Wednesday, February 21, 2007

garden planning

I stayed home from work today recovering from a brief stomach flu bug that hit last night. I was feeling better but not well enough to sit through a meeting that was scheduled. I'm so disappointed! :) I was feeling well enough, however, to gather all my seed catalogs and sit by the table overlooking the bird feeder, and do some serious garden and seed order planning.

It is serious business. Face it, I've got perhaps forty more chances in this lifetime to grow a garden, and I intend to make the best use of the opportunity. Why grow a few industrial hybrid veggies distributed by a subsidiary of the most evil corporation known to humanity (ummm, I guess that would be pretty much all of them) when I can be subversive and grow heirlooms, choosing from an almost infinite number of varieties, even save my own seed if I find something that works well here?

The number one reason, perhaps, is time. With so many varieties to choose from, it takes some careful study to decide what is best for my area and my needs. Take for example tomatoes. I have a pitifully short, unpredictable growing season, and with rainfall it may be feast or famine. I am looking for something that will produce before August, a couple interesting cherry type tomatoes for snacking and possibly marketing, some productive paste varieties for salsa and canning, and some heavenly slicing varieties. So far my list stands at twenty varieties, several in each of the above categories. Most of them I have already, but I still feel the need to experiment and hopefully stumble on THE perfect variety.

In past years I have mostly confined my exacting selection process to tomatoes. However, this year I am giving each other vegetable careful thought. So far I'm growing three or four different kinds of carrots, several beans (both pole and bush), and I'm staying up nights debating the perfect pickling cucumber. Not to mention winter squashes (between my stash and what I want to order I could have eight or more types!) and peppers (which, fortunately I closed the book on; I already have an order of four varieties from Seed Savers Exchange, plus a stash of three).

This ain't just a hobby, however. This is food. This is life. This is pretty serious business. But it is a lot of fun, imagining and dreaming the possibilities.

While I was pondering the possibilities, the pine grosbeaks showed up promptly at 10:15, not more than two minutes after I thought to myself "the pine grosbeaks usually show up right about now." And, I won the bet from yesterday, I heard Canada geese this morning! Spring is not too far off now.

9 comments:

Floridacracker said...

Good luck making your decisions. I was impressed last year by the great variety in your garden.

LauraHinNJ said...

The optimism of the seed catalog...


Curious to know what company you like to order heirlooms from?

clairesgarden said...

infected with seed frenzy!!!! happens a lot at this time of year!
some short seson tomatoes recommended on here http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/veggies/tomato1.html
and heritage seeds here http://www.seedfest.co.uk/

Deb said...

FC- thanks. I'm just impressed by the sheer variety of what's out there, and the history behind it all. Kind of like your Datil peppers. By the way, I have the Seed Savers Exchange members directory, and just one person from Brandon, FL is offering Datil pepper seeds. Are there many others still growing it there and saving seeds?

LauraHinNJ- Glad you asked! Clockwise, from the left: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (good variety and a small family start-up business with real passion), Seeds of Change (now owned by M&M Mars, but they got me interested in this whole open pollinated seed thing!), Seed Savers Exchange (great selection and they do great things, and they are the most local seed catalog for me), far right- Pinetree (good prices if you want to just try a few varieties), partially covered by Sand Hill Preservation Center (a literal mom & pop operation who offer a tremendous variety of seeds as well as rare breeds of poultry). Beneath Pinetree and Sand Hill is Fedco, who I probably will be ordering most of my seeds and all of my potato tubers from this year. Good prices, and I like the not-so-glossy black and white honesty and wisdom in their catalog. Not pictured is Territorial Seeds out of Oregon, who offer a wide variety of seeds and garden accessories (I plan to order onion seedlings from them), and Johnny's, who I guess had a problem with catalog distribution this year, so I have not received my catalog yet.

clairesgarden- Thanks for the links- I see a couple of my planned varieties are on the recommended lists! Seed frenzy is alive and well here, although to be prudent I should at least wait until the first of March to start anything.

Floridacracker said...

Deb,
Back in the late early '90's my dad sold little packs of datil seeds through a state sponsored farm market newsletter.
Datils are usually passed from person to person rather than marketed.

Deb said...

FC- That is exactly what needs to be happening with so many other localized varieties of seeds. I'm glad to hear the seed tradition is being carried on there. I don't think my area was settled nearly long enough to have any kind of a seed culture.

Farm Fairy & Bruno said...

Funny I too spent the last week planning the garden...Stranger yet I have the same wonderful Mexican glasses...with ice tea in hand, it snowing here and the seed packages all spread out..good luck on choosing what to plant!

Deb said...

farm fairy & bruno- Welcome! And, when I saw the name "Bruno" the first thing I thought was that some local person had found my blog; that's the name of the nearest town. Isn't garden planning fun? And I love my Mexican glassware with the blue rims; unfortunately I have broken enough of them that I need to find more soon. I think I got them at Pier One.

Farm Fairy & Bruno said...

they are the only ones that Bruno has not managed to break...When in town I always stop by Ross and see if they have any...and snag them up I found speckled ones a year ago! And wine type a few months ago in four colors amber, green, purple and blue...