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Sow When it Snows

Winter-sown lettuce seedlings ready for transplanting

Okay, so there’s snow on the ground, mounds of it, covered in ice, frozen in place and obscuring your garden bed. As this is being typed, branches weighted by sleet are bouncing onto the roof. The earth is rock hard, icicles hang from the eaves and the temperatures are hostile. Evergreens are about the only trees with branches still complemented with greenery. And yet, we’re approaching prime sowing season! 

All you need to get your garden started in February or March is a gallon-size milk jug (creative recycling), some potting soil, and seeds. Low growers like the lettuce above can be sown in large salad containers. If you’re in the market for seeds, Morton Library in Rhinecliff recently made their 2022 inventory available online. Check out their site and order your vegetable, fruit, herb and flower seeds—or, if you’re local, head over and peruse the packets in person.

Winter sowing is almost magical—after sowing, the seeds are left outside in the elements, protected by their makeshift terrariums. They instinctively know when the time is right to poke through the soil. No need for grow lights or heat mats and their electricity requirements. Holes punctured in the containers allow moisture (rain or snow) to get in, and even areas that are shaded by trees in spring and summer are have sun at this time of year. When the ground warms up a few months from now, your resilient little seedlings will be ready for transplanting into the garden.

Want to get a jumpstart on spring with a merry band of like-minded souls? Join us for our Winter Sowing Workshop at The O Zone in Red Hook on Sunday, February 27. (If you’re interested in bulk soaps, shampoos and cleaning products, bring empty containers.) Space is limited, so register on our Events page if you’re interested. We’ll have seeds, soil and other tools and materials on hand, and you’re welcome to bring any favorites of your own.

Looking forward to seeing you

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