seed starting wintersown

Seed Starting – Winter Sown update

We had some pretty cold temperatures for Virginia last week. Low teens every night and below freezing for several days at a time.

Different varieties of onion seedlings (an inch or so tall) and different lettuces already up about 1/4 inch came through being frozen solid for several days without any visible difference.  Amazing!

Also wintersown January 11th were some heirloom dandelions known as Catalogna  Puntarelle Dandelion.  (Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds says they are “popular in Italy, hardy and excellent for early spring greens; great cooked like asparagus.” Also good for salads.)  I germinated them inside then put them outside.

Anyway — the dandelions didn’t like that at all!  Most died and the few that remain may or may not make it. I should have put them outside to germinate when they could know the right time.  I won’t make that mistake again.

Just so you’ll know — I germinate onions inside and put them outside after they germinate.  They don’t seem to mind that at all.

Almost all of the Tatsoi Bok Choy also made it through just fine —- except for maybe several along the outside edges of the jug.  They look a little dark and may not make it.

Sandra (friend and reader) emailed me today and said that her wintersown daikon radishes looked bad after that cold spell and might not make it.

Thought maybe everyone could benefit from this.  Most cold weather crops do fantastic through all the freezing temps but there’s always the exception.

According to the Almanac ( the northeast is suppose to get another major storm in mid February.  But in my book — anyway you shake it —- spring is just around the corner.  🙂

Oh — and by the way — I removed the plastic from my hoop tunnels for two days so they could get some fresh air and the nice rain that we had last night.  Put the plastic back on this afternoon in anticipation of more cold.

The voles and shrews like those tunnels.  I’ve trapped 7 shrews and 12 voles in two of the 4 tunnels.  Hope I get all of them before spring!

If you’ve got anything unusual going on with wintersown —I hope you’ll share it in a comment.


Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot healthier.


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  • Great wildlife harvest, Theresa! Good to get them outta there before spring. I’m curious about where you germinate your seeds indoors – porch? or other and the temps. they germinate in before you (immediately you see green?) put them outside like traditional wintersown. And also why you do that? Is it to speed up germination? Thanks, Sandra

  • Yes, Sandra, all seeds are germinated outside EXCEPT onions and warm weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants etc. when the time comes.
    With onions — I germinate in my mudroom (porch)(on top of my washing machine) to speed germination. The minute they’re up — I move them outside — as you said “like traditional wintersown”.

    With the warm weather crops as tomatoes etc. I germinate inside. Once they are up an inch I transplant into jugs (last year I did 3 to a jug) and put them outside.


    Almost forgot — temps inside my porch range from 50 to 60 degrees depending on outside temps. I don’t know what the temperatures in the jugs would be.

  • OK, thanks. I know it’s late, but I just sowed two jugs and they are in my sunroom – hoping for a quick start.

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