Winter Sowing

Winter Sowing is an easy seed germination method that allows you to start many seedlings for little cost. During the Winter months seeds are sown into mini-greenhouses that you make yourself from recycled containers, such as milk jugs, soda and juice bottles, take out food containers, etc.  After sowing, the mini-greenhouse is placed outside to wait for the end of Winter. The seeds will begin to germinate at their own right time when weather warms. (Courtesy of WinterSown.Org)

Members: 49
Latest Activity: Feb 11, 2014

Perfect for gardeners who can't wait for Spring!

I discovered Winter Sowing only a couple of years ago, but I jumped in with both feet (and 85 recycled containers) my first year and was rewarded in the spring with some wonderful surprises (who would have thought you could start tomatoes sucessfully this way?) and more hardy seedlings than I had the time to nestle into the ground. 

I am looking forward to getting to know other Winter Sowers and sharing tips for success.  

If you haven't winter sowed before - try it this year!  I have posted step-by-step instructions which can be tweaked to suit your needs.


Discussion Forum

Who's Counting?? 23 Replies

OK everyone - what's your count of WS containers so far?  I am at 30, but hoping to do some more this weekend if I can gather a few more containers.  I'm forcing milk and soda on everyone and tonight I suggested we order Chinese for dinner just so I…Continue

Started by Michele Lawrenson, Z6A. Last reply by Tammie M McInnis Jan 17, 2014.

Step-by-Step Pictures 21 Replies

Step 1 - Gather recycled containers - milk jugs, soda and juice bottles, take out containers, etc.  Choose only items that are clear and let the sunlight in! Continue

Started by Michele Lawrenson, Z6A. Last reply by Michele Lawrenson, Z6A Jan 26, 2013.

Pictures of Winter Sowing 11 Replies


Started by Michele Lawrenson, Z6A. Last reply by Michele Lawrenson, Z6A Nov 15, 2012.

Seeds for Winter Sowing 1 Reply

Here's a list of seeds that should do well being winter sown:AgeratumAlyssumBachelor's ButtonsCalendulaCelosiaCoreopsisCosmosDelphiniumGaillardiaImpatiensMarigoldNicotianaNigellaPetuniasPoppyScabiosaSunflowerViolaZinniaAsterAstilbeBee BalmBlazing…Continue

Started by Michele Lawrenson, Z6A. Last reply by Jan Page Jan 31, 2012.

Sowing 1 Reply

So glad to find this group!  Looking forward to learning and meeting people who enjoy the same things as I do!  Looking forward to summer!  Hopefully I will have lots of things growing from seed!Continue

Started by RITA PORTER. Last reply by Michele Lawrenson, Z6A Jan 27, 2012.

Container Suggestions

Here's a list of suitable containers for Winter Sowing - feel free to add your own! 1 or 2 ltr soda/pop bottles (smaller sizes ok too)1/2 or 1 gallon plastic milk jugsClear plastic take out food containersFoil take out containers with clear plastic…Continue

Started by Michele Lawrenson, Z6A Jan 26, 2012.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Michele Lawrenson, Z6A on March 22, 2012 at 7:27pm

You're welcome Karen!  How's it going with your WS'ing this year?

Comment by Karen on March 22, 2012 at 7:18am

A belated thank you to Patrick and Michelle for their answers to my question about the N on the planting chart. Also to the orginal poster of the toliet paper tube idea!!! 

Comment by Jan Page on March 21, 2012 at 12:15pm

Maybe if the weather gets cold we could cover the jugs and uncover like we do if were going to have frosts?

Comment by Jan Page on March 21, 2012 at 12:14pm

Two days ago.... after buying some new Mini Dahlia tuber's I decided I better get them into pots, good thing I did although its been warm all night here I can move the pots into my Sunroom as temps will still be vacillating.....

Comment by Jan Page on March 21, 2012 at 11:50am

Yes, that is one of the Winter sowing results that make it a better way to propagate seeds!

Comment by Robin (N.IL zone 5) on March 20, 2012 at 5:14pm

They are looking wonderful Cindy.

Comment by Glenda Truscott z8 on March 19, 2012 at 9:54pm

You poeple in the 70's make me so jealous.  We are 10 degrees under normal here in the pacific northweat.  I WS tomatoe seeds today but am afraid to put them outside in our crazy weather.  Jan, I think you were the one that posted pics of the winter sowing you did in the clear storage containers.  I have run out of smaller jugs to plant in so I drilled holes in a storage container and filled it with six pack trays.  Thanks for the idea.

Comment by Michele Lawrenson, Z6A on March 18, 2012 at 10:16pm

Jan - Trudi posted recently on FB that if it's too mild at night, that is you are comfortable standing outside in just a sweater, than it's time to stop wintersowing those seeds that need the cold stratification (mainly perennials).  I am going to WS some  tender annuals in a week or so simply because I have run out of room inside under the lights where my veggies are getting their start.  Our weather here in NY has been matching yours with 70s forecasted for next week as well. 

Comment by Jan Page on March 18, 2012 at 9:46pm

There is no snow here and it was in the 70's again today... everyone is jumping around in their shorts and T-shirts and saying "its Summer." What a weird weather pattern we have, all over the U.S.

I hardly know if I should do allot of Winter Sowing but I'm gonna go into Trudi's site and see what everyone else is doing.  I did some inside Tomato seeds but thats it.

Comment by Jan Page on March 18, 2012 at 9:42pm

Cindy, I am actually thinking of using some square peat pots and placing them in the jugs and not having to disturb the plant and therefore not set them back....


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