Seed Inventory

I’ve already received my first 2009 seed catalog in the mail.  They keep coming earlier and earlier, and frankly, I wish they wouldn’t.  I’m not ready to be excited about next season yet–I’m still decompressing from this one!

I know they’re hoping we all remember those cool varieties our neighbors and fellow market vendors planted and are hoping to lock in some early orders.  But I’ve always liked getting the catalogs starting around the Winter Solstice–it makes the dark days seem much brighter when I can dream sweet warm loamy dreams about the spring garden while the snow piles up in drifts.

When I see the catalogs coming in mid-November, I’m just not ready to dream those dreams yet–my hands are still chilled from harvesting the last of the leeks and arugula and kale, and I haven’t made enough warm soups and casseroles from those final fall ingredients to think about planting more of them.

But the arrival of those first seed catalogs is a reminder that I need to get on my seed inventory.  It’s downright dangerous to even peek at those pages without knowing what I have stored in all those boxes down in the basement cupboard.  I might fix my eye on all the frilly lettuces and have made up my mind to order five or six kinds before realizing I have that many or more needing to be used up ASAP.

Flowers are especially dangerous–I have a habit of deciding that the garden really needs some more colorful blooms while conveniently forgetting that I’ve been deciding that for the past three years and ordering all kinds of things I’ve never gotten around to planting.

So after a little neatening up of my living room, I’ll pull out my garden journal and a good pen and start bringing up the boxes and taking stock of the broccoli and zinnias and tomatoes and arugula and who knows what else I’ve got down there.

Heck, I think I’ve still got yucca seed from Crazy Horse Canyon on the Rosebud and some prickly poppies from the Dismal River Overlook in the Nebraska Sandhills.  Maybe this year I’ll fill a tray with sandy soil for that experiment–a little shredded oak leaves mixed in.

Then there’s some American Bittersweet I saved from the dog park and more single hollyhocks I got from my mom in Vermont.  Heck–I ought to pot up any weird echinacea varieties I want to start and put them outside now to cold stratify.

Another nice thing about the inventory is putting together a pile of packets to give away to community gardeners and friends–things I’m not planning on growing again but maybe someone else wants to try.  I think it’d be fun to have a late-winter/early spring seed swap event to get folks thinking about their spring planting and community garden plot preparation.

Well, there I go–starting to get excited about next year when we’re a month and a half away from the end of this one.  I’d better get that inventory underway!


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Matt on November 18, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Early marketing is certainly out-of-hand. I rolled my eyes when I saw eggnog appearing in the cooler before Halloween had even transpired, and my dental hygienist was telling me yesterday that a popular local radio station has already switched to holiday tunes, all day, all the time. Gimme a break! But I suppose you could look at it this way, unlike eggnog and overplayed croonings on a tight Christmas, seeds are something useful and definitely worth looking forward to.

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on November 18, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Oh, my friend. You have not tried the Burbach’s eggnog from these parts!

    I will have to ply you with it when I see you. It is definitely something to look forward to, though its usefulness, beyond enriching the holiday cheer, might be relegated to those who need to put on a little weight!

  3. Burbach’s makes eggnog? Be still my beating heart!

    A seed swap or some way for people to share seeds would be great. I would love to be able to plant a little of some things, but don’t want to get a whole packet because I won’t use it all.

    If a seed swap gets going, I’ve got some nice heirloom marigold seeds I saved from my Minneapolis garden last year.

  4. Posted by flyingtomato on November 19, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Yes, they have eggnog, and it’s in Jones’ now!

    I’ve already got a big basket of seeds to swap with, plus more to cull out of some bigger bags (I don’t think I’m going to plant the whole gallon bag of zinnia or fernleaf fiddleneck seeds I’ve saved).

    I’ve got marigolds, too! Two strains of Pesce’s Gold heirloom–one gold and one lemon yellow, some I cadged from First National bank last year, maybe some Tiger Eyes, too. Lots of calendula seed as well, which I grow for local soap and cosmetic-maker friends. I always save a lot more seed than I can use.

    I’ll probably post later on the kinds of things I’ll have for a seed swap–once I’ve finished my inventory project.


  5. We don’t send out catalogs, not only does it require a lot of paper, which is not very environmentally friendly, but it is also very expensive for smaller family owned businesses such as ours. We hope you will still explore our website and enjoy all of the new varieties we have for 2009!

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