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Gardeners Start Your Engines

2/27/2014 9:26:00 AM

Tags: Gardening, Urban Farming, Homesteading, Seeds, Erin Sheehan

Erin SheehanWe start our vegetable garden 100 percent from seeds. If you’re in the habit of hitting Home Depot for plants come May or June, I encourage you to give seed starting a try. It’s not that hard and very rewarding!

This year our seeds came from many sources. My mom gave me Scarlet Runner Bean seeds that her father had given to her. He had gotten them from a neighbor of his who brought them to America from Hungary more than 100 years ago. Grandpa and Mom saved some seeds every year from their plantings and have now passed them on to me. Fingers crossed that they come up!

scarlet runners

In November, a friend from Canada kindly sent me a gift of seed packages from a Canadian heirloom seed company. Lots of greens and new, fun things to experiment with. We got another seed delivery from my sister. One of her friends distributes Burpee seeds and had buckets of last year’s seeds available. She scooped up a couple dozen packages for us. Solid, traditional varieties. Finally, the community garden group has thousands upon thousands of seed packages from many companies that they provide for free to gardeners. I got at least 20 packages when I went to sign up for our plot. When the seeds are free, I dream big.

seeds  seeds2

After keeping our old seeds jumbled up in a bag for several years, I finally devised a system that works. We have no problem using old seeds so I file what we have away in an old shoebox divided up with index cards. It works well when it’s time to order, as we can easily check our inventory.

seeds3

With all this bounty you would think we’d have enough seeds, but there are a couple of varieties we’re fussy about. Blight decimated our tomato crop over and over, until last year. We found a variety from Harris: Pony Express. It produced even with terrible blight. We’re also partial to New Ace peppers. So we bought those from Harris. This year I wanted to try growing mustard, not the greens type but the seeds type, for making the condiment mustard. I searched high and low and the only company that had it was Pinetree.

We have hundreds of seed packages but that never stops me from perusing the racks at the local Agway and anywhere else I see seeds. I read each catalog we get cover to cover and then read them a few more times for good measure.

Seeds have a special meaning for gardeners. We look at seed packages and imagine our garden lush and full of vegetables ready to be picked. The pictures on the front make us long for spring. In a few more weeks, Jim and I will clear off our front porch and set up the seed starting apparatus. We bought the dirt and we’re raring to go! 



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