(N)Hello, I am a gardener and I have a problem. Whew, what a relief to get that off my conscience! But I actually do not want any help getting over my condition, in fact I hope it is contagious! I wouldn’t call it an addiction, per se, I could stop if I wanted to (ha!), more of a vice (because I choose to spend many hours during my week thinking about seeds). My husband refers to it as my obsession. Obsessive Seeding Disorder. Guilty!
Because our growing season in Nova Scotia is roughly 20 weeks frost-free, a lot of thought has to go into what seeds I will plant, how and when they will be started and where they can be planted without getting devoured by wild life once outside. Thankfully, Nova Scotia has a fairly large collection of gardeners who share my O-Seed-D affliction and there are many good resources to help with the daunting task of picking the right variety of seed! I have found kindred spirits and had great conversations in the church nursery, at my daughter’s basketball games, over a glass of wine at bonfires down the street, during “meditation” time in yoga class and even during the odd moment of down time at work (I would say don’t tell my boss, but I think he is part of the club). I have been surprised by some of the people that speak up when the topic of seeds pops up – there are many closet gardeners you would never suspect!
Seed planning for this year started with seed planting last year. I have a small journal that I keep notes in from year to year with planting dates and techniques used. I track germination rates, successes and failures. I make notes about what I started far too early, too late and which varieties were a complete flop so as not to repeat the same mistake twice. Einstein proved his brilliance when he said “The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results…” That said, I often forget this quote and black out a bit when I pull out my trays – my obsession takes over and it seems entirely reasonable to start 100 tomatoes when I can only actually fit 20-30 plants in my garden! I also have a specific seeding calendar (one of the many charity ones that come in the mail) for tracking planting dates for inside and out. I find this method using the calendar a quick and easy way to keep myself on track without too many fancy spreadsheets or by trying to keep seed packets sorted by starting dates.
I am not a psychologist or geneticist, but I am quite certain that this condition is genetic. My grandmother always had far too many seedlings for the amount of pots she could plant and my girls are exhibiting the same quirks to which I simply cannot say no. Just last weekend my wee girl and I were going to seed just 12 jalapeños and 12 munchkin broccolis so they would be ready to plant out in the early tunnels. Fail. I gave her the scoop and seed starting mix, turned my back to bleach few more cells left over from last year (to make sure there were no diseases to spread) and before I knew it I heard her counting “22, 23, 24, 25…” of each! Some celery also managed to find it’s way into trays, and some lavender, and some columbine (because we saw those at the store and thought we may not be able to live without them any longer), and some chamomile (because we weren’t sure how we managed to live without them until now), and some Black Eyed Susans (because how could we go on living with such an unfulfilling ditch)……….you get the picture. Just one more reason to add to my list of the thousand reasons I love that little girl!
Selecting the variety of seed can be overwhelming – this is where seed catalogues and a support group come in. I try to use Canadian seed as much as possible, and preferably grown by sources from the maritimes to ensure the best chances for my Nova Scotia garden. Each catalogue has planting guides and friends who have been in “the club” for much longer than I have shared their wisdom and extra seeds freely. I have discovered some delicious veggies that I would never have tried myself simply by spreading my roots and soaking up any borrowed wisdom that comes my way. Somehow, even reporting back how a new veggie is doing has strengthened some great relationships with truly wonderful people.
I select seed for many reasons – storing, freezing, drying, overwintering, canning. It all started as a small summer garden in my first house and over the years has grown into…well, alright, I admit it, an obsession! Anyone who wants to join my club is more than welcome, there is always room for more in my garden, even if I run out of space under my lights!
This is the seeding guide from Halifax Seed and my calendar and for this year:
This is my veggie list for this year (sorry about the printing):
These are my new picks (so far) for this year:
Peppermint Swiss Chard (Halifax Seed) – Thanks Niki!
Sub Arctic Plenty Tomatoes (Still looking…) – Thanks Brenda!
Green Envy Cherry toms (Burpees) – Thanks Wendy!
Black Plum Tomatoes (Still looking) – thanks Margeurite!
Sicilia Violetto Cauliflower (Suttons), Tonya’s Pick Pod beans (Annapolis) and Purple Sun Carrots (Suttons) for the “Purple bed”
Celebration Squash (Veseys)
Gonevese Basil (Gusto Italia)
Market Express Baby Turnip (Halifax Seed) – Never thought of turnip tops before last year – Thanks Deborah!
Rudbeckia – Just for Debbie! (Hope Seeds)
Columbine – thanks for posting that picture last year Selena! (McKenzie)
Climbing vine and Ladybird Cream Purple Spot Nasturtium (McKenzie)
German Chamomile (Burpees)
Perennial Dianthus (from our own seed)
Have a look at the Borrowed Wisdom section for my favourite East Coast Resources
” An addiction to gardening is not at all bad when you consider all the other choices in life” ~ Cora Lee Bell