Planting seeds in the winter is similar to planting seeds at any other time of year, only most winter-planted seeds will not sprout until spring if you live in a climate that freezes. Certain bulbs, such as begonias, gladiolas and dahlias need a cold period to grow well, so they should be planted in winter to take advantage of the cold ground. Pansies also benefit from winter planting and will be full grown and ready to flower come summer.
Plant seeds in the winter before the ground freezes. Once the ground freezes, you will not be able to plant anything until it thaws. If you live in an area in which the ground does not freeze, plant once the soil is below 50 degees Fahrenheit.
Choose a place in your garden to plant the seeds. Make sure the area you choose corresponds with the needs of the plant, such as full sun or well-drained soil.
Prepare the soil for the seeds. Remove any weeds or rocks. Rake the ground well to loosen the soil. Add compost or manure to the soil to improve it if needed. Work the compost or manure into the soil.
Sprinkle annual seeds over the tilled soil. Rake a quarter inch of soil on top of the seeds.
Dig holes for perennials or bulbs. Dig holes as deep as the seed or bulb's instructions suggest and place the seed or bulb into the holes. Cover the holes with soil.
Water the freshly planted seeds until the ground is moist. Keep the ground moist until it freezes.
Mark each patch of seeds or bulbs so you know what to expect will grow in the spring.