Monday, February 24, 2014

Getting Ready to Garden {Choosing Seeds}

 I am hoping to get my seeds ordered this week. I would have liked to have gotten this done a while ago but just hadn't found the time. That is all right since up here in the North country we can't plant outside until the very end of May and we don't even plant are seedlings inside until April. However since I order my seeds from Fedco (at least for the most part) they do sometimes run out of seeds so if I don't order early (they start taking orders the 1st of January) I might not get exactly what I wanted. So I do need to get on the ball now.

When getting ready to order seeds my first step is to look through what I have left over from last year and also what seeds did I get saved. For the most part I buy heirloom seeds and that makes it so I can save them and still get a good result. Now my child plant might not be exactly like the parent as I don't have the space to have totally separate plots for each different variety nor do I have the inclination to only buy one variety of each type of vegetable. That said I have still had good results with saving seeds and just sometimes end up with a veggie that is a mixture of a couple of varieties. I don't mind that element of surprise but probably not everybody would like that.

  As far as using seeds left over from other years goes - they will gradually lose their viability as they get older. However I have generally found them to do pretty good. I just plant them a little thicker (and then thin them if they still come up really good) and haven't had many problems. You can test them ahead of time if you want to see what the germination rate is - I found instructions here.
 Some other things to consider when getting ready to order seeds are:

  • What does my family really like to eat? We have tried various types of beans and what we have found out is that our family does not like flat beans, we do not like yellow or wax beans and we don't like any stringy ones. That might sound picky but it is the truth and there are a lot of beans that we do like so we will stick with those (as much as I do love to try new things!). Think of other favorites and make sure to plant plenty of those things.
  • What do you buy now that you could grow instead? We buy lots of onions and garlic and I need to figure out how to grow these better. Carrots are another thing that I like that though we have been able to grow decently some years - I still have never grown enough to cover our needs.
  • What herbs would you like to figure out how to grow and use better? Herbs are very fun to grow and I have found that it works best (at least for me) to add just a couple of varieties each year to learn how to use and grow. I tend to concentrate on adding them for their health benefits even more than their culinary uses.
  • How much room do you really have? If you are like me when you think about gardening in the middle of winter it can make you feel pretty excited. Paging through a seed catalog only makes that excitement rise and pretty soon I find I have a list of seeds that I want that would be enough to fill a bunch of gardens! When ordering seeds (at least for me) it is good to through a bit of common sense into the mix and not buy way more than I need or can use.
Something that I have found helpful is my little homesteading notebook. In it I am trying (I am not the best record keeper) to keep a record of what I planted, how they did and what my harvest was like. If you keep a notebook like this for a while it will be very helpful for making gardening decisions.

  Do you already have your seeds purchased for your garden this year?
Do you save any of your seeds?
What is your strategy for deciding what to plant?
I would love to have you join in the conversation!

When I think of Gardening and seeds it makes me think of these verses:

John 12:24-26. "Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me ; and where I am there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him."

It reminds me of how important it is for me to be like the seeds and be willing to die to myself so that good will result.

I will be linking this post to some of the parties listed in my side bar.

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