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Winter Sowers' Advice

October 25, 2018

I Iive just outside Boulder. As a winter sower in Colorado, what advice do you have for a newbie?

Comments (8)
  • treebarb


    To view previous RMG posts on winter sowing, go to the top of the page to the search box and type in Winter sowing. Click on winter sowing in Rocky Mountain Gardening and 341 previous posts come up on the topic. There's been some really good info posted on winter sowing here over the years.


  • lizbest1

    Pretty much any perennial that will grow in your zone can be winter sown, Pentstemons and things that need cold stratification do particularly well. Don't forget to put holes in the bottom of your containers for bottom watering, I did that the first year! Not easy to put them in after the soil and seeds are in!

  • smdmt

    Thanks for your responses. Treebarb, I can not find the RMG winter sowing questions. the search comes up with 104 and they are all over the board. Some are not even related to gardening.

  • treebarb


    I'll try to link it below.

    Winter sowing in Rocky Mountain Gardening

  • treebarb

    You're right, smdmt! The first 10 posts or so are on winter sowing, then it goes into other topics. I'm sorry!

    Are you wanting to sow something in particular or just the process in general?

  • Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

    Looks to me like the houzz search engine isn't very effective! Here are links to some of the winter sowing threads I had saved in bookmarks--I don't see most of these in the search results!

    This first one is from '08/'09 when we were all just getting interested in it! HighAlt (from Silt!) is the one who got us all started, and she hasn't posted on RMG for many years now! These threads are some of the LONG ones--probably more than you ever wanted to know, but you should find answers to just about any questions you may have.


    Wintersowing 2010


    Wintersowing 2011


    Wintersowing 2012


    When I started doing it I was doing it in small flats, putting several different types of seeds in each flat, but doing it that way meant that when the seedlings came up they needed to be separated and transplanted into small pots and I tended to not get that done! Now when I get around to doing it--I really don't have anywhere to plant more things!--I put the seeds into 8 oz styrofoam cups right away, then when they germinate they can grow in the cups until they're well rooted and be planted directly into the ground--skipping the transplanting step! I just put as many seeds as I want for "one plant" in each cup and then put them in a large (shallow) "Rubbermaid type" storage container to put them outside over winter. I like doing things the Lazy Way!

    One other comment about these threads is that, besides perennials, HighAlt also started out sowing "tender" things like tomatoes and annuals, but at some point she decided that it was more effective to start things like that indoors at the appropriate time--when winter sown they didn't come up until late anyway since they need warm temps, so she wasn't "gaining" anything by getting the seeds in soil sooner--and possibly she was "losing" growing season since the outside temps had to warm up enough for them to germinate as opposed to having the warm temps inside whenever she wanted to start them! Just a heads up since I don't know for sure that her comments about changing her mind about winter sowing the warm season crops is in one of these threads!

    There are lots of suggestions in these threads, so you should find something to try, and, eventually, whatever works the best for you!

    Boy, for those of you that have been around RMG for a long time, does looking at these threads ever bring back memories of when the forum was so active and there was so much participation!


  • smdmt

    Thanks for the good links!

  • popmama

    I got pretty enthusiastic a couple years ago and tried winter sowing. Primarily I was hoping for Siberian iris seeds that I had collected as well as Lupines. The iris were a complete no show. The lupines did well but died upon transplant to the larger garden. At that point I decided I was just no good at winter sowing. Those links sure do make one want to try again though. :-)

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