One of my goals this year is to start as many plants from seed as I can. I’ve been reading a lot about winter sowing and knew I wanted to give it a try this year (even though it seems we haven’t had a “real” winter!)
I can see now that I should have started collecting plastic containers months ago. Fortunately, a friend took me through all four floors of her apartment building…there’s a recycling room on each floor, and I had a good selection to choose from – mostly milk jugs, soda and juice bottles, and lettuce containers. I’ll still need more, but it’s a start:
Using pliers to hold a nail over the flame of our gas stove, I heated the nail enough to easily make drainage holes in the bottom of the containers and ventilation holes near the top. It worked well, but I don’t like the idea of breathing plastic fumes (!!) so next time around I’ll try just hammering nails through and see if that works. What methods do you use to puncture the thicker plastic containers like 2-liter bottles and milk jugs?
I cut containers nearly in half with a utility knife:
A few take-out type containers which I’ll put in the cold frame I made from an old window last Spring:
So far the bricks have kept the cats from knocking over any containers.
At first I tried to research which of my seeds require cold stratification, but I ended up just throwing caution (or seed?) to the wind and planting everything I wanted to try, just as an experiment. For each variety, I made sure not to plant all the seed so that I can also try them indoors in case some of the winter-sown seeds don’t grow. Here’s what I winter sowed, nearly a month ago now, the last week of January:
- Fairy Tale Eggplant
- Italian Frying Peppers
- Jalapeno Peppers
- Brandywine Tomatoes
- Rutgers Tomatoes
- Cosmonaut Tomatoes
- Paul Robeson Tomatoes
- Jaune Flamme Tomatoes
- Sun Gold Tomatoes
- Autumn Clematis
- Mirabilis (4:00s)
- White Coneflower
- Campanula (pink)
That’s arugula in the upper left, which I planted last fall…it’s coming up nicely now.
So far the only things to show any signs of life are the Mustard and the Calliopsis, both of which look green and happy so far. I’m hoping in another month I’ll see more action out there. I had to give some extra water to a few of the containers that seemed to have really dried out under the porch awning…it’s a really sunny spot, but they’re not getting any rainwater there. I’m hoping they survived!