What about those winter sown seeds?

It was an interesting experiment that I’ll repeat next year, with some different varieties. Some things did really well, some weren’t worth it, but you can’t beat the “set it and forget it” aspect of this type of germination system.

This was the fancy set up for the project: these jugs sat out all winter, and some are STILL sitting there, waiting patiently for me to get to them.


One of the success stories was the sweet peas, Lathyrus odoratus ‘Grandiflora Mixture’. I planted them out this week and they are taking off, not a moment too soon. (Note for those not living in the midwest: winter drags on and on and on and there’s few days where you wonder, “is this spring?” and then it’s summer.) Winter sown seedlings are automatically hardened off, so they go right from their cute little jugs to their final planting spot. Nice!


Probably the best result came from Lupinus polyphyllus ‘Tall Russell”. They germinated very early and I have planted them out as full sized seedlings. This picture (below) was taken April 16 and they were very hearty already. I have dreams of vast sweeps of this colorful lupine mixture populating the patio garden.


Bachelor Buttons, (Centaurea cyanus), a cool weather annual, was also a good candidate for winter sowing.


Viola ‘Bowles’ Black’ was one that I won’t repeat in this fashion, because they are still tiny and I really need them to be blooming size right about now! I planted them out into some containers by the front door and they’ll make a show a bit later, but it would have been better to start them indoors in January.

Snapdragons, Aster ‘Tiger Paw’ and Dianthus ‘Fringed Loveliness’ are still in the jugs and I am waiting for them to get a little bigger before they go to their final home. I was worried that they’d get too hot or dry out in the containers, but they are still doing fine, although I check them every day.

Next year I’ll try some more perennials, since it’s such an easy method unless you need big seedlings early.