Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Into the garden

Not actually INTO the garden. Just planning the garden is all.

First thing to do is to choose the garden size for this season. Currently the field is still covered with it's fall planting of annual rye grass which has retained it's vibrant green color even after being buried in snow for most of the winter. It measures out to 20x24, 480 sq. ft. I am probably going to enlarge it. Maybe an extra ten feet, that would roughly be three additional rows for planting depending on the what's going in there.

I am picking the varieties I want for this season. I am trying not to do any hybrids this year. I'm all about seed purity and the ability to save seeds on my own.

While the popular trend these days has been toward only growing hybrids, this is not a good policy for folks aiming at self sufficiency like myself. First of all, the seed of hybrid vegetables does not grow true, should you save your own seed. Only open pollinated (or “heirloom” or “traditional”) varieties will produce seed which, when saved and planted next year, will give you the same results as the parent plant.

You should study your seed catalogs carefully. Any seed listed as “Hybrid” or “F1” should be avoided. Get in the habit of saving your own seeds. This simple practice can cut your gardening costs down by 1/4 or 1/2. Seed saving is simple and very satisfying. Many seed catalogs, such as the ones published by Native Seeds/Search and Garden City Seeds, also have extensive information on seed-saving.

An additional reason to raise non-hybrids is that most of the open pollinated varieties taste better. That’sexactly the opposite of what we have been led to believe...often by seed companies, who by the way, often hold the rights to certain hybrids they developed and/or sell.

Interesting, huh?

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