How to sow flowers in the winter?
Inexperienced summer residents, as a rule, strive to finish the summer season as soon as possible, harvesting the entire crop and saying goodbye to the beds and flower beds until spring. At the same time, an experienced gardener knows that there is still a lot to do in the fall. You can now plan your work so that you can unload a very hot spring season. Such autumn works also include winter crops. It is in late autumn that you can sow not only the seeds of vegetables, but also perennial and annual flowers. They allow you to get high-quality hardened seedlings with minimal effort. How to sow flowers in the winter, we will tell in this publication.
20+ vegetables that can be sown before winter are in our material.
- Why is it worth sowing flowers in the winter?
- Cons of winter sowing flowers
- Dates of sowing flowers for the winter
- How to choose a place and prepare a bed for sowing?
- How to sow flower seeds before winter?
- How to care for winter crops in spring?
- What flowers can be sown before winter?
Why is it worth sowing flowers in the winter?
Sowing seeds before winter has several important advantages.
Save time and space for plants in spring
Growing seedlings of flowers and vegetables is a tedious task, especially when there are a lot of seedlings. Having sown part of the plants in the winter, you can allocate more space on the windowsill for thermophilic plants and pay more attention to this seedling. For someone else, another important factor in this case will be that the seedlings do not need to be transported, they will already be at the landing site.
Another very important point is the hardening of plants. Sown in autumn seeds will give stronger and hardy seedlings. Such seedlings will be more resistant to spring frosts, pests and pathogens. For example, quite often inexperienced gardeners fail to grow an annual aster - it is often affected by fungal diseases. Winter aster sowing allows you to get stronger seedlings that are resistant to disease.
Flowers sown for the winter bloom earlier
Another factor - flowers sown before winter bloom two weeks earlier. And if in the spring the beds with crops are covered with arches with the help of covering material, then the plants will bloom even faster!
Winter sowing - a natural stratification of seeds
For many perennial flowers, sowing before winter is not only possible, but even necessary. The fact is that, getting into winter conditions, perennial seeds go through the stage of natural stratification, without which they simply might not rise.
It is important for the seeds of these plants to germinate for some time at low temperatures. On bags with such seeds, manufacturers usually write that during spring sowing they must be kept in the refrigerator (each has its own stratification time).
If the expiration date of the seeds is running out
Another factor worth mentioning is that in the fall it is better to sow those seeds with an expiration date. Winter sowing allows you to verify much earlier whether germinating seeds or not. In the absence of seedlings, there will still be time to sow new seeds. Of course, only cold-resistant plants can be sown.
Cons of winter sowing flowers
Like any other technology, sowing seeds in the winter has negative aspects that also need to be taken into account.
First, unpredictability and sudden changes in weather can lead to the death of seedlings. Persistent frosts can be replaced by a thaw, seeds can begin to germinate, and after the next change of weather - die.
It is precisely because of such sudden changes in the weather that it can be difficult to determine the exact time for sowing seeds. In any case, any technology has its pros and cons, knowing about the negative aspects of winter sowing, you can be safe: sow only part of the seeds. If some variety is valuable or rare, a few seeds can be left in the spring.
Another point that must be taken into account when sowing in the winter is if the site is very heavily littered with weed seeds, in the spring they will sprout simultaneously with cultivated plants. And the bed will definitely need to be weeded, which is not so simple as long as the shoots are small. In this case, it is better to abandon any crops before winter.
Dates of sowing flowers for the winter
The optimal time for sowing in the winter is the establishment of stable low, but not yet minus temperatures. In many regions, this time comes at the end of October – mid-November.
It is important not to rush into sowing, otherwise seedlings may appear prematurely and then die. More precisely, time can be determined by a stable decrease in air temperature to zero degrees. At this time, the soil was already quite frozen, but not yet covered with a layer of snow. If weather forecasters do not promise warming, you can start sowing.
Although it is possible to sow much later - before the permanent snow cover falls. As a rule, the topsoil is already freezing at this time. This will not affect the seeds in any way, the main thing is to prepare the garden in advance. On the day of sowing it is unlikely to succeed - the land will already be frozen. In this case, you need to fill the seeds with dry, not frozen soil. It will need to be prepared in advance, closing it from moisture and freezing.
How to choose a place and prepare a bed for sowing?
For winter sowing, it is very important to prepare the beds in advance and make furrows, so that at the right time it remains only to sow the seeds and fill them with dry soil.
A place for sowing should be selected protected from the winds, preferably in an elevated place so that there is no stagnation of water, otherwise the seeds may rot. An ideal option is a raised bed with sides so that the seeds are not washed away from the beds with rainfall. The height of the optimal garden bed is 15-20 cm. In the spring on such a garden bed there will be no excessive moisture, it will quickly warm up, which means that the seeds will begin to emerge much earlier.
Read about what should be the "correct" bed, read in our material.
Before sowing, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the growing conditions of each selected plant. There are cultures that easily tolerate transplants. And there are those who take root with difficulty when transplanting, they must immediately be sown in a permanent place.
The place under the bed needs to be freed from weeds and dug up. Especially carefully you need to remove the roots of perennial weeds. Otherwise, in the spring they will quickly sprout and clog the shoots of flowers.
For digging, you can make humus 4-6 kg per 1 square. m. If the earth is dense, heavy, then you need a baking powder, for example, river sand. From mineral fertilizers, phosphorus-potash (15-20 g per 1 sq. M) or special autumn fertilizers can be scattered.
How to sow flower seeds before winter?
Winter sowing of seeds has its own characteristics. It is very important to carry out work in dry weather. Seeds cannot be soaked and germinated - sowing can only be done with dry seeds, so as not to provoke their premature germination.
Due to the possible death of some seedlings, the seeding rate is usually increased by 25-50%.
During winter, the soil layer is compacted. So that seeds can break through to the surface in spring, it is recommended to sow them to a shallower depth compared to sowing in spring. That is why it is advisable to sprinkle the seeds sown before winter with a small layer of humus, peat or a mixture of peat, sand and humus.
Soil needs to be prepared in advance so that it is dry and loose. After sowing, the bed is not watered so that the seeds do not sprout prematurely. To protect against severe frosts, the garden bed can be covered with fallen leaves, spruce branches.
How to care for winter crops in spring?
In the spring, as soon as the snow melts, the mulch material must be removed. At first, crops do not need watering, they lack moisture from melted snow. It is advisable to install arcs with covering material on the garden bed. This will save moisture, protect crops from temperature extremes.
If the seedlings sprout very densely, they must be thinned or planted. Later, as the plants grow, they can be planted in a permanent place.
So, as you can see, there are no special difficulties and a large number of manipulations when sowing flowers in the winter. The main thing is to pre-prepare the bed, soil for powdering the crops and sow the plants on time.
What flowers can be sown before winter?
In winter, you can sow both annual and biennial, and perennial flowers.
Before winter, cold-resistant annuals are sown with a short development period from seedlings to flowering.
They can be sown both on a seedling bed, and immediately on a permanent place. In this case, you need to choose a place for sowing in accordance with the preferences of the plants and carefully prepare the soil. For plants with a rooted root system, planting in a permanent place is preferable, as they do not tolerate transplanting. Such plants include delphinium, poppy, eschscholzia.
If desired, you can immediately sow the seeds in containers or pots. But they will have to be buried in the ground for the winter, before sowing, a drainage layer must be put on the bottom of the pots in order to avoid stagnation of water in them.
Perennial and biennial flowers
Among perennials, there are those that require cold stratification to germinate. Among them: aquilegia, gentian, delphinium, lavender, primrose. If you can’t grow seedlings of these flowers, be sure to try to sow them in the winter.
And there are also perennials that can be sown either before winter or in spring. But, as practice shows, the seedlings obtained from winter crops will come together more friendly and will develop much better.
Such plants include: arabis, gaillardia, viola, cloves, doronicum, peach leaf and Carpathian bells, lichenis, lupine, small petle, chamomile, obriet, yarrow, etc.
A list of summers, biennials and perennial flowers that can and should be sown before winter (with a brief description of the sowing characteristics for each crop), read in our material “20+ flowers that can be sown before winter”.