"Cold stratification" I cringe every time I read these words on a seed packet while spring planting. I usually follow up by tossing the packet to the side and losing it amongst the less needy packets of cosmos and zinnias and sorts. Cold stratification in the spring means that you have to put your seeds in the fridge or freezer for an amount of time, where you will undoubtedly forget them. Then, one day in August you go to grab the last Lemon Ice and there they are, looking forlorn and smelling like the half eaten shrimp packet from New Year's.
What if I told you that your days of crustaceous-smelling coneflowers could be in the past?! All you have to do is REMEMBER TO PLANT YOUR SEEDS IN NOVEMBER! It doesn't actually have to be November, just any time where the ground isn't frozen and it's chilly enough outside that your seeds won't sprout. And yes, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, I will remind you every year to get those seeds in the ground. So there's no way you will ever have to subject your condiment shelf to weekly visits of larkspur again. By planting your seeds in fall you are starting seeds naturally, allowing mother nature to do the chilling for you. Be sure the seed is hardy to your growing zone and requires cold stratification. Seeds in this category usually include natives, which help out local pollinators and birds(win-win!). Some of the seeds we've planted out include:
I'm also going to test sweet peas and lisianthus but they are not in our zone, so it is a rogue mission which may flop miserably. I'll keep you posted.
*If you're worried about birds and squirrels getting to your seeds you might attempt winter sowing in a container to give your seed babies a fighting chance. Then, plant out in spring. It's more work but you'll get bigger, stronger plants.