We are slowly getting into the planning phases of our 2024 garden. One of the first things we tackle is dealing with our seed stock! We’re going to share our general process with you.
The first thing we’ll mention is our storage technique. We use a photo organizer to manage our fairly hefty seed collection. It’s by far the best organization method we’ve ever used, it lacks for nothing. We have two of these containers, one for our vegetable seeds and the other for our flower seeds. Our vegetable seeds are generally organized by genus (e.g. brassicas, allium) in most cases, but when we have a lot of something (e.g. peppers) they sometimes get their own organizer. Our flowers are organized alphabetically by their genus (e.g. daisy, viola, etc), with “roughly” even distribution across the photo organizers. We can tell you that having everything organized and together, as opposed to a disorganized box, has saved us from many inadvertent seed purchases!
A key early process is evaluating your seed stock for viability. We printed the expected viability of each type of seed into a little insert that goes into each of the photo organizers. This allows us, at a glance, to estimate the rough lifespan of each of the types of seeds that are in each photo box. We identify any packets that might be getting long in the tooth. We also check our journal from the prior spring, that reminds us if we had any general viability issues. These go onto our seed wishlist for the season.
The other practice we committed to is always writing the purchase year on every seed packet we get. While many packets have “best buy” dates or “purchase year” dates on them, this isn’t universal. Having this allows us to very quickly assess each seed packet for its age, without having to hunt for the age information we need! If a seed packet is past its viability date, it might go on the list for replacement. (Remember, seeds don’t go bad “all at once,” so sometimes we also decide to grow them out another year, too!)
We like to get our seed orders in fairly early in the season each year. Remember, we’re competing with other growers that start their gardens much sooner than we do. Getting those orders in early means we’re not scrambling last minute and we have the best selection available to us.
As we take on other planning aspects for 2024, we’ll be sure to trickle those posts. It’s slow going this time of year, but bit by bit, we’re moving things forward!