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Seed ordering tips: Know how to warm up and brighten a cold wintry day? It’s easy, sit down and start looking through seed the catalogs or log onto your favorite online seed company! Bright and colorful pictures just send a rush of “spring happiness” inside. You just get filled with warm fuzzies. I know all experienced gardeners know exactly what I’m talking about. But if you are new to gardening you’ll quickly learn what I’m talking about.
What if you are new to gardening, or this is you first time starting with seed? The task can become overwhelming and expensive if you are not careful. Well don’t fret, today I’ll share with you some seed ordering tips to help you make the best seed choices for your garden and how to save money for the seasons to come.
5 Seed Ordering Tips you need to know:
Plan Your Garden for the Whole Year
Many seed companies have only a specific supply of seeds available and once they’ve sold there are no more available until the next season. So if your plan is to plant not only a spring garden, but also a summer and fall garden, go ahead and order the necessary seeds for what you plan to grow. If you wait until later in the year to order seed for fall planting, you may find they are no longer available.
Good companies also provide, within their catalog, a seed ordering tip section so be sure to look for it.
Create a Map of your Garden
Each year I draw a map of all my raised beds, with measurements, and make a couple copies it. I can use them to plan the different seasons. Another good idea is to make a plan well in advance of what to grow where for the entire year. I like to call it organized chaos. It very much helps to keep the garden in perspective. It saves on shipping too if you order all your seed at one time.
Once I have my map completed, I put it into my garden journal/folder for the current year. I’ll explain a garden journal a little bit later. As you can tell from looking at my map, it really is organized chaos. But it saves me so much time.
The clean white sheet below is a pdf that my sweet husband has created for me. This year I will start using it. It is saved on my computer and I will print it out to make plans. Remember, I’m still new to gardening, I didn’t begin until 2015 and the new “digital” version will save me even more time. We are all learning as we go. That’s what Hidden Springs Homestead is all about, sharing and learning.
Know your Planting Zone and Choose Companies in Your Zone
Seed companies want you to be a successful gardener! If you are and have a great experience, you will order again and again. The plant hardiness zone is a standard by which growers can determine what plants are most likely to thrive in a specific location. See what region you are in by entering your zip code here. Look for seed that are well suited for in your zone.
Maintain a Garden Journal/Folder – Year to Year
Keep a garden journal/folder to store all your information for the year in. By keeping copies your seed orders, garden charts, garden maps, planting information, plant tags, empty seed packets, anything related to your garden all in one place, you can look back from year to year and learn from previous years. What grew well last season, what didn’t? What was the weather conditions, drought, too much rains, etc. is also helpful information to keep.
I also have a rain gauge stuck in one of my beds, each time it rains, I put that measurement into my journal. My journal/folder also allows me look back at my maps from year to year so that I am sure to have proper “crop rotation” history. All this information compiled and kept together will help you to learn from what maybe didn’t work and so you will be better prepared for other seasons.
Know Seed Viability
Take a look at what seeds you may have left from last year. Did it grow well, if so, with proper storage, maybe you could use it again another year. Seeds can last for several years if stored properly so you may be able to save seed from year to year. This also depends if you use heirloom or not. To learn the types of seeds that will reproduce themselves take a look here. And as far as seed viability, I also like this chart from High Mowing Seed Company.
Order with a Friend
If you have a friend that is planting a garden each year as well a good idea is to order seed together. The postage can be split and many companies have a plan that decreases freight charges with the more seed you order. So if you can team-up with a friend or two, it is possible to save quite a bit on freight charges. Every little bit you can save adds up and save you money.
Gardening in general can be a rewarding and exciting at the same time. Remember, gardening starts with a seed. By following a few simple seed ordering tips as well as organization tips, you can save money and learn from one year to the next ways of doing things better. I hope you find this article helpful. Let me encourage you to leave comments below. I’d love to hear from you and what seed ordering tips you have learned and would like to share. Happy Homestead Gardening!
What do you plan to plant in your garden this year?