Sunday, January 24, 2016
January Means Garden Planning
Every year, I sort of plan my gardens in my mind and I get seeds and get ready to be organized and systematic in the winter and then suddenly it's May and I'm planting willy nilly and have no idea what I'm doing anymore.
I will proudly say that I label everything one way or another (usually with a sharpie and I write directly on the container), so it's not like I go out and have to guess at what every plant is as it emerges, but I'm bad about recording planting dates and highlighting the good vs. the less prosperous varieties. Plus, I hate to count ahead for the days when the seeds are supposed to be ready to harvest because that points out the end of summer for me way too far in advance.
Instead, I blindly go along from day to day watching progress, paying no attention to how many weeks it's supposed to take for some of my veggies to ripen.
The first year I had the greenhouse, I was good about writing in a notebook and I recorded every seed I planted for about 4 months. We had had a really mild winter that year and I was lucky enough to get peas going in March and lots of other stuff in April. The following year, we had a normal winter and a frost killed everything in April that had been doing so well. Lesson learned!
And then it was high summer and I was just a planting and replanting fool and the sun bleached my writing and I just gave up.
I know there are tons of garden planning apps and programs that would help me with this, but that would mean bringing my ipad to my greenhouse which would mean filthy and wet fingers all over it.
This year, I swear I'm getting a white board to write the dates I plant the seeds and when they emerge.
Last week, I ordered all of my seeds. Or so I thought. I was very methodical and actually wrote down everything I wanted to make sure I grow this year. I went through all of my current seeds to see what I have, how old they are and what I need.
I always thought ordering seeds from catalogs was something Pa did on Little House on the Prairie which in this modern age, I would have no need to do. As I've grown in my gardening knowledge and preferences, I've discovered that what I want isn't always available in my local stores. And what I want is organic and heirloom and definitely non-GMO. Seed catalogs seem to be the best choice for what I want.
And that's all I will say about my beliefs about organic, non-GMO and heirloom. Otherwise, another dissertation like this one will be the result and I can only torture my fans with one dissertation per quarter.
You probably imagine that I save my own seeds. Saving seeds can be a jackpot or a great disappointment. There's biology at work in creating seeds and if you have several varieties of plant, such as 5 kinds of tomatoes, they can end up cross pollinated. That means when the seeds form, they may or more likely will not, look like the original plant. So, the most amazing tomatoes this year might produce something awful next near. The way to prevent this is to grow one kind of plant in one garden and one kind in another but I have no desire to do that.
I have saved some beans from year to year and grown the offspring but that's about it. There's too much at stake in relying on my own saved seeds. If I didn't buy seeds and those that I saved didn't grow or weren't good, I'd be pretty mad that I didn't have whatever vegetable I would have had.
I've had great luck with seeds from Seeds of Change, so I definitely ordered from them. I've grow a few things from Territorial Seed and I've liked them, so I got a few seeds from them too. I always go to Seeds of Change first, because they were the first catalog I ever ordered from. If they don't have what I want, then I go to Territorial Seed.
And after I placed my orders, I realized I completely forgot to order cilantro. And these watermelon radishes that I keep seeing everywhere. I've asked around and people told me they got them from Seeds Now.
Since I follow Seeds Now on instagram, I knew they were having a flash sale this weekend, so I ordered my forgotten seeds from them.
Now I simply cannot wait to start my seeds in the greenhouse and get going. We just got a foot of snow, so it's definitely not time even for peas, but I'm excited to get my act together this year and have a very full summer of harvesting!