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Thread: Winter sowing

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Western Michigan near Muskegon

    Winter sowing

    Who is wintersowing seeds? I am. I have lots of cool seeds to start. I was in a seed round robin on my yahoo group and got some cool seeds.

    They've been in the fridge waiting for me to get their little greenhouses ready.
    Happy Growing,
    Vicki in West. Mich.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Blog Entries
    OK, we need to talk about winter sowing. I have seeds that require cold and moist conditions(lavender, milkweed and I can't recall but there are others). Are those ones that qualify for winter sowing ?
    "If I keep a green bough in my heart, a singing bird will come"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    northeast Tennessee
    Vicki and Cathy,
    I have winter sowed before but didn't go to the extremes that are on the forum on the Garden Web. I just plant in flats and set them outside and it has worked well with most seeds, especially tree seeds. I like to do it as it saves me time in the spring when there is so much to do. I would think it would work with any of the seeds that need cold treatment or self seed well by themselves. Besides it gives us something to do in the winter months.
    BTW Cathy. The little lavenders from the seeds you sent me are doing well. I was looking at them yesterday when i took the dog out. I planted some in my raised beds and will probably plant some more for myself as I love them so much.
    tennessee sue

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    SE Michigan (zone 5-6)
    Hi, I also have similar question, that is, about seed that need a cold period. Do they have to be in a growing condition?

    What I mean is, do they have to be in the soil, watered, and kept in cold condition? Or can I just put the seed in a container and keep it in a cold place for a certain period of time and then sow them normally?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Seeds that need stratification, warm or cold, should be kept moist. In areas of the country where it gets cold, and remains cold for a length of time, cold stratification can be done outside. Here in the deep south, that will not work. If they are small seeds, you can fold them inside a moist paper towel, and then put them in a freezer bag with moist peat or vermiculite. That way it's easy to find them when you take them out for planting.

    If they are fruit seeds, like from a dogwood, the fruit part needs to be cleaned off first because it usually contains a germination inhibitor.
    Tom W
    Aching Back Farm

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Zone 9a - Gulf Coast
    Tom is correct. Winter sowing in vented, closed containers outside during the southern winter months will not satisfy stratification requirements.

    There are some seeds, like cleome that require cool nights and warm days to germinate. I have germinated these in the greenhouse after they failed to germinate under lights in my home.

    Although, I have never tried winter sowing as described in GW, I am sure that some perennials would be fairly easy to start using this method during late February/March. Any sooner than that, there is a high probability that the seeds would germinate right away, followed by a hard freeze that would kill seedlings that were not old enough to survive freezing temperatures.

    Our average highs for the winter months (Dec. thru Feb.) are in the 60's with many days in the 70's.

    For those up further north, I think it is a grand idea!
    Ann B.
    Zone 9a
    Gulf Coast

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