Tomatoes & daffodils: when you can’t wait for spring

by Connie Oswald Stofko

seeds planted in milk jug during winter
These tomato plants were started from seed using the winter sowing method. They sprouted when the weather was right. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

It seemed like we had winter and summer at the same time last week. There was plenty of snow at our house to make a snowman, and my husband participated while wearing shorts!

In spite of that, it’s not spring yet– not even on the calendar!

But here are a couple of topics for this time of the year when we can’t wait for spring.

A trick to plant (some) seeds outside now

Last week we talked about planting seeds for cool weather plants, but I know many of you can’t wait to plant tomato seeds and seeds for other tender plants.

It’s still too early to plant them inside. The seeds will germinate, but the sprouts will get leggy and weak before you are able to transplant them outside (unless you have grow lights.)

Oddly enough, you can plant them outside now– using this trick: winter sowing.

Find the directions here to make a milk jug greenhouse and find ideas for other containers here. Plant your seeds in the container. Set the container outside in a sheltered spot. The seeds will know when to sprout.

Winter sowing will work with any seeds that can overwinter. Think of plants that might sprout up on their own from seeds in your compost pile, such as tomatoes, squash and cantaloupe. See lists of seeds on WinterSown.org.

Are my daffodils in trouble?

daffodil in snow
Just as the snow in my garden bed was retreating, the wind blew more snow in. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

After we enjoyed the short spate of warm weather, March came in like a lion. We got some snow, cold temperatures and lots of wind.

You may have noticed your spring bulbs or even perennials popping up now and wondered whether they can stand the cold temperatures.

Yes, it’s usual for those plants to show up at this time of year, and they will be fine.

In fact, you may have seen your plants sprout back in December when the weather was so mild.

It’s always a good idea to mulch around your perennials. That will help protect them if we get wild swings in temperatures.

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