Winter Sowing is seed starting without the window space. I have lots of windows, but I also have lots of little boys that knock down trays full of dirt and seeds so there will not be a lot of windowsill seed starting for many many years. The answer for me is winter sowing. You basically pick seeds that will work (a list of good candidates is HERE!), sow them in a flat or recyclables (such as yogurt cups or milk jugs with the tops cut off) and let nature have its way with them. They sit outside frozen in the snow until everything starts warming up. The seeds germinate in their containers and you don't have to ease them outside like you do with traditional indoor started seedlings. They are already used to the outdoor weather. It's genius. I wish I had been the one to discover it.
Moving on...start with your container. I was lucky enough to find all these containers out in the shed when we moved in. The nice new flat on the bottom was from DH - thanks! However, like I mentioned before, you can poke holes in the bottom of any plastic container and it will work!
Second, you will need some soil or a soiless base. These pellets were included with the flats and are little peat dehydrated munchkins. You can buy these (they are fairly cheap) or buy potting soil. If you have compost, you can use that too, but you might get other seeds growing that you weren't expecting. It is up to you how in depth you go. If you are just messing around and trying this for the first time, get an empty sour cream container (cleaned!), fill it with dirt and use a seed like coneflower. You'll be good to go!
Wait several hours (or days) until the soil is wet, but not sopping and the soil is all about the same level in its "slots". When your soil is ready, it is time to begin the fun part - choosing seeds!
THANKS to BECKY for guest hosting this set of winter sowing articles!