Winter Sowing Watch
Posted: March 30, 2015
Are you one of the "smarter" gardeners who are winter sowing seeds this winter? That is, sowing seeds in mini-greenhouses made from recycled containers outside while others are just starting indoors.
During the warmer days we are having lately is a good time to check on the moisture inside your mini-greenhouses. Check for condensation or lift the containers for weightiness. If some of your containers have condensation but others don't it is a good bet that those that don't have condensation could use a good drink of water.
Also, if some of your containers are lighter in weight when compared to other containers it is a good bet those lighter containers cold use a drink too. There are several methods to watering your containers; I prefer to use the soaking method.
If you only have one container that needs watering put a couple of inches of water in a bucket and set the container into the bucket of water for approximate 15 to 30 minutes until the container has absorbed as much water as it is going to. Don't worry about over watering, the excess will drain out the bottom holes when removed from the bucket of water.
If you have a number of containers to water, as I do, use a large plastic pot saucer, a drip tray (see picture) or use your imagination. Pour a couple inches of water into the saucer/tray and set the containers into the water as noted above using the bucket.
Another method to water your containers is the drip/mist method, that is you will ever so slowly drip water down the inside wall of your container so as to not disturb the soil surface or to use a small hand held pump sprayer and using a light mist setting put the nozzle inside the container and mist the soil surface until water runs out the bottom.
Again, with either method you won't need to worry about over watering because the excess will drain out the holes in the bottom. But, if you notice water isn't draining and the soil is no longer frozen you will need to increase the size of the holes in the bottom or add extra holes in the bottom of your container.
If you haven't started or finished winter sowing, don't fret there is still time. This past weekend I sowed several more containers with baby romaine, spinach and alyssum seed. Remember, when you can go outside without a sweater then it is too late to winter sow.
When you start seeing seedlings and the evenings are going into the 30's, don't worry. Seeds have been given great DNA to know when they can and when they can't begin to germinate.
by Karen Brown, Master Gardener