you point out. I normally start my snaps indoors around mid-Feb, so I’m thinking this might work well for those too – but going to test on these other seeds which I’ve had difficulty germinating in the past. Tomatoes now? The storage container held about 40 peat pots. I have pansies, cosmos, geranium pinto salmon and hollyhocks to sew. Use a larger strip of tape completely around to close up the container. I’m super excited to try this milk jug method, especially because it seems like nature just decides for itself when to sprout and grow. I am the woman who had the spindly plants lining every single kitchen counter, and who spent hours a day transporting those seedlings in and out of the house when trying to get them ready to go into the garden! I may have missed the answer to this question, and for that I apologize, but can you get the same results with a clear plastic gallon jug? Time to plant those seeds: I’m going to share this fabulous idea with all my gardening pals as well as with the local nature center and native plant society. I cant wait for spring….. Erin – winter-sow some delphinium seeds today, and trust me…it WILL feel like spring! Hi Brian – I often use previous years’ containers. This is GREAT!! Plenty of empty milk jugs at my house( two teenage boys! I then inserted a bamboo stick down the jug pour spout hole and into the soil as far as I could push it. My family and friends had great gardens from the seeds I planted. This year I noticed that my purchased, greenhouse grown tomatoes all got sunscald, while the volunteers in the compost heap were beautiful, healthy, and held up a good month longer into the Fall. The quickest way I found to punch the holes is a soldering iron. I have done just as you did EXCEPT the milk jugs were sitting directly on my stone table. and Growing Veggies in […], […] a great introduction at the blog A Garden for the House called Winter Sowing 101, and a terrific follow up post about which plants are best for winter sowing, and when to plant […], […] read recently about using milk jugs as a greenhouse and as my seedlings were looking quite spindly, I decided to give that a try. This is not included in your instructions. Supplies Needed for Winter Sowing: Several clean, plastic, gallon-sized milk jugs or water jugs, plastic deli containers or anything else you can come up with. I only have one seed and would like to get it started, I plan to start it in a 5 gallon bucket. I sowed everything the beginning of March and had more plants than I knew what to do with! I have 46 varieties started in milk and iced tea jugs…..running out of room but not seeds ! Than you! Watch me make and plant a miniature greenhouse. This method is great for those that donât have any extra space indoors to â¦ Thanks for your blog. There are several varieties, but the most heavily- (and heavenly!-) perfumed is ‘Fragrant Cloud,’ with white flowers. Jim & Kaydene – For peppers, I’d plant 9 seeds per gallon-size water- or milk-jug. Ourania. Kevin, how far north will winter sowing work. Water from the bottom, as described in this post. Are you using Internet Explorer or Firefox? For those of you who havenât heard of it, Wintersowing is a method of starting seeds for your garden. Here is the link to the annuals/vegetables article. But by the 3rd week they all have a little something growning. Bring the winter sowing container outside. I remember reading this before and saving my water, milk and juice jugs during the year. In the future, I am going to cut the jugs as I go. Remove the cap; you will not need it again. The tops and bottoms should stack, saving space, and serve as a reminder that they were cut and saved for a purpose! This year, I started peppers in my greenhouses and was very pleased with the results. This works well. Early Spring Back to Eden Garden Update | Gardening Without... https://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/11/winter-sowing-101-6/. One problem I have. A few days later we got snow, and some more snow and heavy frost. She was fascinated and wants to try it, had me write down your blog address and name. JoAnn – Thanks for the soldering iron tip. I am trying your winter sowing ideas today in three milk jugs. Kevin… thank you for your posts they are a great help for someone like me who has just discovered gardening. we are zone 6 and are in the single digits at the moment. For you, this would mean the first week in April. My sprouts were looking shriveled and I got worried so last night I tented them with an old sleeping bag and light bulb. Thank you! | My Life is really in the Garden, A little bit about a lot of things | Yarnstead, Winter Sowing – A Better Way To Start Seeds, A Sunny Imbolc ~ Winter Sowing | Down on the Homestead, In our students’ own words : mini-greenhouses from milk jugs | Van Hise Elementary | Outdoor Classroom, Repurpose Milk Jugs & 2 Liter Bottles for Winter Seed Sowing | Intelligent Domestications, Starting seeds indoors - Northern Homestead, Winter + Spring Gardening! Tried this for the first time last year and got GREAT results. thanks! I planted 60 containers last year…including starting some of my onion sets …assuming they would get a quicker start…the onion sets i put directly in the ground did much better, and the ones in the cartons mostly rotted . badger gardener – Well, food tastes better when it is served on Haviland china. He also lives in Zone 5, which is the same zone I am in, but he is in New York state instead of […], […] See the tutorial at: ourlittleacre.blogspot.com and agardenforthehouse.com […], Your email address will not be published. Use a knife or scissors to cut the milk jug nearly in half. Sweet peas, Delphinium, Hollyhocks and Fox Gloves so far (I’m still collecting milk jugs for the next month or so). Dana – What a great suggestion. The uncut half-inch or so will serve as a hinge. And right now in cold zone 3 you can winter-sow your hardy annuals (including peas, kale, and spinach). In eastern Wa.state. By keeping the cover off your container or cutting ventilation holes, rain and snow will enter the top and excess water will drain through the drainage holes. I CAN SIT AT MY COMPUTER, GLANCE AS MY BLOOMS, AND SEE SNOW COVERED GROUND OUTSIDE MY WINDOW. We live in zone 4a. BBI – Thanks! Winter hardy vegetables like brassicas can be sown in late February and March. I just tried this using rectangular plastic OJ containers, laid them on their sides & cut a flap on the top for access. Hi Kevin, Enjoy Winter Sowing your way with your containers and how you want to make them. Any suggestions for a source of used and/or inexpensive plastic boxes? Fill the container to about an inch from the top with your favorite potting soil or sowing medium. I planted several seeds using this method just yesterday and sure hope this works and it is I only had 6 jugs but if successful will definitely be prepared next winter. Move the whole thing into the garden since the paper should rot as the plant roots grow down. this sounds great . Winter sowing is a method of germinating seeds outdoors in recycled containers during the cold winter months. You plant them, and set them outside in January. Have fun, and stay safe! We travel quite a bit during the Spring and I don’t think the clear jugs forgave my neglect on warm days the way the milky ones do. or visa versa? The high tomorrow is only expected to reach -16 with a windchill of -40. instructions, such as: plant positioning; how much sun; and seasonal planting times. The most important seeds to sow right now are those which require cold stratification. It very quickly did all my holes so I was ready to plant. You can plant the more tender type plant seeds in early spring (when signs of warming weather appear), like peppers, zinnias, etc. Beverly – You came up with some terrific hole-punching and container-securing tips. And if so, what’s the best way to do so? AgNIC Partner. Ann – Go ahead and plant your lettuce and hardy cole crops. And I loved seeing the success everyone else had with them. Toss away the cap for ventilation because its open spout is all you need for â¦ (The internet is a powerful tool for […], […] Groups of NKE 3rd and 4th grade students got to participate in the “winter sowing” seed starting project at NKE on March 6! I see that all the containers in the photos are “white” – can blue containers be used? You can winter-sow your way to a beautiful garden, tooâ¦ for pennies. I try, but, am not very successful. I’ve had success using this method. Unfortunately, I lost my mind and forgot why I was saving a mountain of jugs and took them to the recycling center. Here is a complete tutorial on how you go about doing this, but I’m going to give you a brief […], […] you want to start garden seeds early and don’t have a greenhouse, this is an excellent way to do it. I've successfully sown thyme (including the creeping-type), basil and flat-leaved parsley using this method. I created holes in the base with an extra long nail and a hammer, sitting the plastic milk carton on the ground with its top open. (Here’s a full explanation of the process: https://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/11/winter-sowing-101-6/) […], […] Sowing. Nothing grew last year except for the green beans. Hopefully it will work. Do you water? What a way to teach my son all about gardening. A couple years ago, I ran across the idea of winter sowing seeds in “mini greenhouses.” I’ve tried planting seeds indoors, and it will be an experience I will never ever repeat. He loves it. We have a south facing strip that’s been a challenge for starting and keeping grass (either from seed or sod) and so I plan on winter sowing in February. Thank you so much for ALL the wonderful information you send to us!!! Large pretzel containers with removable tops work too. My life is now dedicated to being my DH’s caregiver.. I was inspired by this website to try winter sowing last year using empty milk jugs and I hope to do some more this year. Wait until March to plant tender annuals. After I checked to make sure the jug settled in good then I planted my seeds then placed the jug back over the indention, I back filled the soil around the jug and watered lightly, if the water found a way out I back-filled these areas. What are your proportions of peat to perlite? I REMEMBER YOUR OTHER IDEA AND WOULD SUGGEST TO EVERYONE, KEEP SCENTED CUT FLOWERS ON YOUR BEDROOM NIGHT TABLE FOR THE AROMA AND BEAUTY IT CREATES. More details here: What to Winter-Sow…& When. I wanted to read the whole thing, but not enough time right now. And I hope your talk is a big success. We buy 5gal water at BJ’s, and it’s a big, rectangular plastic jug, and also some distilled water jugs, which are very inexpensive, at the grocery store, so those are an affordable way to get the containers. It’s usually very cold here in winter. Have a look: https://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/04/transplanting-winter-sown-perennials-updated-bumped/. I’ve already started cleaning out and saving milk containers. […] hobby which is gardening. Here’s a picture of what I did to start a vegetables garden https://instagram.com/p/3r6_MthQAN/?taken-by=nellyoliveri. Have fun with your project! 70 degrees.). My house is an old house in the city – small lot. Looks like I have some time to snag extra milk jugs from family and friends before I start my vegetables! I tried it last year. Any suggestions? I divided a couple of the last jugs I planted as I was out of containers. Hi Lori – Here is a list of perennials (by no means complete) which are hardy in zone 3a. They are fantastic even write on discs. Hi Macy – At the end of this post, click the link that reads “How to Transplant Winter-Sown Seedlings.” You’ll be pleasantly surprised! Hi Michelle – Congrats on your winter-sowing success! Please help me Kevin and tell me which vegs you’d plant now. I could have sworn I’ve been to your blog before but after browsing through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me. I have to say we will be doing this again. Janet – Glad you're going to try winter-sowing this season. Eric – wait until late March or early April to start your tomatoes. The seeds remain dormant until the warm weather arrives in March or April and then they begin to sprout. Love this article! (Be sure to read the articles linked at the bottom of this post — especially “What to Winter-Sow…& When.”). Hi-ho, hi-ho, off to Spring we go :)! but they’re starting to get dried out. It really works! Enjoy the Ham Steaks Dijon. love the idea. Can’t wait to set up this project. There were some bare areas on my rows and I just lightly seeded in non-invasive annual herbs and strawberries starts from the old strawberry mama’s. Thank you again! I thought it might be hard to get the seedlings out of the containers. The containers act as mini greenhouses. Hi. Mine does, too. I harvested Primrose seeds from plants which were a catalog purchase about 5 years ago. Looked real classy. We are in Illinois (zone 5b, I think) All of the containers have sprouted. well-being of the future. Usually I try to put out the tomato seed containers on the first day of March. Kevin, in preparing my milk jugs for winter sowing, I discovered that the reaming tool on my Swiss Army knife is perfect for making the drainage and ventilation holes. Maybe this year I will get more….. Wow! I’ve taken over my kitchen with my mini greenhouse assembly line. Another was to begin winter-sowing seeds back in January according to these instructions. Germination for tomato seeds occurs when the soil temperature reaches approx. BY Kevin Lee Jacobs | November 14, 2012 342 Comments. I’ll let you know how they turn out. Winter weather provides a â¦ Garden Failures, and a Winter Sowing Update – Oh, Apple Tree! Winter-Sowing in milk-jug greenhouses works for any seed which will typically reseed itself outdoors. Thanks so much for this awesome idea! The kiddo and I have already made two ‘greenhouses’ and put them outside, but I am wondering if you happen to know the dimensions of the plastic containers you use to keep them from blowing over! You are absolutely right–the plant in the window is differnt from the plant in the room. You can even sow tomatoes now. Kevin, thanks for your tips and responses, they’ve been very helpful. I spent a lot of time trying to find what zone we live in. WOW! Love all of the plants you are winter-sowing; hope you’ll report back on your success! But then I get caught up in other garden chores. I planted tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other warm-season fare last week (circa Apr 29) and I’m in zone 5 (Colorado – last frost date = May 24). Hi Amy – If you click the “What to Winter-Sow…& When” link at the end of the article, you’ll find some of the veggies I’ve successfully winter-sown. You have to tell them you don’t want them crushed as apparently that is the local way of trashing them, they crush them so they don’t take up as much space. I’ll figure it out. I bet I probably have 20 milk jugs in the garage. My question is when should I plant tomatoes in zone 7/8 (California), you told someone above to sow much later but was that because of the zone difference? Thanks Kevin! Now it is 35′ out there. I live in zone 7b Lexington SC and don’t get snow can i still do this? Joelle – Yes – you’ll have to water your seeds if a spring drought occurs. I experimented with jugs using other markers throughout the summer and still do not have a satisfactory method I can trust not to fade. Thanks so much for your help. I did my garden this way last year and I Still have Kale growing. Thank you so much for this valuable information- I am so excited about trying this out! It is best to have at least one milk jug for each kind of seed you want to sow. We placed the containers on the south side of our house. How big do they need to be before they are ready to be planted? Just wanted to confirm that I called Starbucks locally and asked them if they would save me empty milk cartons for a day. 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