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What does your wintersowing work station look like?

October 22, 2015

I'm always curious how others manage the process of dealing with dirt and seeds in the winter and usually in their houses. I'd like to seed how each of us is preparing and what that looks like. I'm lucky to have a spacious basement laundry area with a typical square laundry sink and an old kitchen counter for folding laundry and "working". The photo below is looking at my pile of prepared winter sowing containers and an open bale of ProMix Potting medium in the lower right.

This pile sits at the end of a long, narrow room with washer, dryer, sink on one side and the counter top and cupboards on the other side. There is a light set up that I hope to use for starting very heat-loving plants like peppers, coleus, zinnias, and Mexican Sunflowers. Having this available has only served to strengthen my reliance on wintersowing as the most free of complications.

This year, I have decided to switch from milk jugs to the containers you see stacked there. Some are clear plastic, bulk, candy containers. Others are how I purchase my breakfast yogurt. They are much easier to store than milk jugs (stackable) and they are more convenient at plant-out time. We'll see how my germination rates work out.

Please share pictures of wherever you do your sowing. Later I'll start a thread about where we all put our containers outside, otherwise known as "The Pot Ghettos."


Comments (9)
  • diggerdee zone 6 CT

    No pics to share at the moment, but I just use my kitchen counter and sink! Sometimes I will stick the bag of potting mix in a corner of the kitchen, but the last few years I've been using ProMix by the bale, which I lug into the basement in fall. So I trudge up and down stairs, one bowlful (a large stainless steel mixing bowl) at a time, which is usually enough to sow four milk jugs. It's a bit tedious, but since I usually sow 4 to 6 jugs at a time per day, it works. I guess I can use the exercise anyway, lol.

    I wet the soil in the bowl in the sink, fill the containers and place them in the sink, and then take one at a time out of the sink, sow it on the counter right by the edge of the sink, seal it up and back into the sink it goes till I'm done with all of them. Place them on a cookie sheet and take outside.

    You are lucky to have a dedicated spot for WSing! Do you have access to the outside from the basement, or do you need to lug things upstairs and outside?


  • docmom_gw

    I have to lug things up stairs.

  • molanic

    Not much traffic on this forum lately! I don't have my area setup yet for this year, but will try to take some pics when I do. My system gets a little more efficient each year I think.

    First time I tried wintersowing I did it in the unheated garage in December. Numb fingers on filthy hands and snot running down my face from the cold.... not fun. I moved inside the next year!

    For several years I used the kitchen and just did a few tiring marathon sowing sessions so I wouldn't have to lug everything out and clean it all up again too many times. The kitchen was right off the backyard where I kept my pot ghetto. I kept a big tub of potting mix in the dining room for weeks on end to keep it from freezing.

    It worked pretty well... until I got three naughty cats. I couldn't turn my back for one second. They like to "help" too much! Jumping into my tub of damp potting mix to roll around in it, running down the hallway with an open seed packet in their mouth and emptying the contents everywhere, etc., etc.

    Then I decided to install a laundry tub with sprayer in the basement workroom. I can close the door to the basement to keep the kitties out. It is heated down there and with some good tunes, actually kind of pleasant. I can spread out my supplies and leave it a bit messy between sowing sessions. I also switched to quart yogurt containers to sow in which are easier to plant out of, clean, and store. I prepare new containers with the drill press that is in the basement too. I put them in a large concrete mixing tub or storage container lids for sowing and carrying upstairs. It holds quite a few of them and I can easily carry a dozen or more of them at a time.

    I use large anti-fatigue floor mats to make standing on the concrete floor easier. This year I may even clean off one of the workbenches so I can sit and sow! Looks like you have a really nice setup too Martha. It is good to have an area where you can spread out and get a bit messy for projects.

  • docmom_gw

    Molanic, I hadn't thought to get tunes going. My husband is usually in charge of our musical selections (we have similar taste), but he isn't around when I sow. I have listened to books on tape. I also have helpful cats. Life certainly doesn't get boring.


  • texasranger2

    Mine is done outside, I sit on the ground behind the building where I pot stuff up and do cuttings etc in summer. No special setup. Its a haphazard, spur of the moment operation here. I slice and poke a juice jug or 2 or 3, usually ones that I recently rescued from the trash, rinsed out and saved since I had plans to sow something. When I'm in the mood and the weather is nice I do them. By the time winter gets here, I'm jugged up as much as I'm going to be with whatever I've decided to try, usually not a lot of kinds of seed. With the large seeds, I simply sow those in pots and set them in the shade with either leaves or gravel on top of the potting soil to keep the soil damp. Small seeds are sown in the clear juice jugs. I'm a small time WS'er and a piker, I can't hold a candle to the large number of jugs some people sow on this forum.

  • bellarosa

    I usually WS right on top of our kitchen counters. I lay newspaper down on one section, prepare my containers - usually milk jugs (poke holes on the bottom/cut the containers across almost half way) - put the soil in the containers, spray soil with a water bottle - add my seeds - spray again with a water bottle - add my labels - usually cheap window blinds - tape the containers - and just open our porch door and place them outside. usually takes me around an hour depending how many seeds i sow. i love doing it. great way to spend a winter day.

  • Campanula UK Z8

    in the greenhouse - I have a long 14foot bench down one side - all the potting mixes and grit bags are underneath and labels and pots (I only use 2 sizes - square 1 litre for sowing and square 9cm for potting up) are on shelves above the bench - this area is probably the tidiest in my entire house (until sowing starts in earnest when it gets a bit...messy). The other side of the greenhouse consists of another long bench and 2 tiered sets of shelves for trays). I have a comfortable chair in the greenhouse and a mains connection so I can work at night. My favourite place in the world.

  • Lena Hall

    can ya tell i'm itching to get started!? i've commented on most posts today :)
    last yr (my first for ws) i worked off my tailgate (w/ frozen fingers and frozen, snotty nose!) this yr (hopefully) i will have built a few potting benches for this season (which i will be able to use for all my monarch caterpillar containers, come time). a friend who had some construction done in the summer gave me 7 or 8 long narrow pallets which are the perfect depth for a work bench!!!

    my containers, once filled and sowed, will be left in the yard w/ a wire exercise pen stretched around them to keep our the naughty cat and dogs, and squirrels, from getting into them.

  • gardendaydreamer

    I had a major workstation lesson learned. I decided to set up outside this year to avoid the kitchen mess. well, just a few minutes in, and a gust of wind took my entire handful of tiny seeds right out of my hand! I hope mother nature at least had the mercy to deposit them in my garden beds! well, needless to say I lugged everything back to my kitchen. I do an assembly line set up. far from fancy but gets the job done.....

    btw: helpful tip: I use leftover Christmas ribbon to tie around the jug handles to identify different seeds. avoids worry about labels fading, etc.....

    happy sowing everyone!

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