Winter Soltice Celebration.......Wintersowing Begins!

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

How many people plan to wintersow their seeds at the start of the Winter Soltice, December 21st???

What are the first seeds you plan to wintersow???

For those gardeners who are new to wintersowing or tried & true WS'ers, here is a link that tells you all about this wonderful way of propagating seeds at very little cost!

(Zone 7a)

It's hard to find time for serious wintersowing in the days leading up to Christmas, so am thinking of just a token wintersowing to celebrate the solstice - kind of like going out to look up at stars at night.

One genus that has always benefited from wintersowing (and which I crave intensely) is primula, so will start with Weezingreens' trade of Primula japonica and a crunchy lettuce she sent me. I will water the seeds in their medium with a solution of 1 - 2 Tbsp hydrogen peroxide (H202) and 1 gallon of water.

The strength of H202 in this recipe is about 3% or 3.5%, and will try to buy it from a local pharmacy. For further discussion of the H202 method, please read:

What's everybody else wintersowing?

This message was edited Dec 7, 2005 1:02 PM

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

It doesn't take too much time to sow a couple of containers of seeds and put them outdoors to begin the Winter Soltice celebration.

I'm also going to start some Lettuce seeds, but also Aquilegia (Columbine), Hollyhocks and Poppies. They all need a very long growing period.

You might want to experiment with half of your seeds in your water/hydrogen peroixde solution soak prior to sowing in your container and half without the soak and see if there is any difference. I want to try aspirin water on half my seeds this year and the other half without it. Phenomenal results with using aspirin water on seedlings and plants. Why not start with seeds?

Yukon, OK(Zone 7b)

Hiyaa, so happy to meet you. I will be winter sowing for the 1st time this year thanks to the above mentioned website. I have a question though. On the website they have a link at the bottom to wintersowing in ziploc baggies. Now in all the photos of these, the tops look to be all the way open on both the ladies baggies and pop bottles. I thought that it was really important to tape the tops back on the bottles (& the drawing instructions for the baggies shows them zipped almost closed). It sure seems easier to leave the tops off, but makes sense to put em on too. Either of you have any comments on this? I am so excited to try this method. I always get griped at for all my seed starting parephenalia all over the kitchen/utility room each winter, so this will keep most of it outdoors. Yeay!

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Hi Keyi! Welcome to Wintersowing! Congratulations on taking that "leap of faith" and wintersowing for the 1st time!!

This is copied from the website:

"Take your flat and slip it into a baggie or zip bag. Close the baggie with a twist tie or knot, or zip the bag shut. Take a paring knife and make a few slits in the bottom for drainage and make some slits in the top for the air transpiration too.

If you use a ziploc bag you can keep that zipper open a bit and make just a few slits to the top for air transpiration. Easy!" Is this what you were referring to?

As for 1 litter bottles, you should leave the tops OFF, so that Mother Nature can provide your seeds with moisture (in the form of snow or rain) for you. If you don't get any moisture from Mother Nature, then please add some to your bottles, so your soil does not dry out.

I'm excited for you! What seeds will you be sowing first???

Mandeville, LA(Zone 9a)

Ah ha! This is just the bunch I was lookin' for! I have some seeds which I want to wintersow. The problem is that it's not winter all winter here. If I put them outside, at some point our temps are going to go back up into the '80s and they're going to germinate and then get zapped by a cold front coming through. So I'm wintersowing in the frige. Since mother nature will not be raining in my frige do you think I should cover with baggies and mist once a week or so? Other suggestions? This is my first experience with this. Also, can you tell me about the aspirin water? I've read about the peroxide soak on another thread. Glad to find some people that acknowledge Winter Solstice!

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

I'm going to w/s this year too, but I think I will wait until January! I had found another thread that was about w/s . I'm glad to have found a bunch of you. I still wish we could have our own forum. It would definitely make life easier in finding all the threads.

If anyone is interested in an excel spreadsheet on what plants can be wintersown, I have a download link on my website . It's grouped by zone and is wonderful! I got it from another garden forum dedicated to wintersowing. Between this one and the other, I'm happier than a pig in muck!

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Hi NematanthusNut! Glad you found the Propagation Forum and Wintersowing thread!! Here is a link that addresses gardeners who don't get snow in the Winter (no shoveling for you) and how to go about WSing in mild climates. Hope this helps! Misting your containers once a week in the frig is an excellent idea. You don't want your seeds to dry out!

As for soaking your seeds in aspirin water, try experimenting with some of your seeds that have been either soaked or sprayed with this solution and another group that has no treatment. Plant as usual and observe when they germinate. Do they germinate more quickly than the seeds that were not treated this way? Do you have a higher germination rate with aspirin water? How do your seedlings look compared to the untreated group? Please report back and let us know.

Happy Winter Solstice planting!

Hi Anitabryk2: The great thing about WSing is that you do it when it is convenient for YOU! Since your in zone 6b, you should have great WSing weather! WS'ers are REALLY happy when it snows! I wish we could have our own forum too, put the powers that be at DG decided that we should remain in the Propagation forum. Spread the word....let your gardening friends know where we "hang out"!!!

Thanks for the wonderful link to the Excel spreadsheet on WS plants. Don't forget, what doesn't germinate for one person MAY work for another. Lots of other variables as to why the seeds didn't germinate.

What are you planning on WSing first????

Have a wonderful time playing in dirt!

Yukon, OK(Zone 7b)

Hiyaa Shirley, nice to meet you too. Here's a photo from wintersown. that I'm referring to about leaving the bag open. Hers all seem to be open all the way and the bottles aren't covered. But elsewhere on the site it says to tape the tops (shoulders, not the cap) back onto the bottle, and zip the baggie closed with just a few holes or an opening. Total odds to each other.
I got the free seeds from there, plus a ton from here on DG, plus ones I saved from my garden. So hopefully I'll have tons of happy healthy seedlings!
bb, mich

Thumbnail by keyi
Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

Here's my list of the purchased seeds that I want to try. I haven't added the ones that I collected yet to my spreadsheet. I figured I'd do that when I'm ready to start. I'm really excited about it too! I have 2 big bags of MG potting soil and also a huge bag! My girlfriend has supplied me with gallon jugs - she has 3 boys and a husband that drink her out of house and home. I figured I would start in January with hardy plants; February my Lentin Roses should start blooming and March I would w/s my tender annuals.

Ageratum Blue Danube
Basil : Bush
Begonia Dragon Wing™ Hybrid
Begonia Wings Hybrid Mix
Brachy Blue Brachycome
California Poppy Aurantiaca Orange
Chocolate Orange Rudbeckia
Clarkia elegans Royal Bouquet Mixed
Columbine McKanna's Giant Mixed
Courgette : Kojac
Dahlia Heirloom Border Species
Delphinium (Larkspur) ajacis Kingsize Scarlet
Eschscholzia caespitosa Monarch Mixed
Evening Primrose : Apricot Delight
Evening Primrose : Lemon Sunset
Fernleaf Dill
Gazania Daybreak Pink
Gazania Tiger Stripe Mix
Godetia amoena Fruit Punch Mixed
Gomphrena Globe Amaranth Mix
Heliotrope Dwarf Marine
Impatiens Wild Thing Hybrid
Joe-Pye Weed
Lavatera trimestris Dwarf White Cherub
Lavatera trimestris Silver Cup
Lisianthus, Matador Blue
Lisianthus, Matador White
Lobelia Crystal Palace
Marigold Boy Series - Boy O' Boy Mix
Nicotiana sylvestris
Orlaya grandiflora
Passion Mix Osteospermum
Pentas Butterfly Sparkles Mix
Peppers, Sweet Antohi Romanian
Phacelia dubia Lavender Lass
Portulaca Sundial Hybrid
Prairie Sun Rudbeckia
Rudbeckia hirta Chim Chiminee
Rudbeckia hirta Gloriosa Daisies
Rudbeckia hirta Kelvedon Star
Rudbeckia hirta Rustic Dwarfs Mixed
Tithonia rotundifolia Arcadian Blend
Tomato : Gartenperle
Tomato : Heirloom Box Car Willie
Tomato : Heirloom Brandywine Pink
Viola - Psychedelic Spring
Zinnia Star Series - Starbright Mix

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the picture, Mich! I've never WS'ed with just a baggie before, but it obviously works! Just make sure your baggie is deep enough to hold enough soil so it doesn't dry out. Do you already have snow on the ground? Ours is melting quickly, but more is on the way!

You purchased some great seeds, Anita! It's wonderful that you have a continuous supply of gallon jugs from your friend's family. Are you planning to share some of your WS seedlings with her?

Orlaya grandiflora is a new one for me. I'll need to Goggle to find out what that is!

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

Shirley, she is, of course, more than welcomed to what ever sprouts!!!

Yukon, OK(Zone 7b)

No, sorry for the confusion, the photo is from I am trying to find out if whomever actually took the photo and submitted it to wintersown left everything open like in the photo. It's a link at the very bottom of each of the pages. There are diagrams on how to cut the bottom of the baggie for drainage and then it says to zip it almost closed, but in the photo, they are all the way open. The bottles too.

New York & Terrell, TX(Zone 8b)

I've left my baggies open with the clothespins on them to insure that they get snow on the top for watering them.

The snow is now at 6 inches deep.

~* Robin

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

The way I understand it;

whatever container you choose [baggie, milk jug, soda bottle, roaster pan] needs openings on the bottom and top. The bottom ensures drainage and the top ensures air circulation and 'watering'. This is what allows the maintenance free aspect of wintersowing.

The whole process is supposed to mimick Mother Natures way of propagation - without the worry of seed eaters or growth in unwanted areas.


Floyd, VA(Zone 6b)

Today was my first day in winter sowing. I thought I would do it last year, but I didn't. I used roasting pans form The Dollar Tree for
three large batches of various poppies, a party size vegetable tray of sturdy plastic with a top, and some salad containers from the salad bar. I planted poppies and hollyhocks. Next I will plant several types of foxglove and Shasta daisies; then I will start planting the other seeds from and trading and buying. I want to grow primulas, delphiniums, iris, etc. etc.

The bag trick is very good. This spring I came across some landscapers planting petunias at the entrance of an apartment complex. They gave me the pots they came in-all that I could carry in two trips! They are about 6" tall and 6" across. I just put one in a ziplock seal bag and it fits perfectly. The pot itself stretches the bag out enough so that I won't have to prop it open. I will put drainage holes in the bag and leave a little area unzipped or put holes in the top too for ventilation.

We are having unseasonable cold weather here in Richmond and it will last until the end of the year and beyond so I am starting now.

Come spring, I will feel like a rich person!

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Robin: Is this the 1st year that you've used baggies for WSing? What size baggies are you using and how much soil are you putting in each baggie? You are so lucky to have a wonderful "snow blanket" to protect and water your seeds with.

You're right, Anita. Make sure to have sufficient number of holes at the bottom of your container or bag for drainage. If you start with a few holes on the top of air circulation and "water", they can always be enlarged later as your seedlings grow taller.

Welcome Gloriag! Congratulations on getting a head start on your WSing! Great suggestions for cheap containers at The Dollar Tree and I also purchased lots of seeds from Terrific prices!! I've also used containers from the salad bars. Just remember to fill them with plenty of soil so that they don't dry out....I found this out the hard way one year! Most of mine dried up to quickly because I didn't add a sufficient amount of soil to the container. Learned my lesson!

It's freezing cold in Maryland too! I'm getting all my containers and bottles ready with soil and seeds. Can't wait to put them outdoors!

Don't forget to mark your containers/bags with an identifying number or name of your seeds, unless you like surprises! I found that duct tape works the best and doesn't come off easily when it gets wet. I use a pencil or laundry marker & put a number on the bottom of each container which corresponds to a log that I maintain on an Excel spreadsheet. How do you keep track of what you've planted, germinates, blooms, etc.?

This message was edited Dec 13, 2005 9:58 PM

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

I currently have a spreadsheet of all the seed I've bought - I was thinking of adding a container number column to it that will correspond to the container holding the 'sprouts'.

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

We think alike, Anita!

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

What do they say about great minds???? hmmmmm

Brooklyn, NY(Zone 7b)

Ah, winter sowing! Getting ready to start my 5th year!

keyi - the pic you refer to is a teeny bit confusing. When it was first posted, if remember correctly, the gardener was showing how well her WSed seedlings had survived a freak snowstorm. She'd begun to open up the bags and bottles because they'd begun to show germination.

When the seeds are first sown, you do tape the top halves back onto the bottles, and zip the baggie closed ( with drainage and air holes) Once the seeds start to germinate, you can either open the zipper bit by bit or slowly enlarge the holes in the plastic. Easy.

Anitabryk2, that is some list you have!

Happy Winter Sowing everyone!


New York & Terrell, TX(Zone 8b)


Anita has it right!

The bottom **holes**ensures drainage and the **open** top(s) ensures air circulation **to prevent fungi and damping off problems** and 'watering' **by letting in the snow/ melting snow**. This is what allows the "maintenance free aspect" of wintersowing.

~* Robin

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

I've done alot of reading on this and I know I am looking foward to trying it for the first time. Especially since I don't have a green house or the room in my house to setup for seed starting.

Moon Twp, PA(Zone 6a)

I'm looking forward to WS'ing for my first yr too, for same reasons as Anitabryk2 - no green house and not enough room or money to set up a system in the house. How long in advance would you WS tomatoes, if you were me?

Thanks, Suzi :)

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks PVick for clearing up a bit of confusion when WSing with baggies. Do you remember what size baggies this WSer used? WOW, 5th year WSing! You have lots of experience!! Could you share with us some of your successes and failures???

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Hi Suzi! I've never WSed tomatoes, so I'd be very interested in finding out too! What else will you be WSing?

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

What about some in January and some in March?

Brooklyn, NY(Zone 7b)

Thanks Shirley1md! I think the WSer used the gallon size bags, but smaller bags should work just as well.

I'm a container gardener, and my garden is an 11th floor terrace. I love growing things, from seed especially; I don't have the space inside for even a simple light setup, and used to just start a couple of tomato plants and maybe a marigold or two on a sunny windowsill. Winter sowing was tailor-made for me..

I've grown so many plants over the last 4 years, stuff I'd never heard of before. Way too many for my little space; I give most of the seedlings away to friends. And I keep plenty too!

It's difficult to point out specific successes and failures; one year, a particular seed will germinate and grow well, another year not so good, yet another year ... zip. Over the years, I've had varied success with just about any seed I've sown. I'm "into" flowers right now (there are so many!), but I do grow vegetables as well - tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, spinach, scallions, etc.

My most glaring, absolute failures are trees and hostas. Three years running, and nothing - absolutely nothing. But I know it works, because people all over the zones report success. So I'm trying again this year - eastern redbud, japanese maple, crape myrtle and a mixed bag of hostas. I am going to get those darn things to germinate for me!!!

What am I going to do with trees on my terrace? Dunno, I just want to see them grow a bit. But I can use the hostas.

If you have the time, you can see a bit of my winter sowing methods here ---

Suzi - in your zone, you should be able to start your tomatoes in late February - early March. That's when I do mine. By the later part of May, I've got some very sturdy, 1½ to 2 ft. plants to plant out. Mine get planted in an EarthBox - only two plants, but that's more than enough for me and my space. I think you'll be very pleased with your efforts.


Yukon, OK(Zone 7b)

Bless you PVick! (((((((((PVick)))))))))) I have been trying SO hard to get info on that picture! Thank you thank you!!!

Coast range of, OR(Zone 8b)

My husband winter-sowed last year...I thought he was nuts - I thought in the back of my mind "they will NEVER germinate!!" I was wrong! We got 4 delphiniums and 3 shasta daisies from it. I think he put about 80 different seeds in a 10 inch diameter pot - it was a bit crowded- and I didn't know what he planted, so we couldn't identify all of them before some got crowded out. I am definitly trying again this winter.

This message was edited Dec 16, 2005 8:01 PM

surfside beach, SC(Zone 8b)

I have been reading this thread since the beginning but haven't participated because I hadn't read the links yet.Well I did today and I am all hyped up.

I love the idea of starting on the Winter Solstice!I will be on an airplane at 6:00 AM on the 21st headed to SanDiego.I will take a small flat of poppies with me and leave them with my friend and see what happens.She is not a gardener.

I will start my own sowing the night before (just like Jewish holidays start the night before).I also ordered a whole bunch of seeds from value seeds.I have a small green house that is not heated and have winter sown in it, covering the flats when it gets very cold.We have snow here once in about 10 years.So I guess I have been winter sowing for about 5 years.

Thanks for the links!

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Thank you SO MUCH for your wonderful WSing photos, PVick!! What an inspiration to all WSers!!

Perhaps your eastern redbud, japanese maple, & crape myrtle seeds need more than one Winter to germinate. Perhaps they need another complete year of warmth and cold before their seed coat breaks open and they begin to germinate. So, don't throw out your containers!!! I can see you training them into beautiful Bonsai one day!! What direction does your balcony face? Do you receive morning or afternoon sun?

Hi, got2Bgreen! So happy to hear that you're going to give WSing another try! Do remember to use duct tape and a laundry marker on the bottom of your containers to indicate what you are growing OR you may have some new surprises!

Welcome, downscale_babe! Glad you joined in!! What are you planning to WS this year?

Yukon, OK(Zone 7b)

Wow PV, what a great series of pics. What an inspiration. Only a few more days to sowing day. I've gotta get labels done tonight. I'm going to do mine all in 1 gal. ziplocs and 1 litre bottles, and a few nursery pots and 2 sleds that the kids don't use anymore.

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Be sure to post some picture, Keyi, of your wintersown bottles & ziplocs in your sled!

Moon Twp, PA(Zone 6a)

Great pics! Did you soak the seeds first +/or use else anything on them, like aspirin water or messenger?? Inquiring minds want to know!

Part of me says try lots of things... part of me says no, just a few so can keep good records. Prob LOTS of dif kinds of tomatoes, some onions, some flower seeds, couple other things, not sure. Won't know for sure till do it! I will for sure keep track in my DG garden diary to make sure I know what to/not to change next yr too. ~ Suzi :)

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

Supposedly, you don't have to do anything to the seed. No striations, are letting mother nature do it. The freezes and thaws, snow and rain and sun are what take care of the things that you would normally do if you were starting the seed under lights or in a greenhouse. That is why you normally can't start alot of the 'tender' annuals and tropicals with the w/s method.

At least that is how I am understanding the whole process.

Moon Twp, PA(Zone 6a)

Shirley - Thanks for the timeframe you start yours. Hmmm sounds so delicious. I am not sure if I'm getting any more fruit trees this year or not. Therefore, don't know how much I can spend on the seeds... yet.

Anita - I realize that. However, someone on one of these threads mentioned possibility of using some aspirin water to start them and I thought that it sounded good too. Have to water them with something when first start anyways. And if do, and compare them with the control of just reg water to start, might be significantly better. Plus, would want to keep up the experiment and water those same ones with aspirin water every so often during summer.

Will def have to put the nametags up high where I can see them, not like last yr when tried a bunch of dif toms. Back was out most of summer, couldn't bend down to read any of the labels. Besides, darn weeds covered them up... LOL But, most of them were very delicious. The one grape tomato wasn't though...

I am off to working on my spreadsheet of the tom seeds, and some other seeds that I want too... LOTS! Gotta have a good list so know what to pare off, right?!

Whatever happened to the tom RR we were going to have?? ~ Later, Suzi :)

west Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I have one question....forgive me if it has been answered....why put any bag on top of the conatiner if the container has good drainage? Here is Houston it seems to be easier just to put them in pots and see that they keep most. Is there an advantage to the baggies I'm not understanding (there is MUCH I don't understand!LOL).

I certainly plan to participate, I've already started alot of things outdooors in seed starting trays. Alot of our native plants like stratification too.


Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

dmj1218: The baggie on top of the sown container is like a greenhouse. Just add a couple of holes in the baggie for air transpiration. It's just that easy! What are you wintersowing?

BriarRose74: I was the one who posted the thread on the use of aspirin water. I plan to mist/water half of plants with aspirin water and the other half with just plain water. I'll let you know what happens!

I think the tomato round robin might have been on the Seed Trading Forum.

Moon Twp, PA(Zone 6a)

Shirley - I thought that might have been you with the aspirin water. Do I remember correctly, 3 aspirin to 1 gal of water? I realize it wasn't in this forum, but I was just lamenting that it fell off the radar when I was so looking forward to it!

Are you going to continue watering them with the aspirin water throughout the summer too? Just wondering. Part of me wants to try the aspirin too... ~ Suzi :)

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or register to post.

Upload Images to your reply

    You may upload up to 5 images