Saturday, February 14, 2009

Winter Sowing Experiment

While meandering through Blotanical garden blogs yesterday, I somehow found my way to (sorry, I don't recall who to credit for this link!) where I read about an idea so crazy I just had to try it: Planting seeds NOW, in winter, using zip-lock bags as mini-greenhouses and putting them outside until spring. I immediately selected some perennial seeds (suitable for zone 4) to try. Today I picked up a box of quart-sized zip-lock bags and some potting soil and I was ready to garden.
I wasn't sure whether to use potting soil or seed starting mix, so I made a blend with 1/3 seed starter. As explained in the instructions, I cut 3 drainage holes in the bottoms of the bags and filled each a third of the way with soil.
After watering each bag, I set it on the drainboard to drain (don't tell Rog I did all this gardening in the kitchen sink!) Then, I sprinkled seeds on the surface and patted them in a bit. Each bag is labelled with the variety, plant height, sun preferences. I planted: gaillardia, blue flax, columbine, false blue indigo, hollyhock, Icelandic poppy and monarda. I also took a sample of the wildflower seeds I have been cold-moist stratifying since January 25th (bloodroot, Virginia bluebells, bittersweet, and liatris) out of the refrigerator and planted them.
Each bag is zippped up to a clothespin, clipped on the top to keep a small ventilation opening. I packed all the bags into a plastic bin and set them out on the patio next to the house. Now comes the hard part--waiting to see if they sprout!

Total cost: $13.63 ($10.63 for 7 seeds packets on sale, $2 for zip lock bags, approx $1 for soil)
Total zip lock bags planted: 24


DirtDigger (Tessa) said...

Well this is most interesting- I love reading about what others are trying. I'll keep watching to find out what comes up! Happy Gardening!

Anonymous said...

Wacky! Can't wait to see if it works. How do you know when to pull them out and plant them? Do the roots not get all tangled? I'll have to look it up, thanks for providing the link! Gardeners are so ingeninous (sp)!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting! I can't wait to see how they do.