Satisfying the Gardening Itch

Our planning and preparation continues.  Seed inventories done, and browsing seed catalogs and seed websites continues.  New asparagus roots ordered, vegetable seeds ordered, and some seeds have already arrived.

Both gardens now have four feet of the white stuff snuggling them.  Hard to believe that spring is only nineteen days away.  There are some positive signs that spring is near, the light of day has grown longer and the warmth of the sun continues to increase, spring training has started in baseball, and there are only two months left before the Stanley Cup Playoffs are over.

The other sign for gardeners is that itch Garden 003to get scratching in the dirt.  The desire to get started and smell the earthy aromas of soil and rotting compost.  Here in New Brunswick we will have to wait another six to eight weeks. There are, however, some things you can do to help satisfy those urges.

  • March is the time to start seeds indoors. White, Red and green onions will be started this week. Several of our flowers will be started as well. Check the frost dates for your area and the planting instructions on the seed pack.  Generally seeds are started indoors four to eight weeks before the last frost date.  We use May 15th as a guide, so if the seeds need to be started six weeks prior to the last frost, we will start on or before April Fools’ Day!
  • Get a start on new projects you are planning for the gardens.  Our new plans include:
    • 2 trellises for the cucumbers
    • Stacking boxes for the vertical potatoes experiment
    • Crates for the straw bales experiment
    • New stakes and row markers
    • More tomato cages
    • New cold frame for large raised bed.
    • 2 new raised bed boxes
  • On the stormy days or evenings, grab a gardening book and Garden tipsdiscover new tips to add to your gardening knowledge.  A good one to spend time with is 1,001 Old-Time Garden Tips edited by Roger Yepsen.  The book includes “timeless bits of wisdom on how to grow everything organically, from the good old days when everyone did”.
  • Then of course is one of our favourites, browse the garden centers.  This usually results in some new and neat tools being added to the shed!

If you have any other suggestions, please share in the comment section.

Until next time,

Tom and Di

Buying Seeds

When we first arrived on the Homestead one of the first things we chose to do was put in a garden.  Our garden planning began in front of a seed display near the entrance of the Home Depot.  Captured by the colorful images of beautiful vegetables, we proceeded to select the seeds for our garden.  Although we were aware of terms like heirloom, hybrid, organic, hardiness zones and planting times, we continued to select and plan our garden based on the beautiful pictures on the seed packets.

We did have a reasonably successful harvest and we did enjoy some fresh vegetablesIMAG0579 throughout the summer.  We also were over planted, under planted, wasted a lot of seeds and had a lot of seeds left over.  It is from this experience that we suggest the following tips when it comes to buying seeds for your garden.

  1. Carefully plan your garden before you purchase your seed. Know how much space you have, how much sun you have, frost dates, and growing season.
  2. Evaluate what you grew last year. This emphasizes the importance of keeping a journal of what you planted, where you planted it, and how it performed.
  3. Select seeds to grow food that your family eats. If they don’t like Brussel Sprouts, don’t buy the seed.
  4. Choose varieties that meet your needs for storing, pickling, canning and your favorite dishes.
  5. Share information with other gardeners in your area. Find out what varieties work best for them. Make friends with the oldest gardener in your area!
  6. Check your seed inventory. What do you have left that you can use this year. Learn what you can about seed viability.
  7. Choose a local seed company or mail order suppliers in the same or similar geographical and climatic zone as your garden.

A few more considerations

  • If you plan for succession gardening buy the seeds you need for the growing season
  • Buy heirloom seeds and learn to save your own seeds and properly store them
  • Check seed suppliers for the Safe Seed Certificate and their policy regarding GMO.
  • Buy organic certified seeds.sniegocki-garden-journal-2-e1336703846515
  • Experiment with one or two new varieties each year.
  • Keep a journal.

Remember, quality seed will produce quality food.

Tom and Di