My mailbox has been filling up in recent weeks. While a part of me hates to think of the number of trees that have been sacrificed to produce this year's crop of seed catalogs, another part of me is jumping up and down with glee.
It is finally time to begin planning the 2012 garden. That's right! Regardless of whether or not the world ends on December 21st (as predicted by the Mayans)we still want fresh veggies to enjoy throughout the summer and fall.
I always approach the garden with such optimism. The plan usually includes some innovative design plot that I've seen over the years at nearby Cornell University. When I'm in garden planning mode, weeds drought and garden pests don't exist. Instead, every vegetable is envisioned in a blemish free state and is the epitome of perfection.
Despite all of the choices offered by the seed companies, we actually buy very little. We have lots of commercially packaged seed from prior gardening years. We are also fairly good seed savers with much of the saved seed coming from heirloom & non-hybrid vegetable varieties. This means that we will see fairly consistent results from the seeds that we collect each year.
Last year, we grew groundcherries for the first time. Related to the tomato, the plants were started in the greenhouse and did very well in our soil. Those seeds were the result of a particularly wonderful seed swap that we do with an internet friend in Wyoming.
We have seeds to grow the things that we like to eat & some for things that we don't! Unloved seeds, like okra and rutabaga, are traded away to people that actually (shudder) like to eat them. Seed swaps are an excellent way to taste test new veggies and to see if they will do well in your type of soil.
Each year, we decide to try a few new varieties of something but we try to spend exactly $26. Why $26? Because many of the seed companies offer free shipping or discount coupons redeemable on purchases over $25. A good portion of that $26 is spent on permaculture. Things that we can plant once and reap the harvest from for a number of years. Though I love to garden, I really don't like to work so hard at it!