Their overwhelming selection had her wondering... How do you choose!!! Choice is wonderful, but can be befuddling....hundreds of tomatoes in every color, short day or long day onions, cooking or carving pumpkins, winter or summer squash.....huh????
So I gave her a few tips I use to help me decide. All I really want to do is call and say, "SEND ME ONE OF EACH!!!" Time and space bring me back down to reality and....I have to choose. Here it is. How I make my choices.
Most Important: Gather Information about your gardening climate!!! Know your gardening zone and what that means. Buy a Month by Month Gardening book for your area. Read garden blogs from your area. Talk to the gardener next door or at the local farmers market.
If you do not know WHEN AND WHAT to plant in your climate you will fail and be sorely disappointed and discouraged. Do not waste your precious time trying to grow something that is not suited to your zone. The more informed you are the better choices you will make.
- First make a list of what your family will eat and what you would like to try. Do not waste time growing what they will not eat. On that note...I cannot stress enough...some things your family will not eat that you buy from the store, they will love, love, love when you grow it. So you may want to try some things they won't eat at least once. For instance, my girls love to chow down on red, purple, yellow, orange and white carrots I grow as soon as I bring them in from the garden. Kohlrabi on the other hand...no one likes so I will not be growing it again any time soon. Store bought tomatoes taste like Styrofoam. I don't blame kids for hating them, but they just might love a juicy purple tomato.
- Once you've made a list of must haves, read the descriptions under each variety and pay attention to clues. Descriptions will clue you into which climates it might shine in or if it is a space saving variety or not. It might say "wonderful choice for hot and humid climate" that would be on my short list immediately. Or maybe "patio" or "small compact bush", if space were an issue for me I might look closer at that variety. As you read, circle with a bright marker any varieties that catch your eye.
- After you've gone through your catalogs and circled all the realistic possibilities ignore the rest. Then consider the space and time you have to garden. If you order more seed than you can grow your money and seed will simply go to waste. Look at each variety carefully and cross out any that aren't your top choice. Then choose from those you have left according to your space, time, needs and yes, desires.
- Don't forget to include a couple of "just for fun" varieties. You may want to plant some birdhouse gourds on the back fence. Maybe some Moon Flower vines on the deck, or some loofah gourds on the chicken coop. Giant sunflowers are loads of fun and work well next to a fence. I plant loofahs to provide shade and food for my chickens. The sponges are lagniappe (lan-yap). That's New Orleans for "a little something extra".
- Mark any that were eliminated due to time and space restraints, 'To Try Next Year Maybe!"
- Remember to keep a journal on what worked and what didn't to help with your choices next year. A large wall calender might work for you, or you may want to begin your own garden blog. I often click on last year's month on my blog to see what was going on.
Happy Planting to You!!!