January 9, 2012

Seed Time

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.”  -Thomas Jefferson

I can’t believe that it is almost the middle of January and time to start ordering seeds.  When I first started  making the commitment to learn how to garden last year, I was a little late to start everything from seed.  I was able to direct sow some lettuces and carrots, but the rest of my veggies and herbs were started from store bought plants.  I was ok with that, because last year was what I called my “Test Year”.  I wanted to see how my placement of raised beds in my yard was, how my homemade soil combo was, etc.  I was fairly successful with a great crop of tomatoes and lettuce.  My carrots were a little small and my peppers did not perform due to the tomatoes overpowering them.  I learned a lot and am thankful that I took last year to experiment.   This year I am increasing my garden size and feel confident that I will have some real success.  My fingers are crossed…
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This year I have also made the commitment to grow only Heirloom, non-GMO seeds.  Heirloom seeds are nonhybrid and open-pollinated seeds.  That means if I was to take a heirloom cucumber seed and plant it year after year, it would grow to be the same kind of plant as its parent. Genetically modified and hybrid seeds typically go back to one or the other parent types.  You know what you are going to get each year if you save the seeds of an Heirloom plant.  Plus, I love the idea of growing a lettuce that Thomas Jefferson might have planted at Monticello, or a tomato that has been around for 100 years.  The rich history of some of these plants is astonishing.

Heirloom seeds are also the best pick, in my opinion, if your family has an emergency food storage plan.  It is comforting to know that:
1.  I am learning how to grow my own food, so that if I really needed to I would know how feed my family.
2.  I could provide my family with food through growing my stockpile of heirloom seeds, saving the seeds, and reusing them next year.  That is how my grandmother did it and that is how I am going to do it.

Here are some of my favorite seed companies and their beautiful catalogs.  Please realize that each of these companies not only sell wonderful products, but their websites are a wealth of knowledge for the beginning gardener!

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High Mowing Organic Seeds- based out of Wolcott, VT

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Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds-  This company is my absolute favorite!  I used some of their seeds last year and they worked like a dream.  The catalogs are also a work of art and their new book The Heirloom Life Gardener has become my go to guide this year.

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More beautiful photos from Baker Creek…

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Johnny's Select Seeds and The Cooks Garden

Some of my other favorite seed companies are:
Territorial Seed Company
BBB Seed- based out of Boulder, CO
Botanical Interests- based out of Broomfield, CO
Comstock, Ferre & CO

My favorite gardening blogs are:
Chiots Run
Garden Rant
A Way to Garden
Simple Green Frugal
You Grow Girl

My favorite gardening accessory:
Ethel Gloves

I was never a glove wearer before I found these gloves.  They literally fit like a glove, are reasonably priced,  easy to clean, and also adorable.  My hands are protected and I never feel like the gloves are getting in the way of my work.

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I hope everyone is enjoying the planning stages of their 2012 garden.  Now back to Pinterest and the planning of my garden layout…..

Have a great day!

Do you have a favorite seed you start each year?


  1. I am pouring over the Seed Savers Exchange catalog right now. Can't wait to get going on my spring garden! And winter hasn't even really arrived in Eastern Iowa yet this year. Your pictures are gorgeous! Looking forward to reading your blog. Michelle from www.simplifylivelove.com

  2. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Baker Creek! I've decided to dedicate a portion of my garden this spring to trying heirloom seeds. Fingers crossed!

  3. Michelle,
    Thanks for stopping by! I am so jealous you live in Iowa. Every fall we drive through on the way to visit my family in Ohio and I am always astounded by the beautiful farms and windmills. Your bread recipe looks great and I can't wait to try some of your money saving techniques!

    Good luck on growing some heirlooms this year. The tomatoes and lettuces that I grew last year were so amazing! Check out Baker Creeks new book. It is amazing. Happy gardening and thanks for stopping by.

  4. Great photos of the Ethel Gloves - love them!

    After going through my seeds I don't need to order very many this year, I'm trying to hold back b/c of the possible move and what looks to be a super busy summer. I also really need to plant up some of these ones I have already!

    It's really hard to pick just one seed place, I usually order from Baker Creek, Renee's Garden, Johnny's, and usually pick one new place to make an order from too.

  5. Chiot's run,
    Thanks for the nice photo comment. I have really been trying get better at photography for the past six months. I am not close to where I want to be, but that is ok. It all takes time. I made my final seed list today and it looks like I am ordering for a small farm.....I may need to scale back a bit ;)

  6. I like heirloom seeds to and do a lot of saving my own seeds. I do grow hybrid summer squash though, that is the only way I can really get a harvest from them as the vine borers are so bad! (I blame the local farmers for that as they leave thier pumpkins and squashes to rot over winter instead of cleaning up infested vines to be destroyed). With the heirloom types, they grow a bit slower and I really don't get much of a harvest before the borers get to them. I tryed hybrid types last year and I got a ton. If worse does come to worse and I have to rely on saving and re-planting the hybrid seed, summer squash will still be edible even if not exactly the same.


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