Friday, January 26, 2007

Winter Sowing - really, I mean outdoors

I bumped into this concept twice. Technically, only one is the true winter sowing, a technique popularized, and self discovered, by Trudi Davidoff. The other source is the 12 month gardener*. What it involves is sowing seeds outside under cover in the depths of winter, even in the frigid zones, and then letting them germinate and grow on outside. No taking up light space, and hardier seedlings. Sounds like a great idea!

Trudi describes her method of winter sowing like this:

With the Winter Sowing germination method you will be able to start hardy seedlings for pennies. Winter Sowing is done outdoors during the season of winter using mini-greenhouses made from recyclables; there are no heating devices, no energy-wasting lights or expensive seed starting devices. WinterSown.Org is a member of the National Agricuture Library AgNIC Alliance.

Tired, of leggy seedlings:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I think that I will give it a try.

Starting with:

  1. brassicas: kohlrabi, cabbage, pak choy, chinese cabbage (michili), rabe, broccoli, collards
  2. celariac
  3. florence fennel
  4. leaf crops: spinach, lettuce, chicory, endive, 7 top turnips, mache
  5. alliums: leeks, onions
  6. herbs: dill, coriander
  7. roots: turnips, beets, carrots
  8. flowers: tall snapdragon (wildflower), alyssum
  9. Ottawa Hortiphilia tomatoes: a variety that self-seeded - appeared - in my garden last year with interesting properties including cold tolerance.

Stay tuned...


*This book is available in the Ottawa Public Library


Anonymous said...

I'm still skeptical on how seedlings could survive the swing between frozen rock hard at night to balmy during the day, but was pleasantly surprised to find a few green things poking out of the soil in my winter sown containers today!!! Can't wait to see what happens in the next few weeks.

Ottawa Gardener said...

I have a picture of some of my winter sown successes on my new blog (link can be found in the latest post in this old blog). I have lettuce, brassicas, shungki and I think leeks sprouting now. It's pretty exciting!