Thursday, February 10, 2011
Have you noticed how much more expensive buying seeds is? I sure have. I'm also finding that I have to shop more seed suppliers to find the varieties I want. I used to be able to make one seed purchase from a choice among a number of suppliers and be done with it. Increasing backorders are another problem I'm seeing more of. This year the one pound quantity of seeds (corn and beans) that I wanted are already "backordered". And that particular order was made on January 6th at the start of the year. I don't even mind that much having to spread my seed order among seed companies, but when you total the shipping charges -- ouch! You can buy a good amount of seed with what you pay just for shipping. For example, I made a $25 seed order to one company and had to pay $6 to ship just 6 regular packets of seed.
I like to save seed from the vegetables I grow. Unfortunately, our growing season is short. A regular seed harvest for me is "iffy" at best. (It doesn't stop me from trying though. :D ) Last year we went into October before we had a real killing frost and I was able to harvest some good seed. Maybe I'm just more sensitive to the cost of seed because I'm a seed saver. I don't know. As a seed saver I know the labor involved in harvesting seeds certainly justifies seed cost. In any event, I wish seeds -- and shipping -- weren't so expensive.
This year I have purchased small quantities of seed to increase the genetic diversity of seed I have managed to save on my own. New this year are several types of small melons. Melons seem to like my soil, but as usual, the difficulty is the short growing season and inability to bring the melons to maturity. I plan to start the melons inside a little earlier and keep them under low tunnels once they are transplanted out in the field, so we'll see how they do. I'm also trying Tuscan Blue kale this year. I've never tried growing kale before and am looking forward to eating it. I found a beautiful French heirloom leek called Blue Solaise that I can't wait to plant. Normally I grow Perkins Long Pod Okra, but this year I'll try a variety called Red Burgundy. Growing hot peppers here has proven very difficult so this year I bought several varieties to replace the seed I've used up. I love hot peppers! Fortunately I was able to find more Red Cloud seed potatoes to replace mine that froze. Overall, this year my garden will see fewer veggies but larger quantities.
Cold winter days sure makes for fine garden planning!