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Winter Sowing My Favorite Flowers

Did you know that you can plant in the winter? Even if it’s snowing?

What a fun question! That is a new one that no one has asked before.

I love Zinnias and Daisies. Zinnias are bright and colorful and last all summer. I can cut them and put them in vases in the house to brighten any room.

I had so many zinnias last year that I let some of my little children friends pick them when they stopped by. They love taking those bright flowers home to give to their mom.

I also love daisies. They don’t bloom all year, but I love their white petals and their bright yellow centers. They remind me of white clouds and summer sunshine.

Winter Sowing

Did you know you can plant seeds now? You can plant seeds even if there is snow on the ground, and frost in the morning. You can make a mini-greenhouse out of a milk jug.

You can show a grown up how after you finish reading this.

You’ll need to gather some supplies. I bet you have most of them at home already.

You’ll need:

  • Milk jugs
  • Wax pencil (or a crayon)
  • Seeds (the Dollar Store has seeds!)
  • Duct Tape
  • Scissors
  • Drill or soldering iron or glue gun
  • Potting Mix
  • Water
  • Sharpie Marker (I like to mark a line on my jugs, but you don’t have to do that)

Drainage Holes

The first thing you’ll need to do is melt or drill some drainage holes in your jug.

You’ll need a grown-up to help you with making holes. I like to use a soldering iron, but it is super hot so you can’t do this on your own.

You can also use a drill, but it takes a little longer to make the holes with a drill.

Make sure you ask a grown-up for help! Tie your hair back if you have long hair so you don’t get it tangled in the drill.

Remember to make a hole along the line so it’s easier to start cutting your milk jug in half.

Poke the scissors into the starting hole. It makes it so much easier to cut along the line when the hole is already there.

Don’t cut it all the way around. Leave a little spot where the top of the jug and the bottom of the jug are attached.

That was pretty easy! Did you leave a hinge where the top and bottom are attached?

If you didn’t, that’s okay. You can tape everything together. The hinge just makes it easier to keep the top and bottom together.

Next cut a window.

Cut on one of the flat sides. You may need a window if the weather gets warm and your plants need a little bit of air.

A lot of people open their windows at home in the spring to let in fresh air. It’s just the same with plants.

Making Plant Markers

There are lots of ways to make plant markers. I bet you have some old plastic containers at home. If not, they are easy to save.

Cut the bottom of the container off.

Cut the sides into strips. You can write the name of the seed on the piece of plastic. Use a crayon or a wax pencil.

I use these wax pencils. You might want to try a permanent marker, but it doesn’t always last when you put marker on something outside. The sun is very strong and will often fade what you wrote.

Maybe you can do an experiment. On one jug write in crayon, wax pencil, and permanent marker to see which one lasts from now until planting in May or June.

Planting the Seeds

What is your favorite kind of seed? Do you like vegetables from the garden or flowers best?

Fill the jug almost up to the cut edge with potting mix. You might want to try dirt from your garden, but it won’t work well. Potting mix lets the extra water drain out, but dirt from the garden is heavy and stays soggy. Seeds will rot if they are left in soggy soil.

Make sure your dirt is wet. I poured water on mine before I made little holes for seeds. There was so much water that some drained out through the bottom holes that I made. That’s just about right.

I poke holes with a pencil if I am planting individual seeds.

My zinnias came with some extra stuff in the seed packet so I could just sprinkle the seeds around on the dirt.

Can you see the seeds? They are brown and look a little like sunflower seeds that you might eat.

Cover the seeds with more dirt. Not too much, just sprinkle some on top to cover them up. Like a warm blanket on a cool night.

They need the dirt on top to keep them out of the sun, and they need dirt to grow their roots.

Pat the dirt down on top of your seeds.

Water the top again. I like to use a spray bottle to make sure that the seeds have some water on top, just like I watered the dirt on the bottom.

Do you see the Zinnia marker I put inside the jug? I also wrote on the outside of the jug with the wax pencil. Sometimes even the wax pencil wears off when the jug stays outside for 4 or 5 months. I like to add a plant marker on the inside because then I really know what I planted.

I like to have the name of the plants on the outside, too. When I’m outside checking my jugs, I can tell what is growing inside.

Making the Little Greenhouse

Find your duct tape!

You can choose your favorite color. I have silver today.

Some people like to have different colors for different types of plants. One color for flowers, another color for vegetables.

Or you can use one color for the seeds you plant in February, and a different color for the seeds you plant in March or April.

Tape all the way around with the window open.

Then put another piece of tape to close the window.

Your mini-greenhouse is ready to put outside!

Let the Waiting Begin

Put your jug outside in a sunny spot.

Go out every few days to see how its doing. Leave the cap off the jug so that the rain can get in and some of the heat can get out.

One day you’ll go out and there will be tiny sprouts!

If it gets really hot, open the window of your mini-greenhouse during the day, and close it again at night.

You’ll have plants ready for the flower garden or the vegetable garden by May!

Questions

Thank you so much for your questions! I love them. Please keep writing them.

I have a special friend from Revolutionary Chicken who is going to write about raising baby chicks. She will write about chicks at the end of February.

Do you have questions about chicks and how to care for them? She would love to answer them.

I have other friends who will be answering your questions, too. I’ll let you know what they will be writing about soon.

Fun Photos

Earlier this week I took care of my friend’s cow while he is in Japan.

The place where the cow is has a cute cat! She is so friendly that she jumped up on my shoulder to say hello.

Yesterday Tim let the cows into the back yard. They ran around a bit and had some fun out of the mud.

Then Stormy decided to stare at us through the back door. She’s cute! I just love her so much!

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