I dream of owning the perfect greenhouse. I know exactly what I want it to look like, but the financial reality is that it will take several more years to save for it. We live in an area with a short growing season so I’m always looking for ways to extend the season. Winter Sowing is an inexpensive, fool-proof way to get a jump start on growing those vegetables.
I researched this method and was completely intrigued by the concept. Last year I started my seedlings in disposable plastic drinking cups lined up in strawberry flat boxes. On good days, I carried them outside to capture the sunshine and to allow the breezes to strengthen them. Day after day I carried all 8 flats outside and back in. It was quite labor intensive but the result was strong, healthy plants that adjusted without any problems once transplanted. A friend told me about this new method that he had discovered and I new I had to give it a try.
You do not have to wait for good weather to start your seeds. Plant them and forget about them. When the timing is right they will grow. I started my first batch of early vegetables in late January and they were ready to transplant in late March. When I started the tomatoes in March, they took quite a while to germinate. I almost gave up when I noticed they had started to grow. The peppers took longer to germinate than the tomatoes, which would be expected because they are a hot weather crop.
Winter sowing is the easiest method I have tried yet. I pretty much just ignored them with the except for giving them an occasional drink of water. Try it for yourself!
Some successful examples of winter sowing gardeners: Get Busy Gardening, Utah Valley Gardens, Garden Web, Winter Sown and A Garden for the House. Give it a try. Greenhouse plants are expensive and don’t provide the same exciting varieties of vegetables that you can get by starting your own. Winter sowing makes it easy to successfully start your own seedlings for only pennies with very little work.