Tag Archives: catalog

Where to Start

So the new year is upon us. The seed catalogs have been beckoning us from the counter. But we have a handful of seed packets sitting in the shed, or in the fridge.

So what seeds are still good?

I’ve got seeds that are labeled for 2010. Are they still good? Do I want to waste possible time in the event that the seeds are now duds? I know that I don’t want to waste time, and I bet you don’t either.

So I’ve decided to perform a germination test.

And here it is, and how you can perform it too:

1. Gather what you’ll need.

  • Paper towels
  • Quart sized zipper plastic storage bags (I use 6 at a time, and reuse the bags, to prevent waste)
  • Permanent magic marker
  • Glass or plastic storage container to wet the paper towels

2. Fold the paper towels so that they’ll fit in the bags, but don’t put them in the bags.

Papertowel IMG_0491 IMG_0492

3. Put a paper towel in the storage container and wet it slightly with water. Think more than damp, but less than soaking.

Unfold the towel and place either 10 or 20 seeds onto the paper towel in an organized pattern. This will help later, I promise!


4. Fold the towel back up and place into a baggie named with the seed, date and quantity of seeds. For instance: “Golden CA Sweet Pepper 2/1 (10)”


5. Now let these baggies sit in a average temperature area for 4-7 days. The temperature in your kitchen would be fine.

When they’ve sat for 4-7 days, open up the baggies and check how many have sprouted. For example, if you have 9 of the 10 sprout, then you’ve got 90%, which is typically above the minimum seed germination rate.

The photos above are from my second set of germ tests, and here is the breakdown of what my first test produced.

  • Cucumber – Packed for 2010 – 90% germ
  • Pole Bean – Packed for 2012 – 50% germ
  • Cucumber – Packed for 2011 – 90% germ
  • Broccoli – Packed for 2012 – 85% germ
  • Tomato – Packed for 2012 – 80% germ
  • Lettuce – Packed for 2012 – 100% germ

Here’s the broccoli with 85% germination:


Based on the above, I would probably pitch the pole bean, but the others, even some being more than 3 years old, are good enough to plant and be done. So doing this quick test would possibly save you a seed order, or if you do need a couple replacements then its easy.

So – I urge you – do your own germination tests! And give me the results in the comments below! And if you’re up to it, let me know how much you’ll save!

Mid-Winter Checkin & Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2013! It is very cold outside at the moment and we are all bundled inside, except for our onions, lettuce, and spinach of course! There are a couple of late-to-the-party carrots about to come in, but they’ll be just fine until then.

Finishing up 2012 I put some compost on the beds, some got as much as 2″ all around. It was a much needed dose of nutrients, and I’m sure the veggies next year will enjoy the extra dose of vitality. I got a bit of help from my mom-in-law, Karen, on getting the compost into the beds. The one thing we both remarked on was the healthy dose of dung smell. Sorry to my neighbors for that down wind effect. Better now than in mid July and 90° outside!

The onions are doing great, they are looking to take off come spring’s warmer temperatures. Here’s a photo of their current state.

Onions Jan 2013

The spinach is coming along nicely, I need to get out and harvest some before the slugs munch it all away.

I’ve also received my spring 2013 Territorial Seed catalog. Larger than I’ve ever remembered! Very exciting to go through it the first time, even better the second when you start planning out what to plant this coming year! I’ve already earmarked a couple of items for the spring garden, what excitement!

So I know we are all huddled up inside next to the heat source thinking that the garden is so far away, but start thinking of it now and you will be well on your way to a very productive spring garden!

What’s on your mind right now, what are you thinking about with the garden? Let us know in the comments below!

The Slow Season

Well, as most of you can tell, it is the slow season. Both in growing veggies and in writing blog posts. The blog post part is mainly because there is not much to write about.

But as a couple words wisdom. Start your planning, choose what you’d like to grow, and slowly get ready to start up again, because here soon, mid-January or so, we will be wanting to think about getting the garden going again! Yes really, mid-January.

Over the last week or so, I’ve received a couple of catalogs, all worth mentioning. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, One Green World, and the D. Landreth Seed Co.

Check them out! You’ll like them too! Any plans yet? Let us know in the comments below.

Catalog Excitement!

Well, just the other day, I got my spring 2012 issue of the new High Mowing Seed catalog! Oh the excitement! I haven’t yet gotten the opportunity to thumb through it, but it is exciting to get another option!You can order your copy here for free!

Have you gotten a new catalog? What is your plan for the spring time? Let us know in the comments below!