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 vegetables 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Select seeds to grow food that your family eats. If they don’t like Brussel Sprouts, don’t buy the seed.
- Choose varieties that meet your needs for storing, pickling, canning and your favorite dishes.
- 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!
- Check your seed inventory. What do you have left that you can use this year. Learn what you can about seed viability.
- 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.
- Experiment with one or two new varieties each year.
- Keep a journal.
Remember, quality seed will produce quality food.
Tom and Di