December 30, 2009

Seed Order

I usually work on my seed order for the spring garden during the week between Christmas and New Year; it seems to be a good time to be looking ahead to the coming growing season. It's also good to get onion and leek seeds as early as possible; the earlier I start them indoors, the better they will grow when transplanted to the garden.

As you can see, I keep a list in a garden notebook; each year gets one page: on one side is that year's garden layout and on the other, the list of seeds I'll be needing for the following year. I try to be very organized about it because I hate to get into the garden and then realize I'm missing some seeds, maybe something essential like peas or corn. It's a pleasure to wander through the catalogs that come in the mail, reading about new varieties, thinking of new crops.

My very favorite catalog is from Fedco Seeds, a co-op in Maine that specializes in seeds for northern gardeners. They carry lots of organic seed (no GMOs) and all seed and supplies are remarkably fairly priced. The vegetable descriptions are honest and detailed, and the newsprint catalog is full of wonderful antique black and white illustrations.

While it's still early winter, I'm happy to be thinking about the growing season to come.


  1. How long is the growing season in upstate New York? Is your corn a hybrid? The reason I ask is because our growing season in Arkansas is about 8 months (1st week of March to last week of September), but even in such a long growing season, I can only get one good harvest of corn. I can usually get 2 harvests of carrots, onions, broccoli, greens, and peas by varying planting times, but corn is a bit finicky.

    I admire your organization skills. You've got me to thinking about the growing season to come now, too.

  2. I live in northeastern Vermont, and I'm in growing zone 4; we have about 4 frost free months, from late May to late September. According to my Organic Gardening encyclopedia, we have 126 days in our growing season as opposed to your 231. I can hardly imagine such a long season as you have.

    I always grow hybrid corn; it's more vigorous and also tastes better. I plant an early corn and a mid-season variety, so the harvest is stretched out. You might try doing something like that; with your long season, you can plant a very late variety along with an earlier one.

  3. Altoon,
    I love this. For someone who came from a non-agrarian background you have become remarkably in tune with the requirements of place and season and seed species and such. I am sure that you have learned bit by bit...but how delightful!
    The same attention to detail and care that is given your wonderful art work -seeing things in acute focus and as part of a whole!
    This is artfulness!

  4. thanks Sophie. I've been gardening on my land, a former hill farm, for 20 years, so have learned a lot over that time. I also had small gardens at summer rentals from time to time before I owned my house. When I started my garden here, I used to read the Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening in bed at night. It's quite a tome to have propped up on your lap in bed.