Buying Seeds: Garden Planning Reality Check

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Don’t you just love this? I mean, if those veggies aren’t just a little bit frightening, I don’t know what is! “EAT YOUR VEGETABLES or ELSE!”

And ha! wasn’t that incredibly irresponsible of me in my last post??? I mean, I’m talking to people quite possibly stuck in a snowbank, and I blithely (as I can do so very well) flaunt our blooming crocuses and say, “Here are some fantastic catalogs – a little retail therapy will do you good!”

Whoaa – whoaa – whoaa….

We need to review the Reality Check Blues Rules:

(and of course, you means me – or “I”)

First and foremost, carefully consider the space you have and also the space you would like to dedicate to a garden. The two are not necessarily the same. Also consider the amount of sunshine and water you have available. Of course, these things are basic; we read this advice everywhere and we know these things to be true. My point is to lead to this gentle reminder: Big gardens are a lot of work. (Repeat that a few times if you need to.)
So – with that in mind ….

  • Remember that not everything is all that easy to start from seed. Too much water and they shrivel and die. Not enough and they shrivel and die. Some things are better purchased as plant starts – or not at all (a novel option).
  • Don’t grow things that are plentiful at Farmer’s Markets & relatively cheap (zucchini??? What was I [I mean you] thinking???)
  • Here is a potential sequence scenario: If you grow a lot of something and can’t eat it all, you can either give it away or preserve it. If you end up composting it, or worse – just leaving it there in the field – you will feel a huge amount of guilt that you really don’t need right now, trust me. If this sounds like you – don’t grow it – don’t even buy the seed. Buy it from somebody local who did what you just avoided.
  • By the same token, don’t grow things that only you eat – meaning, think twice before you plant 10 chard plants unless you really really like chard.
  • Don’t grow things that are “problem plants” – for example, sometimes cabbage gets covered with aphids no matter how many times you spray them with a hose or surround them with marigolds. They take a lot of space and they are nutrient hogs. Buy them from local growers.
  • Forget the carrots if your garden spot is a rock pile.
  • Do keep in mind the work that goes with preserving. In the heat of summer, canning peaches is no picnic, literally. Imagine women in the old days doing it over a woodstove. Been there. Done that. Did I know what I was doing? Heck no. Don’t go there.
  • Do remember that potted plants can’t be left to fend for themselves while you go on that weekend camping trip to the mountains on a hot weekend in August (when you should be canning peaches).
  • Do remember that corn – no matter how the catalogs try to describe something that is “indescribably sweet” – takes up a lot of room, water, and nutrients. Also remember a 10’ x 10’ closely planted plot can STILL blow over in the wind! Also remember that it gets ripe all at once and suddenly you have to do something with 100 ears. Like now – before they turn to starch. Or all that work was for nothing.
  • Remember that come February, when you’ve just come in from that snowbank that will never go away, IF you planted corn and IF you put it in the freezer, you can sit down to a steaming plate of the sweetest corn ever – your corn.
  • Do grow things you like to have on hand at a moment’s notice: a little salad garden and some herbs
  • Do grow things that are too expensive in the store, for example, pod peas, green beans, and fresh herbs
  • Do grow things that you want to make sure are organic: for example, potatoes (if you have room), strawberries, broccoli.
  • Do grow an unusual little something
  • If all you have is a back porch, do buy those adorable little dwarf varieties of lettuce, tomatoes, basil and other herbs.
  • If your garden spot is limited, think of which plants give you the most food for the amount of space. Remember to think Up (as in on a pole or trellis) and Down (as in baskets and upside-down tomatoes).
  • Do buy fresh seeds if yours are more than a few years old. If they don’t germinate, you might not have time to get a second chance.
  • And last but not least: don’t forget your butterfly, bee, and bird friends.

(BTW – You can buy the print pictured above and over 400 other seeds & seed packet fine art prints from ART PRINTS –! – (click on the picture and it should take you there, too) – and yes, I’m an affiliate – and yes, I think it’s the perfect gift for your gardening friends. In fact, if I had myself a little gardening shed, I think I would wallpaper it with these! Want to see more seed packet art? GO HERE.)

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