By Jannie Vaught
I am a seed catalog reader. As I grow more interesting varieties I am often lured away by the siren call of that very pretty plant in the catalog. And boy do I get hooked easily! So after all the reading and examining each page back and front, I get my garden journal out and take a look at what I grew last year. What grew and what didn’t do so good. I even write on the last year’s seed packets “NO” or “YES”. I change up my planting locations and take a good look at what needs ” full sun”, or “semi-shade”. I’m also seeing some full sun plants do well and last longer in semi or mottled sun areas due to our heat and less rain.
I clear a large table and set out all my seeds. I separate into 3 areas.1. Start inside in January for spring planting.2.
Next, are seeds sown in the ground when the soil gets to 60 degrees. 3: the ones who can go in for Fall planting. I check the dates on the seed packets and will test for germination by simply wetting a few in a paper towel and see if they germinate in a few days.
Yes, seeds do get old and lost fertility. With paper and pencil I begin to chart in my garden journal what I’m going to grow and where. Then when It needs to get planted or started inside. This brings me back to the siren song of that catalog, and what do I have space for, is it going to grow in my growing zone? And how much do I want to spend? This is a good way to do an inventory of your seeds. Take notes even on the packages or use a Sharpe pen on a plastic bag of seeds. I have some covered boxes that I use for this separation task. and I label them. Some seeds will be interchangeable and I always cruise through them all just to take a mental inventory.
Now I can get serious on some new variety or even never tried plants. Where I am most vulnerable is in the flower section. I may try new tomatoes or peppers yearly, but those flower pictures really get me wanting to grow them, but I don’t always tend the flowers as much as I tend the food plants. Losing all direction in the beauty and pollinating possibilities that await the season. As I have evaluated this last summers garden I found that peppers all varieties and melons were the winners. The storm and winds blew over my corn and zinnias, and tomatoes were so so. Foot long green bean grew well and was abundant as well as cucumbers all varieties. Now is the time to place the catalogs down and just let it settle. There is no rush as we’re months away from starting seeds. After this is done and settling in I begin my evaluation on fruit trees or shade trees.
Remember bare-root trees start showing up in January and often first come first get the tree you want, call your nursery ahead of time and get your dates for trees. They may even have early seedlings that can be jumped into bigger pots for early planting.
The catalogs are calling and time to let the happy thoughts swim in my imagination.
Growing green with Jannie