My daughter wants to have a garden, but she doesn’t know where to start. She asks, “What do I do first, and when do I do it?” I am writing this blog for her, and for any of my other friends who are first dipping their toe into the garden soil.
Know the Seasons for Your Own Region
One key to successful gardening is to follow the seasons where you live. I live in North Idaho and we just had 18 inches of snow. There is still snow in the yard and garden. It is tempting to put off getting started on garden tasks here until the snow melts, and the sun tells us to go outside and play, but by then it will already be late for some garden possibilities. Of course one shouldn’t be discouraged, as the year will be young and much could still be done. But, getting back to the present, one should right now be ordering seeds and preparing to plant indoors to get a jump start on plants that need a long growing season.
Choosing Appropriate Varieties for Your Area is Another Key to Success
Deciding which varieties to grow is important. Most beginners do not understand how vital it is to choose the proper varieties of seeds to plant. For example, getting ripe tomatoes, peppers, corn and watermelon where I live is a challenge. Not only do I live at 2700 feet, but I live in a northern lattitude as well. Every year I scan the seed catalogues intently for varieties that are cool weather tolerant and short season maturing.
Which brings me to another point: know your growing zone. Ask your neighbors, check with your local agricultural extension agency, read your seed catalogues, and make temperature observations. I live in zone 4b.
I list some of the jewels I have discovered and grown below. These are all non-hybrid varieties that can be grown for seeds that are then saved for replanting next year:
- Hookers Sweet Corn
- Oregon Spring Tomato
- Sub-Arctic Plenty Tomato
- Alaska Fancy Tomato
- Bloody Butcher Tomato
- Gold Nugget Winter Squash
- Blacktail Mountain Watermelon
- Sweet Banana Pepper
- Early Jalapeno
- Black Beauty Zuchini
- Tiny Tim Cherry Tomato (miniature for growing in pots)
Every year I discover new varieties to try. This year I am trying
- Santiam Tomato
- Silvery Fir Tree Tomato
- Bushy Cucumber
- Hungarian Wax Pepper
- Minnesota Midget Cantaloupe
Some Seed Companies
So where do we find all of these lovely varieties? Below are some sources:
- http://www.seedsavers.org/ A group of seed savers that preserve many heirloom varieties.
- http://www.superseeds.com/ Very reasonably priced and lots of old and new varieties.
- http://www.seedsofchange.com/ All organic and the seed is good for at least two years.
- http://www.territorialseed.com/ Nice variety, and offer smaller sampler size at lower cost.
- http://www.henryfields.com/ Old standby seed company.
- http://www.gurneys.com/ Another old standby.
No self-respecting blog on herb gardens would be complete without mentioning
Horizon Herbs http://www.horizonherbs.com/ A huge variety of hard to find herbs, and the catalogue is informative in itself.
Richters Herbs http://www.richters.com/ A Canadian Company offering all kinds of delectable herb seeds and plants.
Next blog will cover what you can plant indoors now. In the meantime, go to a garden store and buy grow light systems. I recommend the four foot systems. Until next time, enjoy salivating over the seed catalogues!