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Main order done!

Set up for the main seed order

Five hours and done! This year’s main seed order was a first: finished in one session! Usually, it takes two. My head was starting to spin a little, but I felt COMPELLED by the late date to keep going (although I don’t think I’ve ever been much earlier, I always just plan to be). Guess I’m getting…better. A small order went in a while ago, for early starters like onions. This is all the rest!

It’s a comfortably familiar routine. I cleared an end of a work table and set things out. A couple of clipboards, one with the always-handy, slightly magical  seed calculator sheet. Catalogs from the main two seed houses I use. A scale for weighing heavier seed, and seed in larger quantities. A seed scoop for checking what’s left in packets (pour out, pour back!). Tiny (3/4″/19mm) bulldog clips, great for clipping together packets. And sitting by the table, three Rubbermaid bins that hold the precious seed inventory in freezer-weight ziploc storage bags.

First, I weighed the bulkier stuff: beans, peas, larger quantites of beets, radish, and so on, stored in their own bags. Then, I settled in, going through ziplocs, more or less alphabetically, from arugula to tomatoes. See what’s left, decide what more I need. Check the catalogs, try not to go wild with extra packets of stuff, “just to try”—the amount of seed needed per veggie is already worked out on that calculator sheet. A few of the ziploc bags have only a couple of packets of seed, each a different variety, like the Brussels sprouts in the pic. Most have 10-20. Tomatoes are getting near 200. It’s a lot to go through, but it’s like hooking up again with old friends. Easy. Fun. And I’m done!



  1. granny miller

    Is anything more exhausting on a small farm than the yearly  planning and decision making?

    I’d rather spend a hot dusty 10 hour day on a tractor or shovel pig manure for 3 hours than to have to sit down & organize the paper work and planning that is necessary for a successful ag business year.

    Not to mention breaking out the checkbook.
    The serious financial consequences of yearly agricultural planning is not for the faint of heart.

    Anytime a farmer plants a seed  or buys an animal it’s a gamble.
    So much is beyond our control.
    We can lose it all in a July tempest or to disease.
    If you ask me it’s  worse than a trip to Las Vegas.

    I hope your order wasn’t all business and you picked some fun stuff just for the heck of it!
    Nothing like growing something new or really funky to keep farming fun :)

  2. DennisP

    I’m new to gardening, only for the last couple of years have I taken it seriously.  Last year I was ordering potatoes from Seed Savers (Iowa) and they offered so many varieties that I was overwhelmed.  I wound up ordering five different varieties and then discovered I did’t have room for all.  So I just had to throw one bag of seed potatoes away.  I learned two lessons from that: a) I’ve doubled the size of my garden (Hah!), and b) to exercise some restraint a month ago when I sent in my seed order.

  3. I find it so exciting to go thru the catalogues and start dreaming about this years garden! I like to order lots of seed so I always have extra on hand. Trying amaranth and snow peas for the first time this year. Of course, my garden isn’t anywhere near as big as yours, so it doesn’t take near as long to sort out my seeds and make my list….


  4. I’m impressed! I usually do well to keep the catalog pages from which I ordered! By the time I’ve planted, I have a smudged tablet page that shows where I put the seed, but not what I expected from it. This level of organization would certainly make life easier. I bow to you, and perhaps take a page from your clipboard.


  5. Eva

    This is great. My variation has:
    Start plants  this long before the planting date for your region (weeks)    Germination temp in F    Germination time in days    Approx. outplanting dates    Seeds/gram    Seed source    Certified organic yes/no    Seeds bought for 2009 season by weight    Number of seeds  bought for 2009 season   Need to buy

    So far no hybred seed I would otherwise add a yes/no column for that too.

  6. Cynthia

    I love perusing the seed catalogs.  However, it gets costly.  Can anyone tell me the benefits of ordering through the catalog vs. going to the store?  Store prices are vastly less than in the catalog (Burpee specifically).

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