Organizing your seeds is a big step towards planning your vegetable garden. Here are tips to help you organize, take inventory, and make a list of seeds to purchase so you can get ready for the gardening season!
There is nothing more exciting to a gardener than planning the next growing season. Even though it is cold outside, my heart warms at the thought of planning the garden, starting seeds under lights, and digging in the dirt even on a small scale.
I enjoy paging through the seed catalogs and marking the things that interest me. This usually results in more crops than I could ever grow in a lifetime, so the process of trimming down the list to more realistic goals begins.
Before I can do any garden planning, I need to get my seed collection in order, decide what I want to grow this year, take inventory, make a seed list, and order seeds. Here is my yearly routine for making a seed list and some tips I have learned along the way.
How to Organize Your Seeds
If you are like me and are eager to kick off your gardening season, you probably have a list of things you want to grow or maybe even a pile of seed packages that you have acquired over the past year. It is time to get things organized and take inventory so you know what you have on hand and what you need to purchase.
I store my seeds in two shoe box sized totes. The seed boxes are divided into sections (i.e. tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, squash, etc.) with index cards and labeled. Each seed package is stored in a zipper bag to keep it dry.
I organize the seed boxes by filing the seed packages into the correct sections. Once this is complete, I spread out each group on the table like playing cards. I review the packages to see how many seeds they contain, check the dates, and decide what I want to grow.
Do you have older seeds and wonder if they are still good? Try this simple seed germination test to find out if they will sprout and grow come planting time:
How to Decide What You Want to Grow
Think about the types of vegetables you want to grow. Focus on what you enjoy eating as you flip through the pages of your seed catalogs and sort through your inventory of seeds.
If you love salads, then tomatoes, spinach, and lettuce would be obvious choices to grow in your garden. If you enjoy fresh salsa, be sure to include peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro on your list. Herbs are very beautiful and add a pop of flavor to your cooking so tucking a few plants into your garden is also a good idea.
Targeting your objectives will help you choose vegetables that will make the most of your garden.
Keep a Garden Seed List or Two
I usually begin my list with the tomato category because tomatoes are an important staple in my garden. We enjoy tomatoes fresh during the growing season, but the bulk of the crop is preserved as canned tomato sauce and salsa for our food storage shelves.
I rely heavily on paste-type tomatoes that are great for preserving, such as San Marzano, Roma, Amish Paste, and Juliet. So it is important I have plenty of seeds on hand. I spread the packages out in front of me, check the dates, make sure I have enough inventory of fresh seeds for the season. Each tomato variety I want to grow is added to a list.
I keep two seed lists going as I move from section to section of my seed box. One is a list of the plant varieties of each category that I would like to grow; the other is a list of garden seeds I need to purchase.
How to Store Garden Seeds
Many seeds will keep for years if they are stored in a dry location in a cool area between 40 and 50˚F. I store my seeds in a dark corner of the basement away from the furnace. If pests are a problem, you can place the seed packets in sealed glass jars.
Winter is the perfect time to plan your vegetable garden. Start by organizing your seeds so you can take inventory, test older seeds for germination, and make a list of seeds you need. Once spring comes there is so much to do. It is helpful to have your seed inventory ready when it is time to plant them.
The next steps to planning your vegetable garden is plotting the garden beds to help you figure out how many transplants to grow, and setting up a seed starting and planting schedule so you know when to start your seeds and plant your vegetable garden.
You May Also Like:
- 10 Steps to Starting Seedlings Indoors
- How to Grow a Salsa Garden
- How to Build an Inexpensive Grow Light Shelf
Good planning is key to a successful vegetable garden
Whether you are new to growing your own food or have been growing a vegetable garden for years, you will benefit from some planning each year. You will find everything you need to organize and plan your vegetable garden in my PDF eBook, Grow a Good Life Guide to Planning Your Vegetable Garden.