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What do Flower Farmers do in the Winter? Sowing of Course!

Flower Farming may seem like a very seasonal type of job. Plant in the Spring, harvest in the Summer and Fall, and then take 3 months off. While faming flowers does give us a bit of a break during the Holiday season, in reality it is a short-lived respite, by Christmas, we are back at it, planning, ordering, laying out new bed spaces and of course Winter Sowing.

Winter Sowing is a process where certain veggies, flowers, and herbs are planted and started outdoors in containers. Usually between December and March. Cold weather causes seeds to stratify and prompts the earliest, naturally available germination time. Many of our native perennials require stratification (softening of the seed coat through moisture and temperature fluctuations) to break seed dormancy.

But why Winter Sowing? There are lots of intangible benefits to winter of our favorites is 'No Muss No Fuss'. For years we have started seeds indoors (very conventionally) in the winter. We had flats of seeds on every flat surface in our home, with little goat paths to get from room to room. Grow lights everywhere also meant increased electric bills as we tried to artificially increase daylight hours. This type of indoor sowing can lead to 'leggy' plants that require even more of our time once they begin to be placed outside. These early, spindly plants require a hardening off phase in the Spring, which is time consuming and tiresome. Winter sowing eliminates the mess, the excess lighting requirements and even much of the leggy-ness of the new seedlings. Also by using recycled containers like milk jugs and plastic salad containers we save on waste and the cost of new planting trays with humidity domes. Smaller containers like milk jugs also let us sow 'trial' seeds in a more contained environment so they are easily segregated during the Spring planting. Oh yeah, and we can still see the floor in March!!

There are many great seed starting articles out there...use your time now, to save you some time later. Remember, flower farming is supposed to be a fun, light hearted endeavor that causes joy and laughter. We are praying you find inspiration this February...and GET SOWING!!!

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