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Winter Sowing: Fifteen Varieties of Tomatoes Planted!

January 30, 2012

We planted our first seeds of 2012 on Saturday! The winter sowing method worked well for us last year, so we’re giving it another go.

I was amazed (again) by wintersown.org. Through the Your Choice Tomato SASE, I received eight new varieties of tomatoes: Dansk Export, Burgess Lemon, DeBarao, Black and Brown Boar, Zapotec Pleated, Monomakh’s Hat, Isis Candy, and Japanese Trifele Black. There were also Volvograd Tomato seeds (along with many other non-tomato varieties) in the Six Pack SASE. We added these to the six varieties of seeds that we saved from last year’s garden: Jaune Flamme, Green Zebra, Orange Van Goeijenbier, Roller Coaster Cherry, Black Krim, and Ace 55.

This is how the winter sowing process works.

Step 1: Collect Plastic Recyclables. We use milk jugs, soda bottles, and salad boxes.

Step 2: Cut the bottles and jugs about 1/3 of the way down leaving space for  2-4 inches of soil.

Step 3: Cut ventilation holes in the top of plastic boxes.

Step 4: Make drainage holes in the bottom of all containers.

Step 5: Fill containers with 2-4 inches of soil, water gently, scatter seeds, and add 1/4 of soil on top.

Step 6: Duct tape the top and bottom of the containers together and label (excessively- the numbers are likely to rub off). Record which seed variaties are in which containers.

Step 7: Put the containers outside in a place where they will get both sunlight and water (in the form of rain or snow). Set up the space so that the containers will not fall over.

Step 8: Wait! Periodically check that the containers have some condensation inside. If there isn’t any condensation building up, the opening on the top may be too wide, or the containers may need more water.

Last year the first sprouts appeared toward the end of March. We’ll be on the lookout. Hopefully the warm weather that is approaching won’t confuse them! There’ll be another round of sowing this weekend. Next up are the flowers and some vegetables.

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