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Gardening during the winter?

23 October 7:18 pm
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During the spring, for school we often have our students sprout seeds. Sometimes this is in cups or pots and we stick them in the window sill, while others start their flower and/or vegetable gardens outside. We teach our children how to grow food by our own hands, tend the field, pick the produce and enjoy the bounty. It is a complete educational program in its own rite. However, have you ever heard of starting seeds in the middle of winter? What about starting those seeds during winter and setting them in “greenhouses” outside for the entire winter? This includes leaving them there if it snows or rains.

Until recently, I had not heard of this either nor had I even thought that such a thing was possible. I was completely surprised to find a website (www.wintersown.org) that not only told me how it can be done, but explained the process.

It seems that seeds know when the weather is right for them to begin to sprout. So, you can plant your seeds, leave them all winter, they will sprout well, and they actually will be heartier plants. You can then transplant them into your garden with confidence they will survive any late frosts that may occur.

Another great aspect that I loved about this site is the writer of www.wintersown.org also involves recycling into the process. She utilizes left over soda bottles, large water bottles and Chinese take-out containers (the aluminum kind) to create “greenhouses”. So, you don’t have a big expense that would prevent you from using this method AND you can help re-enforce lessons you are doing on recycling.

Wintersown.org not only tells you about the process, but provides step by step instructions on how she set this up. She goes further to give you ideas of what seeds would work well in this process. The website has full of helpful hints and ideas.

There are so many lessons you can create out of this project. A few are the benefits of recycling, frugality, how seeds grow, solar power, why/how greenhouses work, companion planting, square foot gardening, vocabulary (sowing, reaping, germination, pollination, etc), helpful bugs, preserving the bounty, cooking (recipes, prep), and the list continues.

My family did a garden this past year, but I can’t wait to add this to our homeschooling experience.

For a discussion on this topic and others, please go to our discussion forums at http://forum.homeschool.com/forum/forum_topics.asp?FID=51.

Written by: Susan Harris
Homeschool.com News Editor

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