Farm in a Box

As of last week, the bulk of the farm’s seed order has arrived. So for the time being, the whole season can be contained in a large shoebox.

As most seasoned gardeners know, it’s easy to get carried away when leafing through seed catalogues in the dead of winter. Which is why I’m growing a winter squash called “Hooligan” and a tomato named “Captain Lucky.” (I’m not alone; sadly, Captain Lucky is backordered until mid-May.) But I did eventually whittle down the list from “Wouldn’t It Be Neat” to “This Is What I Really Need.”

2014 Seed OrderMost of the seeds came from Fedco. It’s a responsible company committed to organic practices. Their prices are also very good, so buying from them is an easy decision.

But Fedco doesn’t carry everything I want, especially when I am being particular about varieties. So a few seeds came from Johnny’s, another good company that largely serves small produce growers.

I also ordered a few packets from High Mowing Seeds. Their stock is all certified organic and carries a premium price, so I usually buy only varieties developed though their in-house breeding program. This year I decided to try a few of their improved winter squash varieties, which have been developed with the small grower in mind. We shall see.

And in some cases, there are specific heirloom varieties I want, usually tomatoes, peppers, and winter squash. I use two sources for these seeds: Seed Savers Exchange and the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Seed Savers is probably the most well-known advocate in the heirloom seed movement, and many of their varieties come with great stories behind them. Southern Exposure is a similar operation, but focused on vegetables most suitable for the southern part of the country, some of which can also be grown in the north.

Next, I need to create greenhouse and field planting schedules to keep everything running on track, but for now it is enough to shuffle through the stacks of packets, waiting for the world to thaw.