Unseasonably warm weather can put a damper on your winter sowing season. Every time we have a mild winter, I get tons of people asking what to do. So, I thought I would write a post to share all of my tips for winter sowing during a mild winter.
The coolest thing about winter sowing seeds is the fact that you put those tiny greenhouses outside in the snow and freezing cold… and they grow when they’re ready in the spring! It amazes me every time.
But a mid-winter heatwave can cause premature germination. So it’s important to keep an eye on your containers to make sure they aren’t at risk.
The main concern is that the seeds will sprout too early during a warm spell, and then be killed off by freezing temperatures when winter goes back to normal.
Do I Need To Worry If We Have A Warm Spell?
For the most part, you shouldn’t have to worry. If the mild temperatures only last for a few days, then your seeds probably won’t germinate – especially if they are covered by snow.
If it’s more like an early spring than a mid-winter warmup, then you also shouldn’t be too concerned. As long as you used the right types of seeds, they will survive early germination just fine. Last year, my broccoli was germinating in containers that had ice on the insides of the lids, and the soil was still frozen!
However, if it’s during the early or middle of part of winter, and there is no snow, then you should definitely take some action in order to prevent premature seed germination.
Can I Prevent My Winter Sown Seeds From Germinating Early?
Though we ultimately can’t control when a seed will germinate, there are several things you can do to prevent your winter sown seeds from sprouting too early during a mild winter.
Here are a few tips to try to protect your winter sown seeds during a mild winter…
- Wait to start sowing until later in the winter. Here in Minnesota zone 4b, I usually start in mid-January. During a mild winter, I will wait a few weeks longer, depending on the weather forecast.
- Put your non-sprouting containers into the full shade. If the sun doesn’t hit the containers, they should stay cold enough to keep them from germinating.
- If the seeds are germinating, and the weather forecast calls for freezing temperatures, then you could either cover the containers with a blanket, or move them inside until the freezing spell passes.
- Cover your containers with snow whenever you can. The snow will help to block the sun, and act as an insulator to keep the soil cold. As long as your containers are covered by snow, the seeds will be fine.
- Save some of your seeds just in case. I always save a few seeds until spring just in case something goes wrong with my winter sowing. It’s a good habit to get into.
Winter sown seeds can germinate prematurely during a mild winter. But, as long as you take steps to protect them, and keep them cold, then you don’t have to worry. For more tips about caring for your spring containers, check out my winter sowing FAQs page.
If you’d like to learn how to winter sow, then my Winter Sowing eBook would be perfect for you. It’s got all the information and step-by-step instructions you need in order to be successful. Download your copy today!
Otherwise, if you’re ready to take it to the next level, and learn how to grow any type of seed you want, then you should take the Seed Starting Course. This fun online course is totally self-paced, and will teach you how to become a seed starting expert. Enroll and get started today!
More About Winter Sowing
- When To Start Winter Sowing Your Seeds
- How To Choose The Best Seeds For Winter Sowing
- Choosing The Best Soil For Winter Sowing
Share you tips for winter sowing during a mild winter in the comments below.