Wintersowing 2016: Round 1

This is my third year wintersowing. I stick mostly to flowers but you can start some vegetables this way. Wintersowing keeps me busy in February so I don't succumb to temptation and start my tomato plants early. Our weather in Boston may be warm today, but there's still plenty of winter weather left this year.

For more information about the method and the million different variations, check out www.wintersown.org

Last year I went a little crazy and sowed more containers than I could really keep up with. I was trying to use up my binge seed purchases, made when I broke my elbow. Then I got busy, let things dry out, mixed up my labels, and was rushed with the transplanting. So this year I am trying to keep things simple.

I pulled 6 plastic jugs from the collection, all the same size. Prepping jugs for wintersowing can be done all sorts of ways. This year I am testing out a minimal effort method. I used one knife, soil, mailing labels, and a little clear packing tape.

I cut X shaped drainage holes in the bottoms with my knife. I used the same knife to cut around the middle of the jugs.

Lots of people like to leave one side uncut to create a hinge, but the flopping around annoys me so I cut the tops off entirely.

New this year, I'm trying a nice potting soil on the bottom 2/3, and a layer of sterile seed starting mix on the top. In the past I felt that the jugs of all sterile mix ran out of fuel before things were big enough to transplant. We'll see how this works.

Then I soaked the soil and covered the labels with clear packing tape. Label the bottom half of the jugs so when the tops come off in warm weather, you still know what's what.

Today I planted Knautia Macedonica, Shasta Daisy, Larkspur 'Blue Spire', Lychnis Coronaria (Rose Campion), Yarrow 'Summer Pastels', and Poppy 'Beauty of Livermere'. The tiny seeds were sprinkled on top, the larger ones got a very thin sprinkle of mix on top. (I love Sample Seed Shop!)

Most wintersowers tape the lids on the jugs but I hate having all those dirty bits of tape everywhere in the spring. This year I am testing out a 'tab closure'. Using the knife I cut slits on either side of one corner of the jug. The tab goes inside the bottom portion of the jug, the rest of the lid goes outside. I'm skipping the tape.

I moved the jugs out to the patio. The 'tab closure' keeps lid from blowing away, but you can't pick up the jugs by the handle. There is also a little extra air ventilation than when using tape, we'll see if this is a problem.