Monday, February 13, 2012

The First Step to Gardening 2012: Inventory

Its that time again. We've already gotten the catalogs. We've walked slowly past the new seed racks at Walmart or Fleet Farm. We've sat with a Sharpie on a snowy day and circled exquisitely-photographed produce, each more fabulously described than the last (I want that job...I truly do). We've already imagined the ultimate yard, densely framed by beautiful plants which also cut our grocery bills. 

Now is the first step into reality. We have to inventory our current seeds (bought in the first blush of idealism last year or 3 years ago) and decide what we really need and what we can actually afford. 

Not quite as fun. 

First of all, I keep my seeds in old mayonnaise containers I got for free at a garage sale. They're fairly large (gallon size?) and have screw lids. I organized the seeds according to planting time and type: Cold Weather (greens, peas), Hot Weather (peppers, squash, corn, zucchini), Beans, Herbs, Flowers, Tomatoes. 

Storage: I've kept my seeds in different places over the years. Usually I keep them in these jars on a shelf in the basement (50-70 degrees F). A few years I kept certain jars in the freezer. If you have a lot of seeds you know you can't use up within a few years (my crazy Tomatoes collection for instance) it makes more sense to keep them in the freezer. They're more likely to be viable when you want to use them. 

Next, I sit down for an hour and make a list of what seeds I have with a mark (+, =, -) indicating whether the packets are full, half full, or almost gone.

Finally I look over the list and try to make a realistic list of what I need. We always need paste tomatoes, or yellow zucchini or leaf lettuce. The last thing I do is choose  1 or 2 new veggies to try. This year I'm ordering baby savoy cabbage (dh made dumplings).

So let's get those orders in before Spring sneaks up on us. How are things going? Do you have a schedule for ordering new seeds?


Daphne said...

I always try to order my seeds at the end of December. I grow my onions from seed and they have to be planted in January. So all that planning happens early.

JEvraets said...

I ordered my seeds and received them already. Normally I wait another month or so but this easy winter got the gardening bug moving early! Not a bad thing. I'm not planting anything new...just making more of an effort to plant all heirlooms.

We always order or seeds from Jung's. Is that where you order from?

Tam said...

Must be nice to live in zone 6, Daphne!

J, I try to buy seeds within a similar zone to mine (US 4). I've bought seeds from Pinetree Gardens in Maine (very reasonable), Jungs (we have a store within 20 miles so I pick up what I forget), and I've done an order or two from Seed Savers (specialty stuff).

This year I did something totally different and ordered from John Scheeper's Kitchen Garden Seeds in Connecticut. It was a small order and wanted to try them out. I ordered late last week and got them Monday.

I think Totally Tomatoes is from Wisconsin so I may try them next. I don't think they have much stock outside of tomatoes though. I like to get everything at the same time if I can.

What did you order this year?