This post is tailored more towards those that have land, bigger gardens and for homesteaders that are growing to fill their jars, cellars, pantry’s and keep their families bellies full for up to a year or two.
Its not going to be quite as applicable to smaller scale gardens that can be covered more easily, still have drip lines or are watered well as a square foot garden would be.
With the rising costs of fruit/veggies in the store and the increase in recalls, you might also find that extra veggies produced will have very good re-sale or barter value in the coming years!
As will proven quality saved seed!
Want to know what I will be spending more money on this year..
Seeds, so many more seeds. I am going crazy on the seeds, I know it, hubby just blinks hard at me, catalog come in, friends connect and community seed savers and I are chatting.
I am ordering in short season seeds and I hope they are going to help me get two season’s in the gardens. I used to plan for a three season garden, but I am officially saying NOPE.. in the past five years, I have not gotten a single three season garden and with the coming flip of the el Nino, there is no end in sight.
I say two season now because either the first season starts so soon in the spring that come regular garden season, its high drought or it’s flipped and is a flood spring and the back-end is changing as well.. we have more fall rains making it harder to save seed, harder get harvests done and then throw in early hard frosts. Sorry folks, other than in greenhouse or double hoop house growing..
I am calling it.. my farms ability in the first ten years we were here to grow three season cropping is DONE.. so be it.. two season it is..
Adapt people.. It’s the name of the game!
The reason I am pouring of the seed catalog is because I am looking for seeds that
- Start in cold wet soil
- Seeds that will start well in pots
- Continue to produce well in hot dry conditions
- Set seed in cool temps
- Set seed in hot temps
- Produce after light frosts
- Shorter crops heights
- Higher crops that produce dense cover
See where I am going with this? If you are garden already you know why that list but for those new at gardening.. lets break that list down a bit of you.
Starting in cold wet soil.. welcome to spring floods or the cold spring evening temps.. both of them can be worked on with seeds that can still be gotten in cold damp soil. both of which are hard as heck on new little seedlings.. they tend to get cranky about both of these!
Seeds that start well in pots (look to the plants that are being set up as “container gardening” It may seem silly if you are planting out half an acre or a full acre in garden to want to have certain plants that grow well in containers.. I am after them two-fold.. One because if they are in pots out in the garden area, they can be pulled if needed into shelter for seed saving even if the rest of the crop fails and second if they are meant to be started in pots, then they will be good to start in the greenhouse in pots and transfer out if required.
A lot of the plants I have grown for many years do good in a normal summer but are struggling hard in these hot summers.. I have had crops that are normally heavy producers just sit there in holding waiting for the cooler fall temps and rains to come and then they explode and for a few years, it worked, the falls were long enough that I was still getting crops in.. but then in the past two years.. hard short sharp frosts with early winters have really messed with that!
Seed saving is a huge part of my gardening and I have had way to many losses in the past couple years.. seed heads that didn’t fill (see the above, nothing like getting the crop and going YES! WHOOT< only to realize that you have these then 5% of your seeds set out of dozens and dozens of winter squash) Or growing an amazing crop of beans but watching it rain daily for weeks, and finally bringing them in to hang and running heaters to still lose your most of your “seed crop”
So in keeping with that, seed saving times are getting much more tight and I am hunting down types that will set in cool temps and types that will set in high/dry temps. Yes I know that the dry/high will have a lot less yield but that’s fine..
Its happening more and more often that we get lighter frosts earlier in the season, I had friends that took frosts in aug, our normal frost dates are in oct.. so its important to make sure a lot of our heavier calorie crops can take some light frosts without falling over like a wilted lady who needs smelling salts!
Shorter Crops Heights. I am sure you all know that I am going to say wind, o those crazy high winds and working with swells and planting in created micro climates. Can’t get certain crops to produce in a standard garden. Look to your food forest and get those annuals intermixed, get some wind protection, while still getting edge sun on them.
Crops that will grow tall, have dense cover.. What can I say, no point in just slapping shade over your greens or others that need less sun, does a shade cover produce food or medical use.. nope.. but if you do your research, you have plants that can grow to give you wind cover, shade cover and if luck is good.. they will produce food for you.. if no luck and they get beat up, if they do their job, your calorie dense root veggies that needed some help from the high heat will grow well and be worth the extra work.
I am not bringing in a years worth of these seeds either, I am buying at least three seasons worth at a time, I will give each plant I pick a true test, If they do well, great I will intermix the seeds and plant again, if they do poor, I can start with the pure new seed for another two years.
Learning your garden plants is a dance and it takes longer then one year to know if they are a go. These guys will get 3 years to prove their worth or they will be removed. I have types and seeds from what I have been growing that are NOT making the grade!
If you have limited space or limited time or limited water and lists go on.. consider forage for your greens needs, consider your area for forage for your wild fruit harvest and focus on calorie dense crops in your garden space combined with your favorite herbs in pots and make sure your “flowers” are medical/pollination plants that will keep and grow your native bee populations.
While its still worth it to have some “hard stone” fruit trees, give more space to your canes and to rhubarb.. they are going to be your work horses on bad years.. they are as tough as they come..
Best of luck on your own seed hunting.. be brave.. step outside your comfort zone, step outside your local feed store or home hardware center that sells the same 50 types of seeds across the whole country..
Get Small Farm Canada’s Seed Guide to all the seed houses across Canada and happy reading!
This post was selected as a featured post on homestead blog hop! Thanks Ladies!
This post is part of the coming Series for the Self Reliance Challenge 2019