Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hooray for seed catalogs

It's that time again - time to start thinking about what will be planted in the garden this spring, poring over seed catalogs and websites, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over purple striped pole beans and tomatoes as big as my head.

It's kind of hard, looking out the kitchen windows and seeing a big bare patch of dirt surrounded by three inches of snow and some patches of brown grass, to even imagine the warmth of summer, picking veggies and listening to the girls splash in the pool and throwing the ball for the dog... hard to imagine, but I know it's coming.

I'm glad for the notes I made last fall, thinking about where I'd be rotating crops to, drawing out my 2010 layout on graph paper to be filed away until this month. Now I'm reviewing my plans and placing seed orders. And wishing I had more than the 140 square feet that I have to work with. So many vegetables, so little space!

Among the new experiments this year:
red onions
birdhouse and luffa gourds (thanks Wendy for the inspiration!)
some herbs I've not had success with in the past... but I'm refusing to give up. I want fresh oregano, dammit!
and musk melons, because I like the idea of going outside to pick breakfast out of the garden.

Lots of fun new varieties of things like White Icicle radishes, Dragon Tongue beans, Patisson Jaune et Vert squash... and lots of tried-and-true favorites like Kentucky Wonder pole beans, Mammoth Melting Sugar peas and Bloomsdale spinach.

My seeds are on their way from Baker Creek and Pinetree. I've ordered from Baker Creek several times now and am always thrilled with the service, but Pinetree is popular among the crew at and their prices are much lower so I gave them a shot.

I'm shooting for primarily heirloom varieties this year, but there are a few that are hybrids - sometimes I just need reliability. My cukes, some tomatoes, and peppers will be hybrid - those are things I'm not willing to do without, and heirloom varieties really are much harder to grow and are less dependable... though it must be said that they are much better for us, too. I'll do some heirloom tomatoes too, since they're always the most exciting plant in the garden. I'm happy to report that the seeds we saved from last year's garden - pumpkin, sunflower, lettuce and marigold - all sprouted successfully when we tested them last week, so that means we're going to complete the circle on those four plants. (A silly thing, maybe, but exciting if you're into heirloom gardening.)

Since Andrew built me a cold frame in the fall (which did me no good with the 20-below weather we had shortly after), I'll be able to start seeds as early as Valentine's day - not long now! I bought a day planner specifically for gardening. I marked each day that seeds should be planted, and then I'll mark the days I should expect them to sprout, and expect to harvest. It's never exact, but by mid-June I'll forget entirely when it was that I planted those beets, so the reference is nice. Organized is good when it comes to gardening.

So I suppose that's all I have to report for now. Hopefully in another couple of months I'll be posting photos of the first harvests!

Who else out there is working on garden planning? Feel free to share your favorite tips!


Crazy Homeschool Mama said...

yeah for seed catalogs! I saw organic seeds at wally world...wonder if they would be worth it...thanks for the tips of what kind of seeds work best too btw

Wendy said...

I love the idea of coming full circle. I always get my seeds from Baker Creek. Every year I tell the same store about how the guy used to fill seed orders from his bedroom, about the year he got married, about their cute little kid and that crazy old town they built - and now that cool store.

I haven't put my order in yet - my dad has had the catalog forever and now we're snowed in! My plan is to try more beans this year. I typically grow just edemame, but want to try some bush beans, and a few beans for drying. I would also like to try watermelon. As I'm in the house, I picture all this room for these things and I'm sure when I get out there in the spring, I won't have room for 1/2 of what I want to grow.

Crazy to think that you'll be posting harvest pics in a few months, but it's true, huh?