Get a head start on your garden with winter sowing

Since spring will be delayed (thanks, unreliable groundhog forecasters), the ground might take a bit longer to thaw, meaning green-thumbed gardeners could have a shorter growing season this year. 

But getting proactive with your plants now is the key to a plentiful backyard garden this year and doesn't require a big investment. Just some plastic bottles or containers, some seeds and soil, and a bit of sunlight can get you started on your own mini makeshift greenhouse. 

Here's how to do it:

  • Clean your plastic containers and then make holes at the top and bottom so water can drain and air can circulate—don't be stingy with your holes! And if you're using a milk jug or pop bottle, you'll need to cut around the bottle's circumference, leaving one area attached as a hinge.

  • Fill the containers with three to four inches of moist potting soil—not dry, not soaking.

  • Then scatter seeds and label the bottles, so you know what's germinating in there. Read the package for planting depths, and don't overcrowd.

  • Then put them outside where they will be exposed to some sun.

And voila! You've got a head start on your summertime garden. Here's a very detailed guide on winter sowing for more information.