Starting plants from seeds is exciting. It’s amazing that one tiny seed has all the information necessary to grow into a flourishing plant. Truly one of God’s many miracles, and gifts to us. Without the space for grow lights, however, it’s difficult to start seeds inside. Living on the East Coast I cannot start seeds year around without the space, or so I thought.
Last year I was doing research on starting seeds and I came upon a website that introduced me to a concept called “winter sowing.” Basically, you create mini-greenhouses out of recyclable materials, such as plastic fruit containers or milk jugs, plant your seeds, and leave them outside all winter — snow and all! For instance, you take container, plant the seed, put the top on and make sure to create breathing holes. You don’t want to cook your plants. Here is a very informative article on winter sowing you should read before attempting this endeavor. http://www.wintersown.org/wseo1/How_to_Winter_Sow.html On this website you can also request some free seeds to get you started. Not all seeds are suitable for winter sowing. Check out Garden Web’s winter sowing forum http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/wtrsow/nph-ind.cgi?type=exch where you can ask questions about winter sowing, and trade seeds. Some generous gardener with an abundance of seeds might even send you some seeds if you do not have any for trade.
Many of the seeds I planted by winter sowing germinated beautifully, but some tender plants such as lettuce did not transplant well. To avoid this problem in the future, I bought a seed starting greenhouse http://www.walmart.com/ip/Jiffy-Products-5029-Greenhouse-Seed-Starter-Strip/21781748 which is just a plastic flat container with biodegradable seed cups, and a plastic cover. When I’m ready to transplant, I do not have to disturb the roots, but rather I’ll just plant in the seed cup. Another option is to take coffee filters and line your recyclable container, lift the plant out with the coffee filter and plant. You can also use paper-based egg cartons to plant your seeds.
Here is what Anna and I planted so far – – 40 seedlings. We planted more than we can use because we know they all will not make it. If by some chance they do, we will give the extras to friends!