Yes, it is the end of January. Since I cannot get out there and plant the garden, and I have the soil all ready to go, I am starting to get cabin fever waiting to get my seeds in the ground. So, all I can do right now is talk about the seeds I have for this year’s garden.
Last year, we kind of threw the garden together in a quick hap-hazard fashion. We used whatever seeds we found. We used good seeds, purchased from local stores mind you, but we did not take into account any properties of the seeds, mostly because we did not know there was much of a difference.
We had decent success from our garden in the first year, all things considered. The onions were a complete failure. The corn produced little ears, tasty but small. We did get enough carrots to can half a dozen pint jars. The beans did good, except for the one row that never germinated (bad seeds). The zucchini went nuts, we still have a lot of zucchini in our freezer. The leaf lettuce did good, and the broccoli was almost a total failure, we got enough for one side dish at one dinner. The crowder peas did very good, and thanks to my wonderful wife’s advice, I now absolutely love crowder peas. We will be planting a lot more of them this year.
The majority of our problems were from low soil pH, and generally poor soil preparation. This year we believe we have done a much better job. We have raised our soil pH from around 5.0 to 6.5 which should be pretty close to where we need it to be for all of the plants we intend to grow. The soil has been tilled much, much better, so the weeds should be a lot easier to deal with this year. We have also added what we hope to be enough organic matter (horse manure compost) to the soil. We also have a fair amount of partially composted leaves and dry leaves to use as mulch. So, we feel ready for a successful garden this year.
Only one thing left to do. Get some seeds. We have been constantly researching any and everything we could think of for our garden. During our research we learned a lot about seeds. Genetically altered seeds seems to be rather prevalent in retail stores. I am not going to spend my time judging the use of these seeds. The advancements in seed technology has helped produce more produce to help feed the worlds expanding population, and has also allowed things to be grown in area that they could never have been grown naturally. But as for me and my house, we will use heirloom seeds.
Heirloom seeds are natural seeds passed down from natural plants. When you save a seed from a plant grown by heirloom seeds, the plant that will grow from that seed will be the same as the plant the seed came from. This is not the case with a lot of hybrid seeds. We did retrieve some seeds from our crowder peas this last year, and we are planning on trying them out. We have no idea if they will grow properly, but they are very hard to find and we are gonna take that chance.
We plan on saving seeds from our plants to use from year to year, so we have to start with heirloom seeds. We have done a lot of research, and even a little practice with the crowder peas. While we realize we are still learning this skill, we have to start somewhere. Hopefully, we can become proficient at saving seeds and making our garden self-sustainable from year to year without the need of purchasing seeds, just in case something bad were to happen ;).
Heirloom seeds do cost a little more but we think it is money well spent. Not only do we get plants that will make seeds that grow into the same plants next year, we also get an all natural plant, grown the way it was meant to be grown.
If you want to try using heirloom seeds to start your own self-sustaining garden plan with seeds being saved from year to year, they can be easily found on the internet. There are many places that sell them. There are also many very unique varieties, even some that you may find a tad strange. One thing to watch our for is some of the large seed companies are starting to market their seeds as Heirloom seeds when they are not what we mean by that term. So, make sure as always, you do your own research.