Quick Guide to Winter Sowing
What is Winter Sowing?
You can use just about any kind of recyclable container that will hold your growing medium. Some of my favorites are 2 litre bottles, milk jugs, and the 16 and 20 ounce water bottles.
The reason for winter sowing is to provide the seed with protection from critters and insects and birds that would like to have them for a snack. It also provides protection from heavy rains that would wash the seed away.
Why Choose Winter Sowing Over Other Methods?
This method has been made popular by Trudi Davidoff, the creator of Wintersown.org The benefits of winter sowing versus an inside light system include less space requirements, and with winter sowing, you don't need to nick a seed or presoak a seed.
There is no need to go through a stratification process, because out in the winter elements, it gets this. There is no damping off (a fungal disease,) and there is no need to harden off (acclimate the seedling to the outside conditions.) Mother Nature takes care of all this.
Inside seedlings tend to be leggy, but the wintersown seedlings develop a much better root system. We are basically emulating Mother Nature.
Will Wintersowing Work for Me?
It doesn't matter if your winters are short, most seeds only require a short time of short daylight hours and cooler temps. If a plant reseeds itself then you can wintersow it, including lots of vegetables. I do all my tomato and pepper plants this way.
You will find that with wintersowing, many seeds that you thought were hard to start, become amazingly easy.
This is such a laid back approach to starting seed. You basically add drainage to a container, add soil and seeds, place it outside, and leave it be. Mother Nature takes care of the rest. It is that simple, and so rewarding. I've started seed from Japanese Maples to rare shrubs to Heirloom tomato's, and also Heirloom Roses.
For more information, come take a Tutorial on Wintersowing.