Come February I am usually itching to get some seeds planted. Realistically, under the grow lights indoors the only seeds I can get away with planting are pansies. I could sprinkle some penstemon and poppy seeds in the garden beds, if I can find the beds under the snow. Nope, February you can usually find me in my garden books, or online, planning and dying with anticipation for the upcoming season.
This year I came across the idea of winter sowing. Using Google, I was able to find several images, instructions, and suggestions, and I ran with it. I saved milk cartons for a few weeks, and found a list of easy winter sown seeds in my zone 4/5 garden.
So excited was I to be to be out buying dirt, seeds, and duct tape! I came home with penstemon, acquilegia, delphinium, perennial alyssum, and more. I followed directions, cutting the milk cartons in half, adding dirt, seeds, and taping em' shut. Labeling with permanent marker. Setting them out in the snow, and religiously checking them as often as possible. lol.
I noticed several seedlings in April. As my usual spring garden filled in I moved the cartons behind some shrubs, and still notoriously checked them for moisture as the temperatures rose unseasonably high at times.
This week, I waited for a cool cloudy day and cracked open the poppy container and transplanted the seedlings into the garden. (When I started this container in February I had 3-4 Himalayan Blue Poppy seeds left, and some Lauren's Grape Poppy, so I mixed them in one). I obviously got some great germination rates!
I am fairly certain the rare Himalayan Blue even germinated! Under all this obvious Lauren's Grape foliage there were 3-4 little seedlings with different leaves. I am monitering the seedlings in the garden, and when/if they bloom, I'll be sure to share!
I have plans to transplant the penstemon, acquilegia, and delphinium seeds from the other containers this week, too.
Highly suggest you try winter sowing, it is so much fun!