It was months ago that I decided to attempt starting perennial seeds by using a winter sowing method that I had read about in my Northern Gardener magazine. I posted (here) about getting everything set up and flower seeds planted in these plastic milk jugs in the dead of winter.
Over the next few months, I set the milk jugs out in the snow and let nature take its course. As things started to warm up in the spring, I opened the jugs up during the day to allow the germination process to start, triggered by the moisture and warm rays of sunshine. The seeds eventually started to sprout and I had lots of little seedlings.
One of the mistakes I made when initially putting the seeds in the jugs was to only write the name of the seeds on the outside of the jug. Even though it was permanent marker, it washed away during the snow and rain of the following months. Although I had an idea what flower the seedlings were once they were ready to transplant, the leaf patterns of some were so similar that I was not entirely sure. Next year I will put little markers inside the jug with the flower name on it so that I am certain what type of flower seedlings I have when considering where to place them in the garden.
Another mistake that limited my success with winter sowing was that I often would forget to water the seedlings once they had sprouted. It is imperative to keep the soil moist when seedlings are getting started and I am sure that I lost some along the way due to my oversight.
Despite the few glitches I ran into along the way, I am generally very excited about the results of my first venture into winter sowing of perennials. I have many new perennial plants in my garden that cost me only a few dollars in seeds and potting soil.
Some of the new additions include these Oriental Poppies…
Shasta Daisy plants…
I learned a lot with my winter seed sowing experiment and I plan on expanding my attempt next year. After all, I have a whole new garden that I need to fill up in a cost-effective fashion.