Wednesday, December 18, 2013

7 Ways To Cut Through Seed Catalog Confusion


In most of the country, fall gardens have been put to sleep… there’s frost on the windows… the ground is too hard to work… and just when you’d almost forgotten about growing… a lightning bolt of color strikes your mailbox and ends up in your hands.
A seed catalog.

In it you find page after page of amazing vegetables from wild and exotic locations like Persia, France, Siberia and Idaho. The possibilities of gardening thaw your ice-encrusted mind and re-ignite the gardening passion in your snow-dimmed soul.

“What if…”

Be careful, friend. Remember last year? And the year before? I’ll give you a minute while you go dig through your seed box and look over the barely touched packets printed ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12 and ’13.

It’s hard not to succumb to the excitement and over-binge on seed buying, even if you’re a “survival gardener.” I’m guilty.

Heck, I occasionally find unopened seed packages in the back of desk drawers, behind my dresser, in the pantry and under my bed. Over the years I’ve learned to dial back and make myself get the best use from my winter seed catalog reading.

How can you cut through the confusion and plan out seed-buying for the New Year?

Here are seven killer tips:

1. Don’t Buy It If You Don’t Like To Eat It

Zucchini, anyone? This tip seems like it’s almost too dumb to list… but the fact is, many of us do grow stuff we don’t really enjoy, sometimes just because we’ve always grown it. Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot Gardening, recommends looking at your grocery list as a way to narrow down your planting choices. Why waste space on something you or your kids will tire of quickly?

2. Grow What’s Expensive

Ah, so you’re a cheapskate? Me too. And I like great vegetables. Have you always wanted to have your own organic blue potatoes? Plant them. Amazing leeks? Go for it. Endless stacks of deep red beets? Uh-huh. Fresh herbs? Yep. Exotic melons? Oh yeah. If there’s something you like to eat – but it’s a little steep at the store – plant it in your garden. If you grow extra, you can sell it and buy next year’s seeds.

3. Choose Heirlooms for Replanting

This is something a lot of people think about but never really pull off. Hybrid varieties can exhibit helpful tendencies the year you plant them… but next year, who knows what you’ll get from the seeds you save? If you choose heirlooms you’ll be able to save seed from year to year and hopefully never have to buy that variety again...  

(Click here to read the rest over at The Prepper Project)

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