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Friday Favorite: Seeds

April 5th, 2019

I’m finally back and unpacked, our week in France was fantastic. One of the places we visited was Villandry, a place I’ve been wanting to see for a LONG time! I’m not really the type to buy kitschy souvenirs, typically I try to find something I’ll use. At Villandry, I bought two packs of seeds, both French heirlooms.

Cinderella type Pumpkins ‘Rouge tres Hatif d’Estampes’ and my favorite lettuce ‘Merveille des Quatre Saisons’. If they both do well, I’ll start saving seed for these two varieties each year. This variety of lettuce is a favorite of mine, one I’ve grown most years. The last batch of seed I got didn’t have great germination, so I didn’t have any of this last year. Fresh lettuce seed germinates very quickly, so I’ll be happy to start saving seed for this particular variety so I always have viable seed in the future.

What types of things do you purchase on vacation as a remembrance of your trip?

Friday Favorite: Renee’s Garden Seeds

February 22nd, 2019

If you’ve been reading here for a while you know how much I like Renee’s Garden Seeds. Not only does Renee do lots of wonderful things to encourage gardening (like donating seeds to school gardens), her seeds are specifically chosen for the small home gardener.

One of my favorite things about Renee’s is that you can get individual packets of seeds that contain several different varieties of vegetables. This is such a money saver for the home gardener, not to mention it limits the amount of seed you have to store from year to year. You can find a wide variety of options with multiple varieties in each packet. I’ve grown her multi-packs of: beans, zucchini, beets, broccoli, lettuce, radishes, scallions, and carrots.


I’m in the process of figuring out just which items I’m going to be ordering from Renee’s, I’m thinking radishes and beets for sure. The ‘Catalina’ spinach is also a favorite of mine.

Do you like to grow multiple varieties of each type of vegetable?

Seeds, Seeds, and more Seeds

November 20th, 2017

I’ve been slowly adding items to my little store, I’m trying to get all the seeds up this week or next. As I’ve been listing, I’ve been looking at the stash of things I’ve collected this summer.

I’m also testing germination on many of the seeds. Since they’re super fresh, the rates are fantastic.

There are seeds here, seeds there, seeds EVERYWHERE! I’m slowly getting them organized, into jars, and then up on the site. Writing descriptions takes the longest. Slowly but surely I’m chipping away at the list of things to do for this project. On Saturday morning alone I managed to add 9 items!

What projects are you working on this week?

Seeds, Seeds, Seeds

January 3rd, 2017

It’s that time of the year when I’m looking through all my seeds and making my orders for this summer. Some seeds I keep from year to year, if they have a loner shelf life, others need ordered fresh each season. Onions, leeks, lettuce, and spinach are among the ones that need ordered yearly for proper germination.
seeding more 3
seed list 2
I used to wait until after I was finished with my taxes or order seeds, now I order them first thing in January. A few years I wasn’t able to get the varieties of onion seeds I wanted because they were sold out by the end of January. That means seed buying in now a first of the year activity for me. I’m still making up my list, figuring out what my favorites were from last year and what new things I want to grow in 2017. Exciting times indeed!

When do you typically order seeds?

Fresh Seed

February 18th, 2016

I’ve blogged about the shelf life of seeds and even made a seed viability chart a few years ago. You can see the shelf life of seed chart here. You may think it’s not important to check seed freshness, store seed in specific ways, or purchase new seed of specific types of vegetables each year. Here’s a great demonstration of the importance of fresh seed:
lettuce seedlings 1
As you can see by this image the seeds on the right hand side had slow or very low germination. This seed was purchased last winter for spring sowing. It germinated beautifully last spring. This year, germination is slow and spotty. Most likely these seeds will still germinate, though they will do so in a few weeks instead of a few days.
lettuce seedlings 2
As you can see on the right hand side of the flat, germination was great with the fresh seed purchased this spring. With garden seed, you don’t know exactly how old the seed is when you get it. Thus, lettuce seed may have a decent shelf life, but the seed you purchase may already be a few years old. It pays to watch germination rates and figure out if your seed supplier is perhaps using not so fresh seed. I have great long-term germination rates when purchasing seed from farm supply business like Johnny’s Selected Seeds and High Mowing Seeds.
Shelf life of seeds
When it doubt about the viability of your seeds, throw them out (or feed it to the chickens like I do). The longer I garden the more I realize the benefits of starting with fresh seed. For me, an extra 10 days under the grow light waiting for slow germination throws off my entire system. I’d much rather spend an extra $4 buying a fresh pack of lettuce seed that will germinate faster, grow faster, and reach harvest stage a week or two early than it is to save seed packets from year to year. If you want ultra fresh seed, save your own lettuce seed. I do this for a few varieties that I love.

How often do you cull old seeds and get fresh?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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