Last year, the Snarky Gardener discovered wintersown.org, which gives away seeds that can be used to grow plants outside during the winter. The idea is to sow your seeds in milk jugs (or other recycled objects) and then put them outside until the temperatures are correct for germination. I had mixed results with the WinterSown system but I believe I made several mistakes that I am pledging not to make this year. First of all, I tried plant too many seeds at once – 8 different varieties in just one carton!. This time, I’m using my new 2” square soil blockers to keep the number of plantings to a minimum – just 7 starts per carton. And only one variety per carton with identifying labels (what a concept!). I’m also keeping the choices to those I know well, and that I have too many seeds of already – Red Russian kale, spinach, cilantro, parsley, and leeks. All of these are cold weather hardy, so they are perfect for being winter sown.
Another issue I ran across last year was watering. The instructions explicitly said to open the milk carton to water but I got lazy and sprayed into the opening at the top. The one carton I didn’t put bottom slits in did the best as it didn’t go dry like the others. For me, putting my seed starting efforts outside leads to the “out of sight, out of mind” problem. This time around I’m putting them right outside my back door, which I will pass everyday on my way to work and back.