Preparing Winter Sowing Containers – Ready to Plant!

It’s winter, and for me that means something very important! It’s time to winter sow some annuals (and perennials!). The discovery of winter sowing was a complete game-changer for me. You see, my tiny little house is a dark wasteland, and the last thing that thrives here are delicate seedlings. Moving the operation outdoors is definitely the answer for me. Preparing winter sowing containers is easy, too!

Now when you hear “winter sowing”, you may be thinking, “Whhhaattt, this stuff won’t grow in the winter!??!” In fact, when I first read online about winter sowing, the website told me just to walk outside in the snow and throw the seeds on the ground. Guess what! THAT DIDN’T WORK. Thanks for wasting both my time and my money “Mr. Garden Blogger”.

Can we just take a second – PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

Dear Internet, if you haven’t successfully done something yourself – don’t write a blog post about it, don’t make a video about it, don’t pretend that you have. Just STOP. STOP IT.

Okay, so with that mini rant out of my system. Winter sowing is using containers (usually empty milk jugs) to make little “mini greenhouses” that you plant seeds in and put outside during the winter. The best candidates for winter sowing are plants that don’t mind a little bit of a chill. For example, I wouldn’t winter sow my zinnias in January. However, something like bachelor’s buttons would be a very good candidate for sowing since they can handle the cold and are often one of the first flowers to germinate in the spring. By winter sowing, I’m able to get a jump-start on the season, without taking up precious space in my house. In addition to more hardy annuals, any perennial that is hardy in your climate zone may be a good candidate for the process. One reason this method works well for perennials is that many need a period of vernalization (cold exposure) before they sprout. Instead of sticking random packages of flower seeds in the fridge, why not let mother nature do all the work? After all, she’s the professional here – not me.

In the future, I plan on making a post listing all of the varieties that I’ve had success winter sowing. For now, however, you can do a pretty good Google search to start. As always though, be aware of climate differences, etc.

Project Precautions – Be careful cutting your container and making drain holes. Seriously, I almost cut myself every time I do this. Always wash your hands after playing with seeds and dirt. Other than that, milk is good for your bones, and it’s a good thing you’ve been saving those jugs!

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Step one: Grab an empty milk jug. Good Job!


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Ditch the lid and cut around the center of the jug. BE CAREFUL! Don’t cut all the way around, leave a little bit in the back so that it acts as a little hinge that you can use. After your seeds germinate, you’re going to want to open the “greenhouse” during the day so that you don’t roast your little greenies. At night, you can close the “greenhouse” back to keep them warm.


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Don’t forget to add some drain holes in the bottom. Once again – BE CARREEEFULLL! LOL!


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Last but not least, fill the jug with dirt and plant your seeds. When you’re done planting, use some duct tape (I only had packaging tape) to seal off the cut that you made earlier until your seeds sprout.

Want to see the results to my most recent winter sowing attempt? CLICK HERE!


That’s it, folks! Leave your seedy jugs outside with the (with the top cap off) and wait for them to germinate. Make sure you place them somewhere that rain and snow can fall into them and animals won’t try to get into them. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below. Sometimes when I write these posts, I start taking things for granted and forget to mention important keys. Make sure you label your jugs all over the place, since they are outside, the elements almost always wash away the markers. As always, you can watch me make one below! Hope everyone is having a great day, much love!


An awesome one-woman flower farm, cultivated by the love of all things pretty.


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