Living In Colorado has its challenges when you are a gardener. The long, cold winters seem to drag on and on. Today it is 8 degrees and snowing not an ideal day for gardening outside. As I sit here sipping my morning cup of coffee, looking out the window at the falling snow. I just can’t help but dream about the amazing fresh taste of the wonderful fruits and vegetables from last summer’s harvest. Thinking of that I can almost feel the warmth of the summer sun on my face, the amazing earthy smell of the freshly tilled up dirt. It is going to take a lot of patients for me to make it to spring.
Its Time To Stop Dreaming and To Start Planning!
Let’s Get started! Mapping out your ideas and planning what you are going to plant can be a lot of fun. We don’t have a fancy computer program that we use for our planning, Just a big piece of paper and a few colored pencils will do. Something that you can fold up and put in your pocket and take to the garden with you when you start to plant in the spring. When you have it on a piece of paper it is easy to erase and make adjustments as you go.
How Long Do Seeds Last?
Seed Packets that are purchased have an expiration date on them. The type of seed will determine how long they will last. I like to throw caution to the wind and am always a bit skeptical of the expiration date. Wondering if that is just so they can sell more seeds. The best way to tell if your seeds are still good is to put about 8-10 seeds in a wet paper towel and then in a sandwich bag. Place in a warm spot in your house and check them daily for 7-10 days to see if anything germinates. If you put 8-10 seeds in a bag and only 3 of them sprout that is not a great germination rate. You can also plant in small pots or seed pods and if a few don’t germinate you can always try again by replanting in the pods that came up empty.
Start Looking At Seed Catalogs
Yes, I said seed catalogs. I guess I am old school, but I prefer to hold a catalog in my hand and flip through the pages over and over again until I find the perfect seeds. You can order seeds, get them from your local nursery, hardware store, big-box store, or farm and ranch store. You can also save your own seeds from your garden and use them the following year. That is what we do with some of our seeds. I will be posting how to do that in a future blog. We plant for our farm stand, and always plant extra to donate to local families that can benefit from the amazing harvest that we have. I believe that paying it forward and helping folks out is always a great idea. When I worked at our local High School we would donate food to the consumer science class to make some yummy meals in class. We would also donate to students’ families that needed a hand up. I love that because I knew the students and their siblings were getting some really great fresh fruits and vegetables. Things they may have never tried before.
Now That You Have Your Seeds
Now that you have your seeds you have to decide if you want to start them in a warm place in your home, garage, or greenhouse. Growing your own seeds will save you a lot of money. If you want to get a jump start on your garden to harvest faster this is the way to go. If you prefer you can plant the seeds directly into your garden it just takes longer to harvest. Don’t forget to check what zone you live in. That will guide you on the best planting dates and what will grow best in your region. I love getting seeds going early indoors. It is a sure way to get your gardening winter fix. You can also skip this step altogether and buy plants, this is the most expensive way to go but also the easiest.
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