Sunday, January 13, 2013

Its time to order seeds for this year's garden! I typically plant about 60 different garden vegetables that includes generally 12 varieties of sweet and hot peppers and 7 varieties of tomatoes. The first step is to inventory all the seeds that I have on hand from previous seasons and determine which ones are in sufficient quantities for this year's planting. I toss the few that are past the "use by" date. I try to buy in quantities that can be used by the "use by" date. Some seeds are good for only 1 year but most are good for 2 to 4 years. I then list all of the seed and mark any that I need to buy. I buy primarily from 2 different catalog seed houses, plus potato seed and onion plants from 2 more suppliers. Most of the seed I buy has been field tested to suit my marine climate. This is very important to plant varieties that will grow in your area. As an example I only grow "Maestro" shelling peas as they are resistant to enation and powdery mildew. Planting any other variety in my area will result in total crop failure. Since my area has moderate summer temperatures, I limit plantings to varieties that will mature in the shortest time possible. The seed catalogs provide the maturity dates so if I see a variety that has a 100 day maturity I don't buy it, but instead try to find something under 80 days or less. I always check the seed catalogs for new varieties that I may be interested in trying.

This year I needed to buy only 12 seed packets and I  have ordered 2 varieties of seed potatoes and 4 varieties of storage onions. Since the potatoes and onions are both "live", I gave both suppliers a "ship date" so the ordered items arrive at or near the time of planting. When to ship is important especially with onions as your planting latitude and time of planting is very important to growing successful crops.

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