Winter Sown Seeds Growlog #1

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It’s February and I am already planting my tree seeds for spring! The gardening technique I will be using is called “Winter-Sowing”. This is my first blog post pertaining to growing trees from winter sown seeds. I plan on logging and documenting my growing experience in this series of weblogs titled as Winter Sown Seeds Weblog.

What is “Winter Sowing”?

Winter sowing is a technique for planting seeds in plastic containers outside during the winter time to increase germination rates and improve hardiness of the seeds sown.

The most important criteria are:

  • Light must be able penetrate the container to create a greenhouse effect
  • Containers are placed outside in a winter environment
  • The seeds sown inside the container are not tropical but for temperate climate


The following quotes were taken from “Winter Sowing for a Head Start on Spring Gardening”:

Some seeds do very well when left outside in the cold all winter. You may even get a better germination rate than you would if you were starting the same seeds indoors.

There are seeds that need to experience cold, damp conditions either because they have hard shells that are softened by the freezing and thawing or because they are triggered by the change in temperature to sprout. This is called stratification.

How does it work?

The article “Winter Sowing for a Head Start on Spring Gardening” explains it perfectly, here is a direct quote:

The phrase “winter sowing” is attributed to Trudi Davidoff, a resourceful gardener who had more seeds than indoor space. Ms. Davidoff sows seeds in covered containers (she used take-out containers with foil bottoms and plastic tops) and then moves the containers outdoors. The containers act as mini greenhouses, allowing the seeds to experience the chill of winter in a controlled environment. When the temperature warms enough, the seeds germinate and start to grow on their own. By the time the soil in the planting beds has warmed, the seedlings are ready to transplant out.

This may all sound like common sense, but we can thank Ms. Davidoff for reminding us and calling it to our attention. The concept has caught on, thanks in part to her website, and in 2006, the USDA recognized the viability of the technique by adding the term to the National Agricultural Library Thesaurus.

What am I growing?

The following are my details:

Container Id #Growing SeedsSown Date:See Supplier:
130x Saskatoon berry01/15/2021The Incredible Seed Company
24x Beech01/17/2021Local forest
3Unassorted01/01/2021Kitchen and local forest
410x Hawthorn, Wild01/28/2021Strictly Medicinal Seeds
5100x Sea Buckthorn01/28/2021Strictly Medicinal Seeds
650x Elderberry, American01/29/2021Strictly Medicinal Seeds
750x Goji01/29/2021Strictly Medicinal Seeds

The unassorted container looks as follows, I did not keep track of the seed count nor date sown.

Black berry
Wild Raspberry
Eastern White Pine

And finally here’s the picture of the outdoor setup. I cannot wait to see what’s going to grow! Check back in the future to see how project turns out.

Outdoor Setup

See also