Writer / Carrie Petty
The real birth of any garden begins within the seed. Seeds are incredible to work with and teach your children about, particularly when it comes to teaching about where our food originates. While it is way too soon to begin your seeds for the garden indoors, now is a perfect time to begin planning and dreaming a bit about what you would like to accomplish once the rush of spring chores arrives. This is the time to get organized!
This is the month that seed catalogs begin to arrive in the mail. It is like Christmas all over again for the gardener. I love the organic, non-GMO seed providers like Seed Savers Exchange, Seeds of Change, and Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, but my two favorites are Renee’s Garden Seeds and Johnny’s Selected Seeds. They have a fantastic selection and a great corporate culture. Renee often answers her own phone while working in her California garden. I have trusted the germination (when the seed pops open) of their seeds for many years. All can be found online.
It is so important to select heirloom and non-GMO varieties. Heirloom seeds are defined as seeds found prior to World War II, and mostly passed down through generations in a certain area. Organic non-GMO seeds are defined as seeds that have not been genetically modified or cross-pollinated with GMO seed pollen. Non-GMO seeds are not owned by mega companies. I think food and seeds are a natural born right, just like food. If you own the seed, you own the food. And if you own the food system…well now, don’t get me started.
Now, I am from a big-ag family and I appreciate the great need to feed the world. I am a woman who has fought for justice in the poverty arena all her life. But there is a deep need today for balance in the farming world. More and more companies are seeking agricultural balance, which is wonderful. And in the home garden, where our small batches of food are grown, the organic path is easy to accomplish. Besides, who wants a GMO seed with salmon DNA in your homegrown tomatoes? Yuck!
This is an excellent month to search seed catalogs and find the type of plants you would like to begin indoors in the month of February. You can begin with your cold crops like kale, spinach, kohlrabi, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and more. These veggies are called cold crops because, you guessed it, they love the cold. Cool, fun fact – did you know pansy flowers are in the spinach family and are also edible? They are a cold crop too and you may begin sowing pansy seeds really early.
Organization is the key to excellent seed germination and success. Keep a journal and a garden calendar. Note when you started and when you see the first leaves emerge. The back of your seed envelope will have all the instruction you need, so keep them for further seasonal instructions. Keep your seed packets in an airtight container. I love a product called the Seed Keeper Deluxe.
If you need help, ask your local garden center for instruction. Gardeners in general love to teach, and I love sharing these tips with you all to help you learn how to grow a more beautiful life!