JumpStart Your Garden: TIPS FOR WINTER SOWING


Spring is going to be here in just a couple of months! JumpStart your garden by getting everything you need for seed starting, from soil to cell packs. Plus, Van Wilgen’s now carries 4 different seed lines, with more selection than ever before! Remember – a lush garden filled with bright flowers and ripe veggies starts with sowing seeds indoors.

Everything you need to get started

If you’re looking for high-quality seeds, you’re in luck! This year, we have a greater selection than ever before, made up of 4 unique seed companies.

Hudson Valley Seed Co: A great source for organic, non-GMO open-pollinated and heirloom seeds! Each seed packet is a work of art. The Hudson Valley team works with artists for interpretations and stories to go with each variety. New to us starting in 2023, these have been a hit! If you liked them last year, you’ll be happy to know we brought them back and DOUBLED our selection.

High Mowing Organic Seeds: Committed to providing the best in organic, non-GMO seeds. High Mowing sources many of the varieties they sell directly from independent and passionate organic seed farmers!

Botanical Interests: A trusted company that sells only high quality, non-GMO, and organic seeds, all responsibly made in the USA! You can rest easy knowing their seed packets are never treated or contain any fillers.

Hart Seeds: With over a century of experience, Hart Seeds is one of the oldest seed companies! Their products are never genetically engineered, and they are based out of Wethersfield, Connecticut.

What varieties of seeds can you start right now? Consider onions, leeks, peppers, catnip, chives, parsley, oregano, pansies, echinacea, lavender, rudbeckia, milkweed, coreopsis, foxglove, ice plant, broccoli, kale, lettuce, and others that require a cold period to break their dormancy.

Everything you need for indoor seed starting is here. We recommend getting your hands on some of Espoma’s Organic Seed Starter Premium Potting Mix. Getting nutrient-filled soil is a super important step ensure to healthy growth! You’ll also find grow lights and alternatively, heat mats, which are great to put under your cell packs to help your seeds germinate faster.

Sow seeds outside

Don’t have the room to spare indoors? You can sow many seeds outside in plastic containers like milk or water jugs and salad containers! This method creates mini greenhouses and inside the jugs will be 10-15 degrees warmer than the outside temp. Cut a plastic jug in the middle, leaving a hinge on the back. Fill the bottom half with soil, plant your seeds, and then tape the jug back up. Be sure to put any labels inside the containers so they don’t get destroyed by the elements. Place them in an area where they will get some sun. You can start most seeds in this environment – great for perennials, onions, leeks, and more. No squash or pumpkins!

Some seeds require cold stratification and can be planted directly in the ground during the winter, and in some cases, directly into the snow! Direct sowing is great because there is no transplanting involved, which some varieties (like poppies) don’t respond well to. Just be sure to mark where you put each seed so you don’t mistake them for weeds when they pop up in the spring! All the varieties in the image below can be directly sown, but if you’re curious about others, always take a look at the instructions on the back.

Helpful Hints:

1. You do not have to plant all the seeds that come in a packet. Feel free to save them and they will last a very long time if protected from the humidity. Store in sealed plastic bags or mason jars with lids on them.

2. Know your zone! CT is spread across a few different zones… being aware of your estimated frost dates will help you make educated decisions on when to start which seeds.

3. Seeds that have a longer growing period are fine to plant now. You don’t want to plant seeds with shorter growing periods that like warm temps. For example, if you were to start tomatoes, by the time they are ready to be put in the ground it would still be far too cold outside to plant them!