I’ve used the winter-sowing method for starting perennials from seed ever since Northern Gardener ran Michelle Mero Riedel’s article about the success she has had with the method. Briefly, winter sowing involves planting seeds in damp potting soil in mini-greenhouses, mostly using clear gallon milk jugs. You set the containers outside any time in winter and in spring they sprout. This website has a detailed description of the process.
My results have never been as good as Michelle’s. But, the method does work, and this year I decided to try it with tomatoes. Like many gardeners, I often find tomato “volunteers” in spots where I grew tomatoes the previous year. So there’s no question the seeds can stand up to winter here. I’m starting more annuals from seed this year, so my light stand is getting full already. Last night, I collected my containers, dampened the seed starting/potting soil mix, and planted three kinds of cherry tomatoes: Austin’s Red pear, Sugar Sweetie, and a red and yellow mix. I also planted a container of a new morning glory mix that I’m trying.
The containers have joined those planted with lupines, coneflower and other perennials that I know respond well to winter sowing. With the warm weather coming this week, I’m hoping it won’t be too long before we have seedlings.