Winter Sowing

by | Jan 17, 2023

Winter sowing is a fun and easy way to get a jump on the gardening season.

Here are some general instructions for how to get started with winter sowing:

  1. Gather materials: You’ll need some containers (such as milk jugs or plastic containers), a pair of scissors, some soil, and your choice of seeds. Make sure the containers have lids or can be sealed to protect the seeds from animals and excess moisture.
  2. Prepare the containers: Cut the milk jugs ¾ of the way around just below the handle, leaving it attached at the handle
  3. Fill the containers with moist soil: about 2-3 inches.
  4. Sow the seeds: Plant the seeds according to the package instructions, making sure to leave enough space between them for the seedlings to grow. You can plant multiple seeds in each container, or plant just one or two seeds and thin them out later.
  5. Tape the containers shut.
  6. Place the containers outdoors: Choose a location that is exposed to the elements. Make sure the containers are not in a place where they will be shaded by trees or buildings or where drain holes are unable to drain excess water such as patios and decks.
  7. Wait for the seeds to germinate: As the weather warms up, the seeds should begin to germinate and grow.  In the spring you’ll have plants ready to be planted.

When using this method hardening off or stratification is NOT required.


Below is a list of materials you will need to complete your Winter Sowing fun!

  • Milk jugs – one for each student/person/seed variety.
  • Plastic grocery –  bags to hold each milk jug so soil doesn’t spill out of the drain holes.
  • Sharpie – to write names on the milk jugs.
  • Tape – duct tape, packing tape, any type of strong tape.
  • Scissors – to cut the milk jug ¾ of the way around.
  • Soil – 12 qt bag for 10 jugs. Water – to moisten the soil either before or after being put in the jugs.
  • Hot glue gun, razor, solder iron – basically anything that makes it  easy to make drain holes.  
  • Tarp or garbage bag – something to protect the floor from soil spillage and  where the soil can be put in the milk jugs and moistened before sowing seeds.


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