Seeds of the Month Club

Are you as tired of winter as we are? Jon and I are both so ready for spring. We are as tired of the snow and ice as the chickens are. Although I understand the importance of winter and that every season has it’s place, I am just not a fan. We have done our winter chores, planned our garden, and ordered our seeds. And still we wait during another snow and wintry mix. Sigh.

Last year, I thought long and hard about joining The Seeds of the Month Club, but did not. I just do not join things on a whim. The more I pondered it the more, I wanted to join. When you look at the price per seed packet for these Non-GMO heirloom seeds it really is a great deal.

Seeds of the Month Club

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Seed Storage Organization

Last year was our first time having a garden. We just bought some random seeds from random places and started planting. Since that time we have done a lot of researching, planning, discovering, and failing. I’m sure we have much more of all of that to come. We decided that next time we wanted to start right and that meant (among a million other things) using heirloom seeds.

First, we shopped around a bit for some reasonably priced heirloom seeds and bought most of what we needed. We also had a few random seeds left over from last year that were not heirloom that we were going to use up and get rid of. We had some seeds from Jon’s Mom from her garden. And lastly we harvested some of our crowder peas to attempt our hand at keeping and using our own seeds. We dried some of the crowder peas successfully. We had the second attempt mold. Because of the mold, the third time we thought we would not air dry them but try drying them in the oven on low like we read online. That worked for some and well I burnt some because I forgot about them and didn’t set a timer.

Here we are only on our second garden and had seeds in store bought packets, seeds in sandwich baggies, seeds in small mailing envelopes, and seeds in boxes from orders online. I could already see we needed to come up with a seed storage method.

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Gardening with Heirloom Seeds

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.

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What To Plant?

So, now we’ve just tilled up the yard… what to plant?!? We were already starting pretty late on this whole garden thing so we needed to get on the ball and buy some seeds and get planting.  We bought various seeds from Tractor Supply, Walmart, Lowes, and Dollar General.

We were out in town and thought we’d run by Lowes and Walmart and pick up some seeds.  These were not our usual store locations, but we were already there and they were more convenient at the time. Let me tell you don’t even bother going to a Lowes or Walmart in a city.  Their selection is pitiful!  We had much better luck going to our usual rural Lowes and Walmart.

Man, everywhere had tons of different types of green beans.  We thought we wouldn’t do green beans because both of our Mama’s always keep us generously supplied with canned green beans.  So, we were thinking maybe some other kinds of beans.  I thought maybe we should try some October beans.  I knew from growing up they are about the same thing as pintos, but is what most people around here always had.  At least that’s how I recalled it…lol.  Well, we couldn’t find October beans or pinto beans anywhere.  We found some dragon tongue beans that look similar to a pinto but with some purplish stripes.  We were curious so bought them.
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