Seeds, Seeds and more Seeds

Some may say vegetable gardening is all about the seeds. Every winter as I page through the seed catalogs I can’t help but dream of the perfect harvest. It’s this time of year that I begin laying out my plans for the upcoming gardening seasons. This year seems a little more challenging thenĀ the past few years because of my desire to harvest food all year round.

Each year I begin by asking myself three simple questions:
What should I grow? (what seeds do I need)
How much should I grow? (how many seeds do I need)
When should I start it? (what do i do with the seeds)

Garden Plan 2012

To answer the question: what should I grow? I start by laying out my growing seasons and then listing what vegetables I would like to grow in each season. Once I have a general list I begin to select various varieties of each vegetable that are best suited for the season in which I would like to grow them. Most seed companies will supply you with some basic information to help make this process easier. When I have an idea of what I would like to grow, I check my inventory of seeds to determine what I may need to purchase.

2012 Seeds

When trying to determine how much I should grow, I make a basic sketch of my garden layout on a sheet of graph paper. Once my scale and layout is established, I then begin sketching in various vegetables at the recommend spacings. This process is a good reality check, it helps make sure you have room to plant what you want to plant. Once my sketches are complete it is time to start thinking about when to plant.

Each year I keep a detailed spread sheet of all my seed starting information, this is a great reference tool when considering when to start various seeds. With both my growing listsĀ  and garden layouts complete, I begin to develop a rough seed starting timeline for the upcoming seasons. It is only a rough timeline, because there are so many events in our lives that can affect our ability to get to the job of seed starting. The biggest challenges sometimes comes from Mother Nature. Once I begin planting I create a new spread sheet to record the data for the upcoming season. Keeping good records makes planning and planting in the future much easier.

It’s Nothing New, It’s Just Old Fashion???

Welcome to the first posting on The Year Round Harvest. For my first post I thought it might be interesting to explain the statement “It’s Nothing New, It’s Just Old Fashion”.

When I began gardening several years ago I had three key sources for knowledge; my father, my grandfather and books. Early in my gardening experience my father and grandfather gave me lots of advice on the various aspects of gardening. It was my grandfather who introduced me to the concept of organic gardening. But even with this wealth of family knowledge I felt I had to learn something for myself. So I turned to books and magazines.

I started reading everything I could on gardening and farming, trying to learn all the latest ideas and concepts. After I would complete a book or read an article in a magazine I would go across town and tell my grandfather about it. Each conversation usually started the same way; I would tell him about the latest concept I had just read about and he would respond by saying “Yes, that’s how we did it years ago”. Sometimes he would even tell me stories about how my great-great grandmother would do it. We would discuss the topics in-depth, sometimes talking for hours. These are the moments I will never forget.

After this happened a few times, I began to realize something, everything that I thought was new was actually just the way it was done years ago. The only reason these ideas seemed new to me was because they had not been discussed in so many years. The reality is Its Nothing New, Its Just Old Fashion.

Just remember our parents, grandparents or even great-grandparents are a great resource for information about growing and preserving food for a year round harvest. They had to do did it for survival, we get to do it for fun.