I am making a very conscious effort to have my garden planned out earlier this year. There was a huge increase of “quarantine gardens” last year. Because of this, the regular supply of seeds, pots, and other gardening supplies sold out sooner than they have in the past. This left many gardeners, new and seasoned alike, frustrated. It worked out okay for us. We are not brand-new gardeners, so we had seed starting supplies already, and had ordered the seeds we needed early enough. One thing I worried about was tomato starts. Tomato starts are available in April in my area, but they should be planted later. Unfortunately, I haven’t been successful in starting my own from seed. We felt very fortunate that our local feed store and small-chain hardware store had the starts we needed.
If you haven’t planned out your garden, now is the time.
It’s important to get your garden planned out, so that you know exactly what seeds and starts you will want to purchase. You want to do this now if you haven’t already. I’m not trying to instill fear or panic, I just want to set some realistic expectations for those shopping for seeds. Several seed companies are already putting new orders on hold to fulfill the ones they have already received. This is not because there is a seed shortage…there isn’t. This is due to results of the ongoing pandemic, and it’s effects on the employees in many businesses, including seed companies. It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the employees and staff who are working so hard to meet the demand in a market that has seen such a huge upturn in business this past year. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have this post to share.
My garden isn’t planned out -where do I start?
First thing, if you already have some seeds, inventory what you have. This can be handwritten on a note pad,, or in a garden journal, or entered into a spreadsheet. Personally, I have found a garden journal to be incredibly useful. I started one last March, in a composition notebook, that has been an incredibly valuable asset when I planned out this year’s garden.
Next, map out where you are planning to plant this year. If you gardened last year, try to make note of what was in these areas last year, this is important for crop rotations. Again, a garden journal would come in handy here.
The fun part of getting your garden planned out:
Last step is the most fun! Get out your seed catalogs, actual or virtual, and start shopping. Make a list of the general plant types you want, example: cucumbers. Then make note of ones that are suitable for your gardening zone, and what you will be using them for; i.e. salads/slicing vs. pickling. Once you have a list compiled, get your order in. If one seed company doesn’t have everything you want, check another. Many carry the same or very similar varieties.
Where do I order my garden seeds?
This is entirely personal and depends upon your region. Many gardeners find that if they shop from a seed seller in their zone or region, there is a better variety of seeds suited to their particular zone. Your company choice will also depend on what type of seeds you would like to purchase: Heirloom, Organic, Hybrid, or a combination of these. Please note: Hybrid does not necessarily mean they are GMO. Different seed companies focus on varying types, and some carry an assortment of all.
I have had good results with my purchases from True Leaf Market Seed Company | Buy Non-GMO, Heirloom, Organic Seeds The seeds I have ordered from them have had great germination rates. Their prices and variety of seeds is good, and the order came very quickly. That being said, there are lots of seed companies in my region that have come highly recommended. The catalogs they mailed are gorgeous and fun to browse (see pic below).
Now, go get your garden planned out -it’s not too late! When your seeds come, get them organized, maybe by planting date -whatever will work best for you to get them into your garden when the time is right. I like to keep mine in this “seed suitcase” also used as a photo storage container for scrappers. It’s on sale at Amazon now.
For more on our Winter gardening process visit: Gardening in December • Crafting Our World
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