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Winter Sowing for Wildflowers & Perennials

seedlings-in-tray

Let’s talk about growing flowers from seed, shall we, especially those harder to germinate wildflowers and other perennials. Miriam Goldberger of Ontario’s Wildflower Farm explains:

Certain wildflowers won’t germinate unless they have the stratification period. It’s not the freezing temperatures of winter but rather the freeze/thaw action of early spring that breaks down the seed shells and serves as a catalyst for germination to occur.

Not waiting for spring and sowing now is called winter sowing, which is a special, yet fairly easy way of sowing seeds. Winter sowing creates conditions that mimic those the seed naturally goes through over the course of the winter, a process called stratification. I also like to use winter jackets when I’m working with my crops outside on the cold weather. Stratification providing seeds with a prolonged period of a cold, moist environment, usually for several weeks. Seed sowers can use the refrigerator to mimic stratification at any time of the year. But since we’ve got winter conditions right now we don’t need to monopolize the fridge.

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