It’s usually in mid-January that we pour through the catalogues and pick the seeds we want to start this year.
Having such a variety to choose from is both a blessing and a curse. Well, maybe that’s a little strong – perhaps a ‘blight’, to use a gardening term. But, invariably, we order way more than we need. Not just because we have a limited capacity for starting seeds, but also because we simply don’t have enough room in our garden.
Of course, we rationalize ordering more seeds by reminding ourselves of the trays of plants we share with family members, friends, the church flower beds, and so on. A few years back, Susan told our nephew in British Columbia that she had transplanted 2,700 seedlings. He was curious about why so many. “Well,” she said, “they’re for our garden, and for our daughter’s garden, and her friend’s garden, and we have a few friends we share with, and then there’s the church grounds …” And his response was, “So, what will you do with the other 2,000 plants?”
It’s hard to limit our choices. We’re seduced by the beautiful colored photos in the seed catalogues, and the appeal of the new introductions. And, of course, it’s always fun to experiment with something we haven’t tried before.
The other factor is that we can’t always predict what the germination rate will be. Should we order an extra packet of the red petunias, just in case?
One year we had asters and gypsophila coming out of our ears. And the digitalis came up like the hair on a dog’s back. Unbelievable! That’s when we learned it makes no sense to transplant ALL the seedlings that emerged from the seeds. It does require some planning and making informed choices. As painful as it is, sometimes it’s necessary to throw out perfectly healthy and vigorous seedlings.
So this year, we’ll be guided by our resolve to order only what we absolutely need; limiting the variety of annuals to those we know will work well for us; and resisting the temptation to experiment with all those interesting new varieties.
AS IF!! Guaranteed that when the seed order goes in we’ll realize that most of the resolve will have melted away. Oh well, it’s all part of the fun.
Oh, and by the way. Going through the online seed sources, I came across a page on the McKenzie Seed web site with a wonderful list of gardening tips – some are quite ingenious. Here’s the link: