It’s time to buy your seeds! If you haven’t been seed saving, that is. Personally, I have beans coming out the wa-zoo which means I won’t be purchasing any of these babies. But I will be looking for some fresh bibb lettuce. While I know how to harvest lettuce seeds for seed-saving, I haven’t been making the time. Call me lazy, call me too eager for the next harvest, I’ve pulled most of my plants before they had a chance to flower (like this lovely lady below). Seeds will form in the flowers, whereby you can remove from the plant, hang it to dry in a bag making collecting the tiny seeds easy.
Now, for those of you who are trying to save seeds, I completely understand how you could become so excited over your tomato crop making sauce–ketchup, salads, even canning the beauties–that you completely forgot to save a few ripe tomatoes for the purpose of saving seeds. Yep. You plopped them right into the boiling water for skin removal without even thinking. It happens. It’s okay. More Beefsteak tomato seeds are on my list, too. I mean, these guys are gorgeous, I can’t get enough of them!
But take heart. You’re enjoying the thrill of gardening, reaping what you sow and cooking the dickens out of it. Which is all good. However, keep in mind that when those seed catalogs arrive and you eagerly run to the mailbox (or jog), be careful. Ice tends to be slippery. You don’t want to break a hip or bruise a wrist–you’re going to need those limbs in good condition to begin the season!
Now, once you’re settled indoors, snug as a bug in a rug in front of a warm fire, pull out those gorgeous catalog pages filled with plump ripe fruits and vegetables, a colorful array of flowers and herbs, and look for heirloom seeds. Not hybrid, not super-duper-extra-sweet or double the normal growth potential…
Uh, uh. You want heirloom, preferably organic. Why?
Because once you plant those hybrid seeds, the ones meant to overcome Mother Nature’s deficiencies (though don’t let her hear you say that out loud), you’ll be sorely disappointed next season when the seeds you saved don’t produce. Hybrids aren’t natural and when you replant the seeds, your new crop of plants will not reproduce the original fruit, if they germinate at all. Hybrid Better Boys will yield a bounty of produce, but next season? These bad boys might only yield a crop of cherry-like tomatoes. Se pasa. It happens.
So save yourself the heartache and only buy heirloom seeds. And while you’re shopping, remember to only buy what you’ll actually eat. Otherwise you’ll end up with a rotted mess of unwanted produce. Plant seeds according to package instructions and keep moist. Think of them as babies and treat them as such.
This spring I’m tripling my corn beds. Now that I know how to control those dastardly insects, I think I can reap a golden harvest this year. I’ll keep you posted. Until then…happy gardening!