Saturday, January 29, 2011

Winter Sown

Last night, with a glass of wine and a soundtrack that included this bit of dreamy awesomeness,

I winter sowed some seeds.

I started with just a few flats last year. Only the chamomile did really well. This year I'm trying again, sticking mostly to self-sowing natives and other hardy perennials that are well adapted to the climate, naturally drop their seeds in the fall, endure the long winter and germinate the following spring.

I suspect many gardeners would classify most of these plants firmly in the weed category and wonder why in the world I would go through the trouble of purposefully cultivating them. Well, as much as I love vegetable gardening, herbalism is fast becoming my first love, and these are all medicinal herbs. I am particularly hoping that the boneset and Queen Anne's Lace seeds I saved will be successful.

The blue boxes around the neighbourhood are an excellent source of mini greenhouses. Sadly, it's all too easy to fully equip myself with these takeout tubs. The roast chicken containers work great though. If I take care of them, I can keep them out of the waste stream for another couple of years and save myself the impact and money from buying seed starting trays.

The trays get thoroughly cleaned with hot, soapy water. I use hydrogen peroxide for good measure to prevent the spread of plant disease, mold and fungus.

Seeded, labeled, lidded and ready to go outside.

The next morning, already under a layer of snow.

Good luck little, baby seeds! I hope to see lots of you in the spring.


Urban Girl said...

Love this! What a great idea!

Good luck little seeds!

Wendy said...

I tried this, Amber, and was pleasantly surprised! Had great luck with squash seeds!

Amber said...

Thanks Urban Girl. I'm so excited to see how they turn out!

Wendy, it worked with squash seeds? That's great! I still have a few more seeds that I'd like to winter sow. Maybe I'll try some squash and other veg.

df said...

Very nice post, and I'm so with you on reusing those roasted chicken containers! The idea you're exploring with winter sowing is fully fleshed out in the Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman. In this region it's fully possible for us to grow vegetables year round through the use of simple cold greenhouses - basically a double layer of protection for cold hardy plants (root veggies, Asian greens, some lettuces). I'll be blogging about our winter gardening efforts this year and have linked this comment back to my first posting on this topic. Thanks for sharing your efforts - very inspiring!

Amber said...

Oh cool. My awesome dude guy has the Eliot Coleman book. I'll have to steal it from him and check out his technique.

The site I linked to in the post has been a great resource for me.

Any info on extending the season is great to know!