Early every year, I find myself thumbing through the pages of my favorite seed catalogs. It’s a real temptation to purchase everything that catches my eye! To keep myself (and my spending) in check, I’ve learned ask myself questions as I choose vegetable seeds for the garden.
With spring just around the corner, it’s only fitting to share my strategy (or whatever you wanna call it!), with you. Ready? Here goes!
How Much Money Do I Have to Spend?
Contrary to what it would seem, gardening isn’t free! Seeds cost money! And I get excited about trying new vegetable varieties. Black tomatoes? Purple potatoes? Pink beans? Burgundy lettuce? Lemme at ’em!
Some women have an addiction to clothes shopping. Others are guilty of hoarding makeup or shoes. Me? I’m guilty of purchasing too many vegetable seeds! I actually have a gardening budget in place, just to keep my spending in check!
Do I Have The Necessities On My List?
Because of my weakness, I’m learning to line up the necessities first. When there’s only so much money I can spend, I have to make certain our staples are present and accounted for!
If you struggle with compulsive seed purchases, with spending garden money on the wrong items, this might be the ticket to controlling your inner urges!
Will This Vegetable Mature In My Area?
I like trying new vegetable varieties (have I said this yet?!). However, before I get too excited about any new veggie, I always check the maturation time. Living in a northern climate, some plants won’t produce (or ripen) for me before the winter chill descends.
When choosing garden seed, it’s important to know the length of your growing season. If you don’t know your own, use google to figure out spring’s last average frost date for your area. Also figure out when your first average winter frost falls.
Count up the days between and presto! You can choose seed according to the length of your growing season! If it’s a vegetable that continually produces (like beans, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, etc), you’ll probably want to add at least a month of production on top of the ‘days to mature’ given in your seed catalog.
What Is My Harvest Plan?
Another thing I consider when choosing garden seed is my harvest plan. Every year, I want vegetables for fresh summer eating and for preserving. Sometimes, this means I need to purchase two seed varieties of the same vegetable.
Example: every year, we grow tomatoes. Because we eat them fresh throughout the summer, I usually grow a juicy, quick-maturing variety. But I also want tomatoes for soups and stews, for year-end salsa and tomato sauce. So, I also grow a paste tomato for preserving purposes.
If I’m making dill pickles (hullo, I can’t get along without them!), I need to specifically purchase “pickling cucumber” seed. When I want to overwinter squash, root vegetables or onions, I choose to grow “winter keepers” or “storage” types alongside my summer varieties.
Do I Have Space To Grow These Seeds?
Another thing I consider when making my seed order is whether or not I have room to grow everything I want to try! I’m often hindered by this little problem. You too?
So be realistic!
How Much Time Do I Have for Gardening?
Some summers, I have loads of time to give to gardening. But other times? Both life and my own personal choices limit what I can give. Know your commitments. Order seeds accordingly. And your garden will thank you.
That’s my strategy! I keep these questions in the back of my head as I choose vegetable seeds for my garden. Do I still buy varieties I don’t need? You bet! But this helps keep my compulsive seed purchases under control… most of the time.
Hey, a girl’s gotta be real about life! And this is one of my realities.