It’s January of a brand new year, and I’m full of excited anticipation. I will have a great year, dang it! One of my main goals this year is to be able to provide most of my family’s summer vegetable needs, and a lot of winter canned good needs, from my garden. That’s a hefty goal, considering how my garden turned out last year. Ugh. Well, my first check off for this BIG goal is ordering seeds.
There is something wonderful about receiving seed catalogues in your mailbox during the cold depths of winter. As you leaf through the pages of each catalogue, you can feel yourself working in the garden. The sun beats down on you, making your skin sweat. You brush your hand along the leaves looking for hidden bounty. You place the veggies you find gingerly in a basket, and head to the kitchen. Your dinner that night is full of fresh, homegrown produce. Ahhh… peace!
And then the rain/hail/snow on the windows snaps you back into the present. Sigh! Soon. Soon you will be there. For now, you will order seeds, and keep day dreaming.
Take Stock of What You Already Have
My first task is to take inventory of what seeds are leftover from last year. I pull out my box of seeds, and put them back into alphabetical order. During the growing season, they are just tossed back into the box when I’m done. I’m chaotic that way.
I list everything in a notebook, within categories, and list how many packets I have of each. This will help me determine if I need to reorder.
Decide What You Need
This year, when I went through my seed box, I was amazed at how many seeds I have. Apparently I over ordered last year. But going through this process should help me from over ordering this year. I know for a fact that I have PLENTY summer squash seeds, and PLENTY bean and pea seeds. But I am in desperate need of tomato and Brussels sprouts seeds.
I put a notation by the type of seeds I need to reorder, and I’m finally ready to dig into the pile of catalogues!
Peruse Your Favorite Catalogue(s)
Oh, I find seed catalogues so delicious! I prefer the high color ones, with a picture for each variety. That way I can imagine the taste. And I love reading the descriptions, looking for my trigger words… firm flesh, meaty taste, robust, vigorous vines, heirloom, frilly-leafed.
While I try to stick with just what I’ve outlined as necessary in my notebook; I’m always on the lookout for something new and beyond my resistance! A new flower, an herb I haven’t grown before, something unique that I’ve never tasted. I write down the item numbers, and the amount I need so I can enter them in their website.
I receive quite a few seed catalogues, but I will only order from seeds companies in my vicinity. My theory is: local seeds have a better chance of success in my fickle growing area. Being on the Oregon coast, we have a short growing season. This means I have to pay special attention to the maturity days. Trial and error has proven that I am unable to grow a beefsteak tomato. It will not ripen before the first frost, and I have limited space in my teeny greenhouse.
I also look for companies that have a ‘safe seed pledge’. This means that the seeds are not genetically modified. This is important to me, personally. I’m not protesting Monsanto at rallies, but I do disagree with their entire business, and I avoid their products on principle.
My two favorite seed companies are Bountiful Gardens and Territorial seed companies. Territorial is a family owned Oregon company, and Bountiful Gardens was located in Northern California. Unfortunately, Bountiful Gardens is no longer in business, but I absolutely loved their seeds. They had a kid’s seed pack that was so fun. It was full of random seeds, and my kids enjoyed trying to guess what would come up. I realize I could do this myself, and I think I will this year.
Next, I head online to the seed company of choice, and start plugging in my order numbers. My intention is to order only what I’ve written down, but 9 times out of 10, I start looking through their website for anything that wasn’t in the catalogue. I also can’t resist sales and clearances, so if I can swap something there, I will do it.
Once I have everything I ‘need’ in my cart, I freak out at the price, and then start taking out the seeds that were impulse adds. I always spend more than I intend to, but why not. It’s delicious, healthy food that I enjoy growing!
And there you have it. That is how this gardener orders her seeds. Have you ordered your seeds yet this year?