A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Winter must come to an end, but in the meantime...

Tomorrow, or at worst case on Thursday, we again begin our last ditch effort to make winter go away. We have discovered winter sowing.

Winter sowing is a method of allowing nature to take its course, and still get your plants going for early gardening. And heaven knows, here in WI, we really need to maximize our growing seasons! LOL!

So we will break out all the milk jugs we have saved (the one up side to being out of fresh goat milk - we have accumulated these) and begin the process. It is best to totally empty the kitchen table first, and get all the leaves in the table to maximize space.

Step 2 - gather all the kids around the table and divy up seed packets.

Step 3 - get out the bag of potting soil - Mom gets control otherwise we really have a horrible mess. I don't mind cleanup, but I would prefer that it not be on the ceiling fan!

Step 4 - cut open the milk jugs, leaving one end attached so it can be taped shut again - a mini greenhouse.

Step 5 - put soil in the milk jugs, soak the soil.

Step 6 - gently put seeds in the dirt - read the planting directions, but mostly they just get lightly pressed into the soil.

Step 7 - push the top of the milk jug back into place and duct tape it gently closed.

Step 8 - put the entire contraption (label it somehow so you will know what it is - and permanent marker fades in the sunshine - we discovered this last year with a lot of plants we ended up having to figure out what they were!) out in a snowbank somewhere . At our house that means away from where the dogs will knock them over, away from where the chickens investigate too thoroughly, and where they won't get trampled when we all get to feel some warmth in the air.

This year we are planning along one side of the house - the porch didn't work last year at all, they got knocked over too many times.

Then you just let nature take its course - the natural freeze and thaw will remind the seeds when they are really supposed to sprout, for their own type. As the weather warms and things become more temperate, simply start making holes in your little greenhouse. By the time it is just full of holes, your plants should be hardened off enough that you can simply take the top off. Let it sit like that a little longer and then transplant into your garden! Ta-da!

So, then you will have early started plants, to really get you off to a good start on your garden. I like the idea, but we are working out the bugs for what works for us at our place.

It makes for a great "wishing for spring" activity for everyone. I end up totally planning out my garden, and then changing my mind about where I want things put, but it sure makes it feel like it is around the corner. Some folks start in January, but we are just doing it now, and we have enough winter left here anyway.

There are some great websites about winter sowing, so do a google search and have fun! And enjoy fresh produce from your own garden this summer for a fraction of the price of greenhouse plants.

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