Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Winter Sowing

Life has been so busy lately!  I'm not sure where the time has gone!  Most of the days lately, I don't feel like I am homeschooling, but out-schooling.  Thankfully, our community has a speech club and a Christian Homeschool Choir for the kids to be involved in, but add that to 4-H and our regular homeschool, and I feel like we are always on the run!

Anyway, I wanted to share with you what we have been doing for our science classes lately.  It's planting time!  One of the other homeschool Moms shared with me a website that really interested me on this.  We always try to plant many seeds for the spring time in the yard, but often run out of room, or have had a hard time getting the plants hardened without losing them.  We are trying the Winter Sowing method for the first time, so I'll have to keep you posted on how this goes.  To see the site go here.

The idea is to plant seeds for your area that will naturally sow themselves into containters, such as milk jugs, butter dishes, etc. outside, so it doesn't take much room, and the seeds are hardened already, because they are in their natural environment.  Here's what we did:

  1. Cut milk jugs almost in half leaving about 2 inches by the handle attatched.
  2. Cut holes in the bottom of the jug for drainage.
  3. Add two inches of soil to the bottom of jug.
  4. Water thoroughly.
  5. Sprinkle seeds over dirt. (We used sunflowers, garlic chives, tomatoes, marigolds, cabbage, & dahlias)
  6. Cover with 1/2 inch of soil more.
  7. Tape the container shut with duck tape.  (You won't believe how strong this stuff is!)
  8. Leave the lid off for breathing.
  9. Set outside for the freezing and thawing that naturally occurs!  It's that easy!

Now, we did try some of the containers, like butter dishes and putting saran wrap over the top with holes punched in them, but found that we have some very brave squirrels, who came up and broke through the saran wrap and stole our seeds only 3 days later!  My dh is talking about fencing them in, but hey, it's just as easy and inexpensive to use the jugs and they can't get in the jugs!

Like I said, this is our experiement this year, so I'm not sure how successful it will be.  I have planted some indoors of the same seeds (another post on that soon), just in case it doesn't work out as well, but my friend had great success last year.  I will be excited if this works here in Wisconsin, because there is just not enough room in the house for all our plants!

I am linking up to:
DIY Day - A Soft Place to Land
Transformation Thursday - The Shabby Chic Cottage
Frugalicious Friday - Finding Fabulous
Creative Cats - Poppies at Play
DIY Project Parade - DIY Show Off
Met Monday - Between Naps on the Porch
Make it for Monday - Cottage Instincts
The Girl Creative
DIY Day - A Soft Place to Land
2nd Time Around - A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words
Trash to Treasure Tuesday - Reinvented
Penny Pinching Party - The Thrifty Home


  1. What a great idea! We are in an apartment so we don't have a spot for a garden but this may just work if it ever decides to thaw out here!

  2. Omigosh I am soo going to do this. Do you think it's too late to start? I'm up in NE WI (NEW). Love your blog!


  3. I would go ahead and try. It needs to have the warming and freezing that happens in the early spring that we are now currently experiencing. We just put ours out last week, so I think you are safe.

  4. What a fantastic idea! I love the idea of starting plants outside! Please let us know how it pans out for you. I've never had luck starting them inside, and plus it drives me crazy taking up counter space. It's a pleasure to have you on Creative Cats again!

  5. Great idea and way to reuse an item. Thanks for sharing

  6. What a great idea. I hope it works for you and you'll post pictures of the finished product.

  7. Wonderful idea. It's like a terrarium! I'm going to try and start some seeds this way. Thanks for the idea!

  8. Wow, that is awesome! I just started my herb garden inside yesterday but I may have to try this for my vegetables. I have a ton of the gallon water jugs too!

    Thanks so much for sharing, if it works in your Wisconsin winter, hopefully it'll work in our Illinois winter too!

    -Ann Marie

  9. Just wanted to post an update. 8 out of 10 containers of seeds I planted outdoors grew wonderfully. Everything from beans to tomatoes. Can't say the same for any of the seeds I started indoors. So winter sowing it is from now on. My hubby likes that it doesn't take up indoor space either. :) I will definitely be doing this again in the next couple of months.


I love to hear what you think! Thanks for your feedback!