The sacred season of Christmas is tucked away in our hearts as we take down the decorations and stow them under the staircase. In creep a few blue days brought on by the dark depths of a rainy winter. But solstice is past, and already we begin to notice that the daylight is a little longer and a little brighter.
As a gardener who is committed to producing much of our own food supply, I find this to be an in-between time. Meals are easier thanks to the unending picking and prepping we did last summer. We’re eating simply and well from our freezer and our stores of squash, garlic and dried foods. The rare trip to the garden yields a few leaves of fresh kale, some small rutabagas and a couple of handfuls of Brussels sprouts.
I think of this as the pre-growing season. I tell myself it will be time soon enough to think about seeds and planting schedules. But then I read in a comment that seed shortages might be a concern again in 2021. Hmmm. Maybe I should sort my inventory and find out what I need to order.
Ordering Seeds Online
My spreadsheet reveals that I have forty-six packets of seeds on hand after discarding the ones too old to germinate reliably. That feels like a lot, but there are gaps. I come up with a list of eight to shop for.
Browsing the online seed catalogs, I find that the first two companies are out of stock on at least half of my list. A third, Aimers Organic Seeds, has what I’m looking for, but the shipping is $16. I start adding a few more things and soon my shopping cart is 17 items long. That works. The prices are very reasonable and we’ll save by not having to buy any bedding plants except onions. (Walla Wallas from seed last year were a dismal failure.)
My New Seeds for This Season
- Waltham Butternut Organic Squash
– I’ve decided that butternut and delicata will be my main storage squash types. Red Kuri was delicious but a poor keeper.
- Marconi Rosso Sweet Pepper (Ramshorn Type)
– These are to take the place of the wonderful hybrid Thunderbolt bedding plants we’ve been buying. Pepper seeds are easy to save sucessfully if open pollinated, so we’ll increase our seed security.
- Hungarian Yellow Wax Pepper
– In the past we’ve always bought these as bedding plants, but now we have our Floralight system.
- Late Flat Dutch Cabbage
– I grew a number of flat head cabbages last year and was delighted with them for cabbage rolls.
- True Watercress
– Mom and I have long conversations about the benefits of eating watercress. I’m hoping these will thrive in a little garden spot I have in mind – beside a leaky water line.
- Early Green Moss, Curled Endive
– I ♥ endive. I wonder why I’ve never grown it before.
- Lamb’s Lettuce Corn Salad
– This cold-hardy green will supplement our early spring claytonia.
- Early Wonder Organic Beet
– In a British gardener’s video, I saw beets growing in clusters. No thinning out the two to four extra beets that emerge from each seed capsule. I want to try that, but not with my usual Cylindra.
- Snow Crown Hybrid Cauliflower
– This one is for Jim to baby. We love cauliflower as a potato or rice substitute.
- Minowase Hybrid Radish (Daikon Winter Type)
– Fall crop. I didn’t manage to produce any last year, not for lack of trying. That was disappointing after a stellar first attempt the year before, so I’m still waiting to revisit kkakdugi.
- Nantes Coreless Carrot
– I haven’t had much patience with carrots because of the rust fly tunnels, but they taste so good fresh from the garden that I believe I will try again. Reemay to the rescue, I hope.
- Japanese Long Cucumber
– Our mission is to keep our neighbours well supplied with delicious cucumbers. Fresh is so much better than store bought.
- Chicago Cucumber (Pickling Type)
– These will be for lacto-fermented garlic dills which the granddaughters love.
- Carpet of Snow Alyssum
– to attract the bees for pepper pollination.
- White Yarrow
– another bee plant as well as a herbal medicinal.
- Easter Egg II Blend Radish
– for the granddaughters to grow at home.
- Arugula Seeds
– for the granddaughters to grow at home.
A few days later – I have visited the online store twice since I placed my seed order in mid-January. Both times it has been closed due to reaching capacity for the day. The company reassures us that this is not due to a seed shortage, but rather an unprecedented number of customers, more that their system can process on any given day. This may be inconvenient, but it sounds like good news to me because it means more people are choosing to pay attention to their food supply and do something about it by growing a little of their food supply at home. Gardening is a vital life skill and a health-giving way to do something positive towards your own resilient lifestyle.
I am impressed by your seed list. It sounds like enough seeds to plant a farm.
I have just planted watercress seeds indoors and am hoping I will have a harvest, at least enough for a watercress sandwich. 🙂
Wait a second, you can’t just mention “Thanks to our Floralight system” without explaining that!!! Now you can grow Hungarian yellow wax peppers from seed??? Do tell!
Oops. Brand names, right? All of our windows face north so if we want to start seeds indoors to plant out at the right time, we need grow lights. Ours came from Lee Valley.
I am very impressed by your perseverance and knowledge acquired over the years. I got started with this approach many years ago but lost momentum a long ways back. I believe that gardening is a very worthwhile lifeskill. At this time I have very limited garden space but I do like to eat anything fresh from the garden. A couple of tomatoes, some wax beans, swiss chard, lettuce, italian parsley, chives, basil are about all I manage, but it still delights me to pick and serve my own. May your garden grow bountifully again. I look forward to reading your blog.
Sounds like you will be ready to hit the growing season running.