When my children were little, around this time of year I would often tell them to look for signs of spring. Now, I live in New Jersey and this winter it is a little hard to find any signs of spring under the mounds of snow but they are there. Not only are they under the snow, they arrive in my mail box frequently in the form of gardening catalogs.
I love to garden and around now I am dreaming of being outside working in the garden. Gardening can get expensive, so in my garden I tend to favor perennial plants. They come back every year and as they get big you can divide them up. The thing is buying them also gets expensive and it can be hard to find unusual varieties so I have been working on starting them from seeds.
Now starting perennial seeds can be tricky. They often require stratification which according to Wikipedia is " the process of treating seeds prior to sowing to simulate natural winter conditions that a seed must endure before germination." There are a variety of techniques for this such as chipping the seed or soaking it but I have not had great success with them.
In a nutshell, it involves planting the seeds in milk cartons and sticking them outside for the winter. The website gives all the instructions on how to do it so I will not repeat them here. I am using it again this year and so far have started two batches of seeds.
Last year I wrote the names of the plants on the cartons but by the time the seeds sprouted the names had washed off so it was hard to tell what was what. This year I am numbering the cartons and keeping track in a note book.
If you like to garden, I hope you will try this technique. Then you wont have to wait until the snow is gone to start your garden.
Have a fun day!