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Planning Your Garden #2: Buying Seeds


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One of my goals this year is filling my freezer and pantry with good foods that have been grown and nurtured in our own backyard.  Over the years I’ve learned a number of great tips from books, friends, and my own experiences so it seems only fitting that I would share those things here with you.

This week we’re discussing seeds and why it DOES matter where you get them.

Buying seeds is the same as buying produce.  If you want wholesome, unmolested foods you have to be mindful in your selections and except that you may have to pay more.  Until the Monsantos of the world are uncovered for their devilish practices we have to be willing to let our pocketbooks make a stand every chance we get.

Okay…I just deleted about a paragraph’s worth of my ranting because I want to get to the point.  Outside the fact that there are bad seeds genetically engineered to produce ONE TIME ONLY, BIG, DISEASE RESISTANT, BACTERIA RESISTANT, PEST RESISTANT, FLAVOR RESISTANT CROPS, rather a crop that will in turn produce seeds that could feed us for generations, there are things to consider when making your purchases.

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Prep work – Soaking and scratching seeds before you actually plant them is more common than you might think.  Personally I like low maintenance ones that just want me to put them in the ground.  If you want a successful crop, make sure you don’t skip this step when planting.

Heirloom – The first time I placed an order through Seeds of Change every plant on my list was an heirloom.  I mistakenly thought that since it had that fancy distinction is was somehow better than even its organic brethren.  Nowadays, heirloom means high-maintenance doesn’t mean better. I’m not going to pretend that I know why but heirlooms seem to require an experienced hand and I’m not quite there yet.

After talking with fellow gardeners at the Farmer’s Market I learned another thing about heirloom seeds and plants.  They’re not always going to be pretty.  At the market, consumers expect the same perfectly unflawed fruits and vegetables they get in the store.  With the added expense and care needed to produce heirloom crops most farmer’s only keep them for themselves, if  they grow them at all.

Perennials/Biennials  – Yes, there are perennial and biennials food crops.  They are staples in my garden and I like to use them in landscaping as well, especially herbs.  Look for those two magic words on the package and when planting remember it’s going to be there for longer than a season.

Organic – I know it’s hard to always buy organic but when it comes to seeds it is important.  If your goal is to save seeds in the fall it is mandatory, but not always a guarantee that they aren’t sterile. 

Quantity – So exactly how many times are you going to plant green beans this season? If you are ordering your seeds online, be sure to get enough to get you through potential multiple plantings and maybe even into next year.

There are still plenty of things to consider when purchasing your seeds but these are the things that I always think of first.  Below are some of my favorite seed companies and resources. 

Seed companies I buy from:

Seeds of Change – I can’t say enough about this company. It has EVERYTHING you need!

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – An awesome company here in MO!

Lists of places to get seeds:

Green People – This is a state by state directory of seed companies.

Mother Earth News – Here’s a list of the Best Vegetable Seed Companies according to MEN.

Next Week we’re going to tackle Garden Layout!

 

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Erin Sipes
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