Get Your Seeds, Yo!

That stupid groundhog saw its shadow, so I guess that means six more weeks of winter. Whatevs. I’m looking out over the two feet of white stuff on my lawn not even able to see any remnants of my garden save for that one dead kale stalk that I was too lazy to pull when it finally lost its will to live after Thanksgiving.  But now is the time to think seeds!

get your seeds

People still grow plants from seeds?

Yes, they do.

Why would anyone do that?

  • Well, I do it because I’m cheap. There, I said it. I say it all the time on my other blog, but it’s time to get that out in the open here – eighty percent of my wardrobe is from Goodwill – it could be 100 percent, but they don’t sell underwear and socks (that’s disgusting…and it’s a joke…well maybe not the underwear part). Growing from seed is cheaper than buying a starter plant.
  • You can say, “Freakin-A, I grew that!” There’s something fulfilling and miraculous and exciting about growing a giant food-bearing plant (or any plant) out of a little tiny seed.
  • You can grow unique fruits and vegetables. Typically, you’ll find the standard fruits and vegetables wherever you shop for plants: red tomatoes, red/green bell peppers, orange carrots – booorrrriiiing. But you can get all kinds of unique fruit and vegetable seeds. I grew ground cherries for a few years. They’re little round yellow-green fruits that grow in papery husks – kind of like tomatillos, but smaller and they taste different. I thought they tasted yucky, but they were unique and fun to grow and I had the seeds, so I grew them – my kids ate them. I’ve grown purple beans, a yellow tomatoes, chocolate peppers, white carrots, lettuce, kale, herbs, broccoli, cauliflower, etc., from seeds. You can grow all kinds of stuff.
  • Some fruits and vegetables grow better from seed – meaning they’re not good to transplant. Carrots, corn…I’m sure there are others, but I don’t know what they are because those are the only ones I can think of right now. One of the plants I did not bother growing from seed was the strawberry plant. I just dug them up out of someone else’s yard – takes too long to get fruit.

Where do I get seeds?

  • Seed Catalogues – You can get some crazy stuff from catalogues. Just make sure you know what USDA Plant Hardiness Zone you’re in. (KNOW your zone). You don’t want to buy avocado seeds if you live in frosty Chicago. I love when my seed catalogues start filling up my mailbox in January. I dog-ear the pages, dreaming of all the fun new things I’m going to grow. Then reality hits and I remember that all those dog-eared pages equal work – so I just get a few packets…or none, because I’m lazy. You can order free seed catalogues on the Internet. Here’s a link to a good list of organic seed catalogues. I receive a number of these catalogues.
seed packets

Some of the seed packets I keep in my fridge.

  • Internet – You don’t even need the catalogue now, just go straight to their website. But there’s still something special about flipping through all those pages. I found a site called WinterSown.org. They’ll send you free seeds (different kinds) if you send them a self-addressed stamped envelope and a couple stamps. I did this three years ago and I’ve grown the tomatoes they sent me every year since. Love them!
  • Local Nursery – At first, I was intimidated by my nursery. I felt like a junior higher on the first day of school. I made Steve (my husband) go with me the first time, just like I made my dad go with me on my first day of 7th grade – yes, I did. Now that I have some gardening experience under my belt I strut all up in that nursery and I be like, “Hey Errybody! Katie in the green hooooouuuuse.” I’m tight with the owner – like he says to me, “Oh…you’re the one with that square-foot garden, right?” Tight. At least now I can tell a tomato plant from a pepper plant and they don’t even need to have the fruit/vegetable hanging from them.
  • Home Depot or other hardware store – I impulse buy when I go to these places (because they’re cheap!), especially if I haven’t mapped out what I want to plant yet. I usually end up wasting money. I still have corn seeds I’ve never grown that I was just dying to plant because I had spring gardening fever three years ago and I wanted a fresh ear of corn picked straight from my garden. Then I found out that corn is hard to grow because of pests and now I just want to throw the seeds to the squirrels and forget about them.
  • From other people. Find a seed buddy. Ask them to trade seeds. If you’re new to gardening (which you probably are if you’re reading this blog…or you’re my mom and dad) just tell someone you know who gardens that you’re ready to start and they’ll give you seeds…unless they’re a jerk.

After writing this I’m totally getting garden fever. Who’s with me? Screw that groundhog!

What’s up next?

  • You mean I actually have to plan a garden?
  • When do I start growing these stinking seeds you suggested I get?
  • Okay, now I know what I’m going to plant and when, but how do I grow these seeds?

Disclaimer: I am not a master gardener. I am a humor gardener. Leave a comment telling me what I said wrong…or if you have any questions. Let’s get a conversation going!

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15 thoughts on “Get Your Seeds, Yo!

  1. davromega

    We just got a fund raiser from the little girls’ school that has some of the hanging tomato and strawberry plants so we are going to try our luck with those since I will not have to bend to take care of them!

    Reply
  2. Sandy Ramsey

    Hello “humor gardener” ! That is classic and I adore it.
    I tried to grow a garden once. We live in Florida and it’s very sandy and I’m really, really not that good at growing anything but herbs. And apparently okra, because that’s what I got out of that garden….lots and lots of okra.

    Reply
  3. Jean

    “Humor gardener.” I’m waiting for your next post to know what I do with my seeds. Right now, they’re hanging out on my kitchen counter. Should they be in the fridge?

    Reply
    1. canigetanotherbottleofwhine Post author

      I’d keep them in a cool, dry place, out of the sun. You don’t have to put them in the fridge – maybe a basement. If you put them in the fridge, keep them in a ziploc bag, so wet stuff doesn’t fall on them.

      As far as when to plant your seeds, it all depends on what seeds you have and where you live. The back of the seed packet has a lot of good info. Make sure you know your last spring frost date for your USDA planting zone. You can click that USDA link in my post, then google “last spring frost date” for you city. I’ll cover this crap in a post coming up. Most seeds don’t need to be planted this early. I don’t start seeds inside until March – but I live in zone 5. Does this make sense?

      Reply
      1. Jean

        Yes. But we’re bored. 🙂 If I can be lazy for two more weeks then we’ll probably plant ours at the end of February.

  4. thesecretfather

    I’m pretty much with you on this one – looking forward to a UK spring in a few months. Unfortunately my neighbours have built a loft extension which cuts out sunlight and has shortened my growing season by a month or so. I can no longer sow direct until April, whereas I was able to start in March previously. And like you I have a tiny garden, so I just grow stuff on top of stuff. Last year I had 32 tomato plants and was cropping every day from August through October. Yellow courgettes and yellow tomatoes are my favourite, and I also love herbs like Bay, coriander and basil. Here’s to the onset of spring, and plunging our hands into rich, cold soil once more. Xx

    Reply
  5. turbolindy@hotmail.com

    Eeeek!! I love this time of winter when you start to see the seed packets for sale. Means winter is almost over. And yes, like you, I love to grow from seeds as well. Such a cool experience to see a plant mature from a tiny little seed.

    Reply
  6. Sarah (est. 1975)

    My problem with growing from seeds is that I my success rate is just so much lower. Also, I have a harder time plotting out the garden successfully… I always leave way too much room between plants or not enough. I usually just buy flats. Maybe I’ll do a combination this year though.

    Reply
    1. canigetanotherbottleofwhine Post author

      I start some of my seeds inside under lights. I also have a square foot garden, so it’s really easy to keep track of everything. I have a patch that isn’t square foot, but I plant all the plants I grew from seed in there. I think my success with seed growing is using the florescent lights and keeping the light close. I have a whole shelving system set up in my basement. I’ll take a picture once I clean all the winter crap off of it.

      Reply
  7. Ken Knudson

    I wanted to plant a garden but the only place in our yard that gets enough sun has the best grass and I don’t want to dig that up. Guess we’re screwed.

    Reply

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