Why Buy Seeds In The Winter?

Why Buy Seeds In The Winter?

Growing plants from seed is one of the most life-affirming things we can do. Whether they are started inside in a very sunny window or under lights, or outside directly in the ground, watching as seeds sprout and grow is like witnessing a small miracle. Personally, I love visiting my pots first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee and peeking to see what might have germinated. Watching the process is mood-lifting…and getting many plants for less money is satisfying too.

Some people are getting seeds now for starting outside, either in pots, milk-jugs or directly on the ground. Seeds such as milkweed (Asclepias species) need a chilling period, so planting them outside in January or February provides the conditions they need to germinate.

Occasionally people want to put winter-hardy seeds outside so that it’s done and the plants will start to grow once the soil temperatures warm in the spring. Perennials such as Rudbeckia, lance-leaved Coreopsis, or Joe Pye weed (Eupatorium) can be planted out now, along with winter hardy annual seeds like California poppies or alyssum (Lobularia). Cool-weather vegetables such as lettuce, coriander, and broccoli raab can also be planted. None of these are likely to sprout until the soil warms in April, but they will survive freezing temperatures if put outside now.

Purchasing seeds now ensures that you’ll be prepared when it is time to plant them indoors. Peppers get started in February, tomatoes and perennials in March, and fast growing annuals or herbs in April. And if you have certain plants or varieties that you love to grow, getting them in advance of the season avoids disappointment should those be sold out at planting time.

Seeds purchased in advance can be kept in a storage container or drawer, but they can also be displayed or organized in decorative ways. Many seed packets are attractive, and just seeing them on the center of your table or against a bulletin board cheers us up. Displaying seed packages in average room temperatures is fine, but avoid placing them near radiators or other heat-sources.

If you want to learn more about growing plants from seed, register for our virtual class in seed starting, which is happening on Sunday February 12th at 4 PM. The class will be over by 5:30, so if you’re a fan of the Super Bowl, you’ll still have time to get the snacks ready before the big game. And if you’re not a football fan, you’ll be ready for a life-affirming evening, planning the amazing gardens that you’re going to grow from seed.

Small wire photo holders can be used to display seed packets. You might start by displaying the peppers or perennials that have a longer germinating period. After those are started, place the tomatoes or other seeds in the holder to remind you to plant them in March.
Tiny clothespins that are sold at craft stores are perfect for holding seed packets on a cord or ribbon. Here, they were displayed according to when the seeds get sown indoors.
Look in your closets or other storage areas and see what you might have that will display seeds attractively. Here the packets were pinned and piled in a tiered wire basket.
Clear glass vases make a practical and attractive way to display seeds. You might put the seeds that you want to start in March in one vase, those for April in another, and the packets for planting in May in a third.
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  1. Julia Wright on January 12, 2023 at 7:53 am


    Thanks for fun info.
    Just wanted to say there’s a spelling error in your first paragraph. In the sentence that begins with ‘personally’ the word peaked when used in this sentence should be spelled PEEKED.

    • CLFornari on January 16, 2023 at 10:27 am

      Thanks for the heads up, Julia! I’ve fixed it. “It takes a village…” 😉

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