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Winter sowing

In response to last week’s “Gardening Corner,” fellow Master Gardener Kathy Gierlak, emailed me about winter sowing, a method she likes to use:

“Many native plant seeds need cold, moist stratification to sprout. With this method you plant seeds in plastic milk jugs (I happen to use the clear plastic salad boxes) and just put them outside for the winter. You put drainage holes in the containers so water can get in and out. The containers act as mini greenhouses, the seeds germinate and are protected from animals until it’s time to plant. There’s a lot of info online about this. Easy to do and I like repurposing my salad boxes! I have raised some of the plants that I have donated to our [Master Gardener] plant extravaganza this way.”

Many perennial, biennial, and annual flower and vegetable seeds require stratification, or exposure to cold, moist conditions in order to break down the hard seed coat and allow the embryo to emerge from dormancy. In nature, seeds with a hard coat und...

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