Thursday, February 26, 2015

Seed Catalog season

Oh yes.  It's that time again.  That time when the seed catalogs come bursting out of the mailbox, enticing us with pictures of lushious tomatoes, gleaming ears of corn, and bushels of other vegetables, all mouth-wateringly presented.
It's hard to keep from getting carried away.  "Oh, doesn't that look pretty?  I wonder what that tastes like?  Maybe we should try a row of that."  It all starts innocently enough but quickly escalates to more seeds than one either has room to plant or energy to thin, weed, and keep healthy.  So how to decide.
I start by looking at what I had planted the previous year.  Some plants did really well.  Others, not so much.  Throughout the season, you note which vegetables were quick to start producing and which needed help.  Was this variety less resistant to the common diseases found in the area?  Did it have to be sprayed regularly or trained so that it didn't go wild and take over the garden?  These are all questions that need to be considered.
Young Butternut squash

Fresh tomatoes

Peppers: mild, spicy, hot, and explosive
Another question that tends to go on the back burner is what are you going to do with the fruits of your labor.  Radishes are really pretty when they come out of the ground and are surprisingly easy to grow.  If no one in your household will eat them, however, maybe radishes are not a good first choice to add to the garden.  Same goes for the farmers' market.  I would love to grow dozens of varieties of hot peppers but limit myself to those that my family will eat and the market will buy.  Introducing new product is very risky for a small farmer.  It's heart breaking to spend the time and energy on something that you feel is terrific only to find that you can't entice your customers to buy it.
My last step is to take a look at the list, edit and remove any plants that require too much TLC.  I know my limitations.  I don't deal well with high maintanence people or plants.  I then set the list aside for at least 48 hours before revisiting it and editing one more time.  Can I get the hardened seedlings from my local farmers' greenhouse?  If the answer is yes, I move the plant to the list of items for the garden yet off the list for seeds.  KISS: Keep It Simple Silly!  When it was all said and done, the list when from 50 items down to 12.  I can do 12.
What I didn't metion is I had ten other packets from last year's crop that were also set aside for use.  How are we going to do this?  That is yet to be figured out.  8D

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