Continuing the Winter Sowing Method – More Plantings for the Low Tunnel

Since my last post, my winter sowing has moved into full swing. This time of year, the process of starting all my flower seeds is such an exciting one. On one hand, I’m super eager to watch things start to grow. On the other, I’m always worried that absolutely nothing will grow and that things will be a complete failure. I guess that’s just my personality – either everything is great or everything is awful. Lol.

Today, I’m winter sowing some plants that I absolutely know will be successful. First to sow is bachelor’s buttons. I was able to find a packet of tall red bachelor’s buttons for just .99 cents – of course, I couldn’t resist. Bachelor’s buttons are an extremely cold tolerant annual flower in my garden. I usually plant these seeds in the fall and the bachelor button seedlings overwinter without protection, and then bloom in the following spring/early summer. On years that are exceptionally cold, I might lose some of the seedlings, but the rate at which these overwinter is usually pretty great. In fact, it is always one of the first hardy annual flowers that I suggest people try to grow.

I’m also sowing ‘Cherry Caramel’ phlox flowers again. I’ve grown phlox before in the past, and the more I learn about it – the more I’m beginning to think that I will need to grow these over winter in a low tunnel to get the best bloom possible. The good news for people with milder summer temperatures than me is that these annual phlox respond extremely well to the winter sowing method. It seems that the early season fluctuating temperatures really help with great germination rates. These packet from Baker Creek apparently has really crappy germination. It would have been nice to know that before I ordered them. Not to mention that was the rate from way back in April – but whatever. Hopefully, some of this packet will germinate. Who knows?

Statice is another of the more hardy annual flowers that does extremely well from the winter sowing method. In fact, the winter sowing method is the only way that I’ve ever germinated this seed. I tried making a fall planting this year, but the germination rate was absolutely terrible (even with cold treatment in the fridge). This tells me that they likely benefit from a combination of moisture and fluctuating temperatures that naturally happens with the winter sowing method. Anyhow, these are also super easy to transplant.

I also planted some spinach up in some cell trays. In general, spinach is not that great for starting in trays because their roots don’t really like to be disturbed. I find that growing each seed in their own cell makes the roots less likely to tangle and make transplant too difficult. Winter sowing spinach works great. This, in tandem with a direct sowing in the fall, will allow me to have spinach as long as possible (which isn’t very long) in my garden. Once the spring weather arrives, spinach season is practically over.

Gaillardia is another perennial flower that germinates really well when grown using the winter sowing method. For these, I always make sure to surface sow the seeds, as it seems that exposure to a little bit of light really seems to help get the highest germination rate possible. I can’t remember the name of the variety that I bought this year, but I do know that it’s a mix of double flowers. Hopefully, they’ll look really nice.

Last, but not least, I sowed some more herbs for the garden. This included some rosemary, sage, and even a little thyme. Winter sowing makes growing herbs from seed so insanely easy (at least here in my garden).

That’s really about it for this post! Thank you so much for taking the time to read it. I would love to hear all about what you’re growing in the comments below – have you ever used the winter sowing method before? What did you grow? I hope you’re having a great day!

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