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Winter Sowing: Starting Your Spring Garden in Containers

by Karen Lawson, All About Lawns Columnist

Selecting seeds that are native to your area or that have previously done well in your garden can increase your gardening success. Look for terms on seed packets including "naturalizes," "colonizes," and "self-sowing." Here's what to do next:

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Winter Sowing Success

As with gardening and lawn care, your winter sowing project traditionally depends on providing seeds with nutrients, water, drainage and air circulation.

  • Drainage: Before filling your containers with soil, cut small slits in the bottom of each container.
  • Soil: Fill each of your containers to one to one-half inch from the top with potting soil.
  • Water: Gently saturate the potting soil, and allow the containers to drain.
  • Sowing: Carefully sow seeds in each container and gently pat down the soil over your seeds. Label the containers to identify your seeds.
  • Ventilation: Before covering your containers with transparent plastic, cut some slits in each cover. If you don't have lids for your containers, use clear plastic sheeting. This creates an environment similar to a greenhouse for your seeds.

Growing Your Garden: Hurry up and Wait

Place your planted seed containers outdoors in a place where they should be safe from wildlife, pets, and kids. Try not to worry about weather; the winter cycle of freezing and thawing can help loosen the seed hulls and promote germination. When the ground begins to thaw and temperatures increase, your seeds should start sprouting as they would if planted directly in the ground. All you have to do is hurry up and wait for spring to arrive.


About the Author
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with an avid interest in gardening and horticulture. She earned BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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