It’s hard to think of Spring coming along when it’s -17°F outside as it is here today. But, it is coming, and a few days ago I received the first sign.
The seed order was delivered.
Let me explain a little about my program. Each year around mid-November the annual seed catalog arrives. This is good timing, as the garden is pretty much wrapped up by October, and I’m ready to start thinking about the next season. My go-to seed company is FEDCO over in Clinton, Maine. I’ve been using them for years. The seeds are good, and the catalogs are fun to read. There is always useful information and entertaining stories in each year’s edition.
After browsing the latest catalog, I get down to figuring out what’s going where in the garden for the upcoming season. The garden is not that extensive, a collection of fourteen 4’ x 8’ raised beds, along with a small dirt patch used for winter squash.
The challenge each year is deciding what will be added, and what will be discontinued in the upcoming year. Then I juggle around each crop’s location within the beds to ensure there’s rotation happening. I usually do this around Thanksgiving, and end up with a map like this:
The seed order is placed at the beginning of December, as soon as the online ordering portal opens.
Each year I look to do something different. Last year I decided to grow onions from actual seed, as opposed to using sets as in past seasons. I try to grow enough white and red onions to get through to the next growing season, as onions are one of the best examples of home grown food being so much better than what’s in the store.. I’ve never quite made it, but last year starting from seeds we brought in about 50lbs of white onions and 20 or so pounds of red out of three of the beds, and that was the best year for onions I’ve ever had. If you’ve not seen an onion seed, here what they look like along with an example of what they become:
I haven’t decided what will be new for the 2022 garden. Last year we grew cauliflower for the first time here, and the yields were fantastic. I did notice a new seed in the catalog for a purple variety. Might give that a go. Have been looking for a purple carrot to complement the orange Nantes and Yellowstone varieties we already grow, but when I went to order last December that seed was unavailable. Lots of possibilities, but only 448 square feet of garden.
So while I consider what might be new, the next job will be to start the seedlings. This year they’ll be started no earlier than the weekend of April 2d, giving them a solid eight weeks before the beginning of June, which I’ve learned the hard way is the earliest anything should be set out here in the Northeast Kingdom.