WVMS students find winter planting project to be sow cool


WVMS students find winter planting project to be sow cool

May 12, 2021

WVMS teacher and long-time gardener Ms. Lena Fahringer first learned about the process known as “winter sowing” from gardening magazines and YouTube videos. She’d been wanting to experiment with the process herself and, with buy-in from some of her plant-loving colleagues, decided to “dig into” a winter sowing project with students from her class and the classes of Ms. Diana Piascik, Ms. Janeen Mitchell, and Ms. Christina Galow.

“I think it’s important that the students have direct contact with plants. It’s the best way for them to develop an interest in gardening,” said Ms. Fahringer. “It’s also a great way to foster a love for the environment.”

The winter sowing project involved students planting a variety of seeds inside of plastic milk jugs that are partially filled with compost. The jugs act as scaled-down greenhouses, and the conditions that develop inside the containers allow for the seeds to sprout outdoors during cold months, shielded from the effects of the weather.

The project began with initial sowing at the start of April, and the students transferred their blooming plants from the jugs to flowerpots during the first week of May.

Everything from planting to maintenance and the subsequent repotting took place outdoors, in the courtyard adjacent to the Gamma classrooms. The added protection of the courtyard meant the students had a useful, safe environment to gather plenty of hands-on, real-world experience with their plants.

“The students learned about growing cold-hardy and perennial seeds in their gallon jugs,” said Ms. Fahringer. “The students were eagerly checking in on their seedlings multiple times a week, watering them carefully with spray bottles. Most of the seedlings germinated brilliantly and some grew almost to the top of their jugs.”

Students worked excitedly in small groups and individually, digging into bags of potting soil and transplanting their seedlings from jugs to pots, where they will be able to continue to flourish. As the novice gardeners worked, one student eagerly – and cleverly – shared her feelings of the project, saying she thought it had been “sow cool!”

“The students have learned so much and had so much fun developing their green thumbs with this project,” said Ms. Fahringer. “We’ve definitely planted the seeds for a budding interest in growing!”


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