Tuesday, November 11, 2008

a-z: on buying and trading seeds

Now is the time of year to start planning what veggies to do next year. Most of the labor for the year is finished, just a few more beds to prep, but it feels like it's almost done. Maybe by this weekend it will be wrapped up and I can just watch while Mother Nature does her work.

Meanwhile, I'm flushing out my veggies list, going through the veggies one by one and mapping everything out on a calendar on when it needs to happen. That way, when the time comes, I can simply act.

I am ordering most of my seeds from Johnny's Seeds for two reasons. First, Eliot Coleman recommends them and I trust him. Second, my in-laws gave me a gift certificate there for my birthday. I have heard it can sometimes take a while to have seeds shipped. So I figure to have my list completed by mid-December.

Seeds are not cheap, but there are things that can be done to ameliorate the cost. This is where a seed exchange comes in. Lets say I want to plant 20 tomato plants this year. I can buy one pack of seeds and grow twenty of the same types of tomatoes for $4 (boooooring). Or, I can grow 20 different varieties, one of each variety, and spend $80 (20 varieties x $4 each). But, with a seed exchange involving twenty people, each person buys one variety of tomato seeds, brings them to the group, and gives each of the other people one seed from their packet. So, each person still spends $4, but can grow 20 different varieties of tomatoes, and they have met and interacted with twenty different gardeners and shared advice and tips. Everybody wins (except, I suppose, the seed company.) I think the seed exchange should take place around the end of January or so to allow adequate germination and seedling growth in the greenhouse before they go into the garden.

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