I donít know about you, but I have been perusing through seed catalogues of late and itís one of my favourite winter garden activities. There is something about the promise of a new growing season, and the infinite possibilities of seeds to try that eases the winter garden doldrums.
Seeds are surprisingly not an inexpensive venture. Good seeds that are well grown for local coastal conditions are not cheap, so it pays to order wisely. I speak from experience when I say it is easy to get carried away, so if you consider a few points before you order, you will probably be more efficient and your wallet will be happy.
First of all, if you grew seeds last year and still have them kicking around, check them out to see if they are still viable. If you ordered the seed from a reputable company last year they are probably still viable. If they were stored in a cool, dry place away from the light, there is no reason you canít use them this season. Most seeds last a couple of years but the one standout is onions seed. Onion seed is only viable for one year. Make a list of what you already have before you order.
Be realistic about your space and order accordingly. If you only have one small raised bed, then donít order enough seeds to sustain a quarter-acre plot.†
Think about what you actually like to eat, and what produce costs big dollars at the grocery store yet is easy to grow. Consider your space. Some crops like potatoes, squash, pumpkins and corn are relatively cheap to buy locally when in season and take up a lot of space in your precious growing areas. Grow what is scarce or precious.
The next idea to consider is which seeds are worth starting yourself? Generally, anything that does better when you self-seed it directly into the ground answers that question. If you donít self-seed directly in the garden you will have to start the seeds in cell packs as transplants. Order seeds that need to have repeat sowings and keep in mind that popular items are only available in the beginning of the growing season, so if you need a lot, buy several packs at once.
Seeds that I sow directly into the garden are beans, peas, spinach, lettuce, dill, cilantro and root crops. Donít buy things like cherry tomato seeds if you only need two plants. In that scenario it makes sense to just buy some transplants to fill your cherry tomato needs.
Physically write up a list of all the seeds you want to order before you actually place the order. Edit them using these guidelines, then throw in something you have never grown before, just for fun. Happy growing.