I have a binder full of gardening ideas, but since I don't actually have a garden, I'm free to indulge in impractical, expensive, even downright silly flights of gardening fancy. Real gardeners can't be so frivolous, so when the most prolific gardener I know printed out an article about snow-sowing seeds, I knew it was something worth looking into.
The article in question was Seed Sowing In The Snow from the always-excellent Garden Design Magazine. In twelve simple but oh-so-smart steps, Kevin Lee Jacobs walks us through every aspect of winter sowing (a technique he credits Trudi Davidoff with inventing). See also What To Sow and When on Kevin's own gardening blog. Basically, recycled plastic containers become mini-greenhouses, letting in light and moisture while still protecting the seedlings. Plants sown in this way are naturally hardy, and impatient gardeners are able to relieve a bit of their spring fever.
If I were to do this, my main issue (after acquiring land) would be obtaining plastic containers. Kevin says that any work but gallon milk jugs are ideal- I don't drink milk or pop, and buying milk or pop just for the sake of the jug isn't exactly "recycling". If you're in the same boat, I recommend you tip your local barista well, then ask if you could have a day's or week's worth of their empty milk jugs. They may even appreciate the extra space in their recycling bin. You might become known as The Milk Jug Dude, but isn't it worth it for the sake of your baby plants?
(Image: Kevin Lee Jacobs for Garden Design)