January is for garden planning

I spent the early days of January 2023 thinking about the vegetable garden I won’t be planting until March. I’ve ordered my seeds, and I’ve gone so far as considering drawing a map of what goes where. (I may not get beyond considering, though it would be smart if I did—see below—but planning in two dimensions is always hard for me, and I’m pretty good at knowing how much I can grow in my 400 square feet, just not necessarily where exactly it’s going to go.) There is absolutely no need to start all this quite so early, but I like knowing that the seeds I want won’t run out before I get to them, and I had the time and enthusiasm, so there we are.

Since I don’t have room to grow everything I might want to, I have to make some choices. When I was a newbie gardener, I always bought too many seeds, and… okay, I still buy too many seeds, but at least I have a method now! So I thought I’d share it in case it’s of help to anyone.

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Winter is for garden planning

It’s time to plan the 2020 vegetable garden! Or at least time to start thinking about it.

Looking forward to summer harvests

Times have changed – I used to be thrilled when a seed catalog showed up before Christmas, and now it’s “What? The first week of December and only two catalogs have arrived? Don’t they love me anymore?” But I’m sure more will be along soon. Flipping through pages of lavishly-illustrated vegetables and flowers is a great way to spend a winter’s hour or three, but it’s oh so easy to be tempted into buying more seeds than you need. As someone who’s done this multiple times, I’ve developed some strategies for keeping the seed frenzy under control. So, for what it’s worth, here’s my process.

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How to Choose a Seed Catalog

Like holiday decorations, seed catalogs seem to arrive earlier every year. They bring a bit of color and freshness into a cold and often dreary season, and winter gives us the perfect chance to sit down and plan next year’s garden. It’s SEED TIME!

seed catalogs
Seed catalogs. Photo: Erica Smith

But NO, I hear you say. I’m not ready yet! Well… maybe we don’t need to get organized about ordering seeds until sometime in the new year. As the catalogs slide into your mailbox, though, it’s a good time to review them and make some preliminary decisions about where you’ll get those seeds from. Even those of us who’ve been gardening for a while like to switch it up between vendors sometimes, and I’m sure many Maryland Grows readers who are newer gardeners have reached the point where they’re getting seed catalogs they never asked for, but which look tantalizing. But no one wants to pay shipping costs on orders of one or two seed packets from each company. How do you narrow the choice down? Read on for some criteria to make the selection easier. Continue reading