It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Seed catalog season is here!
I love selecting seeds, in fact it’s one of my favorite aspects of gardening. Unlike buying produce from the store or farmers market, home gardeners have the wonderful opportunity to select unique, rare, or heirloom varieties. Choosing your own seed also opens up a whole new culinary opportunity. Many varieties of fruits or vegetables taste divine but because they don’t transport well for grocery stores we’ve never tasted them.
However because of the amazing selection of seeds, home gardeners can feel overwhelmed with figuring out what to buy and grow.
Here are some tips for going through your seed stash and making sure you don’t get carried away (ahem I always still do 😉 )
Creating your Seed Inventory
The first thing you want to do before selecting your seeds is to create a seed inventory of your current seed stock. If you’re a beginner gardener or used up all your seed last year you can skip this part.
When you take seed inventory you’ll want to make note of the type of fruit or vegetable, the variety, the seed company, the date you purchased them and the seed shelf life (your seed packet might say something like seed life: 1 year). Then you’ll want to make note of how much you have left and if you need to order more.
I’m offering you a freebie printable which is one of the many sheets that comes with my printable garden planner (which also has ‘seeds to purchase’ and ‘important seed packet info’ for example).
DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE –> Seed Inventory Printable
Interested in more printables to help you stay organized?
Figuring out what to grow
I’ve written many garden planning articles on this site about how to figure out what to grow & you can also check out my book
- Garden Planning: How Much to Plant?
- Grow More Food with Smart Garden Planning
- Gardening for Troubled Times: Modern Victory Gardens
- Designing for Large-Scale Home Food Production
- Can you Grow Enough Food to Feed a Family?
- How to Plant your Fall & Winter Garden
- How to Grow Food 365 Days a Year
- Our family grew $ 2,000 worth of food last year
‘Preventing’ Seed Addiction
The new seed catalogues are at your fingertips.
You’ve been browsing through the beautiful pages, making notes on your favorite varieties and even reading them before bed.
It’s the beginning of winter and you haven’t had dirt in your fingernails for weeks. You’re needing a gardening fix. Buying seeds for the upcoming growing season seems like the perfect solution.
The next thing you know you’re giddy with anticipation at the parcel of carefully chosen seeds arriving any day in the mailbox. They arrive! Oh the joy!
Now you start garden planning and you’re struggling to fit in all the varieties. Did you really order so many? What were you thinking? Perhaps you over did it. Perhaps your gardening heart was bigger than common sense. Perhaps you even need to hide your seed stash from your spouse.
Welcome to the world of the Obsessive Seed Collector.
Some of you will be excellent at choosing what vegetables you want to grow and then carefully selecting your varieties based from your available growing space.
Others (hello!) will browse through the seed catalogues like a hungry wolf, scouting out anything that looks pleasing to the eye. Sometimes it’s the description, sometimes it’s the name. Sometimes it’s the strangeness of a new heirloom and sometimes it’s the stunning beauty. For whatever reason. Now you have 120 varieties to figure out where to put.
I’ve been that person.
However realistically it’s probably not the greatest idea to have too many varieties because of:
- Cost. Higher input = less dollar value gained from your homegrown produce.
- Planning. How are you really going to fit in so many varieties within one growing season?
- Harvest. Having too many varieties means you end up harvesting just a handful of each kind.
- One Meal? Will your produce only give you one meal? Wouldn’t it be better to grow more plants of one variety?
- True Test. You won’t fully know if that variety is best suited to your micro-climate and garden with such a small test plot.
It’s a better idea to figure out what you or your family eats and grow those crops instead. THEN you can select your varieties based on what season you’re growing them in.
Interested in learning more about garden planning?
My Garden Planning ebook will help you figure out what you eat, what you’re spending all your hard earned money on and what you should grow.
This Book Will Teach You:
The basics of garden design.
Factors in deciding what to grow.
Figure out what your family eats and spends on produce.
How to maximize your food production with 20 methods.
Grow the most profitable crops to really dent your grocery bill.
How to design your garden & offset the costs on new garden beds.
The basics of succession sowing for increased productivity.
How to select your seeds and when to sow your crops.
Creating an awesome sowing and transplanting schedule.
How to practice crop rotation for healthier soil.
Advanced crop rotation: when you practice intensive or companion planting.
Creating a back up plan with crop failures.
Learn how you can expand your garden and knowledge over the years.
How to write a garden journal.