This is a good time of year to sit in a cozy chair in front of the fire and go through seed catalogs and look forward to the coming Spring and Summer’s bounty. It’s easy to get caught up in the pretty pictures but now is the time to take a hard look at reality and make some decisions and prioritize what’s really important to you. What do you really enjoy from the garden, how much room do you have, how much time are you willing to spend and how many people are you feeding all need to be answered.
One of my favourite things is to have fresh mixed greens all season so we try to have staggered plantings all year. Fresh peas off the vine are something to look forward to and of course a tomato sandwich with basil is something to enjoy in the heat of summer. One of the last things I look forward to is searching through the pumpkin patch before the foliage has frozen and discovering the multitude of colours and sizes and shapes of pumpkins. It’s not all fun and games though – having a supply of garlic, winter squash and potatoes over the winter is an essential part of the equation too. Canning or freezing tomatoes, beans, pesto are also on the to-do list!
When it comes to ordering seeds, Small Farm Canada (one my favourite magazines) does an amazing job of sifting and sorting through the multitude of companies with their 2015 Seed Buying Guide. It was published in the November/December issue and is also available on-line.
A few companies that we will be ordering from include William Dam Seeds, Greta’s Organic Garden, Terra Edibles, Richters Herbs (starter plants), Eagle Creek Seed Potatoes and Vesey’s Seeds and thanks to Small Farm Canada there are many more to consider all in one place!
We always try a few new things each year of course. This year we will be trying Fodder Beets, also featured in Small Farm Canada which describes them as ‘an animal-feed crop originally grown in the Rhineland (Germany) in the late 1700s and possibly even back to the 1500s.’ They can weigh up to 20 pounds and store well so we’ll probably try them for the goats and pigs. A few suppliers include the Cottage Gardener, Heritage Harvest Seed and The Incredible Seed Company.
Fodder Beet Yellow Cylindrical
And of course we’re always on the lookout for beautiful varieties of ornamental sunflowers. I always go back to some of my favourites like ‘Autumn Beauty’ and ‘Sunbright’ but I found this one ‘Red Sun’ and will be adding it to the garden this year too!
Sunflower Red Sun
Here’s hoping for a good season and lots of productive gardening this coming year!
Small Farm Canada with 2015 Seed Guide