Friday, January 25, 2013

Gardening 103- seed selection

Ok, so by now, you've probably circled DOZENS of seeds in your seed catalogs, and you have grand designs to grow almost everything in your garden. Let's all stop and pause a moment.

Breathe in, breathe out, repeat...


(Even if you saved your own seeds from last year, this still applies!)


Now it's time to be realistic about your seed choices. Take time to look around your garden area (or the area you're planning to make a garden this year,) and think about how much room you really have. (If it's too cold to go outside, take a good look from your window. {note: if you can't see your gardening area from at least one window in your house, you might want ot rethink the location...if you don't "see" your garden everyday, you might be tempted to neglect it.} 


Now, back to that space you have picked out. Let's focus on tomatoes. If you planted tomatoes last year, they need to move to a new location for this year. Tomatoes are one of those crops that can suffer from nematodes. See this link for more details: http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/nematodes


So you've determined that you will devote a 10' by 3' area to tomatoes this year. (Or whatever your space is.) Be realistic about how many varieties you will choose, and how many plants to start. Most of us will have friends that will gladly take your extra healthy seedlings off your hands, but you don't want to order 8 different kinds of tomato seeds if you KNOW you only will have space for 4 or 5 plants. Now, before you order your seeds, is the time to be tough with yourself and decide what varieties you REALLY want to grow.

Take this same space/ plant ratio idea through each type of plant and each gardening area you have. If you're the type that does better with paper & pencil, you can print free graph paper from: http://www.printfreegraphpaper.com and map out your garden that way.


If you're unsure how big each type of plant variety should grow, look at the descriptions in the seed catalogs (or look it up on the web.) The quality catalogs want to give you the info you need to make good gardening decisions. If you're still unsure which gardening zone you live in, you can look it up here: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov Just type in your zip code!


Happy planning, and don't forget to order your seeds soon, while the selection is still great!


 Soon, you could have lettuce like this...



What is your must have seed for this year? Leave a comment below!

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