Monday 11 January 2016

Ordering Seeds: Step 1 - What Do I Already Have?!

I thought I'd already written a post on this subject but couldn't find anything.  I was likely thinking about this post which is the process I follow when I've already ordered seeds and I'm figuring out when to plant what.  But that comes later.

First things first ... pull out the boxes, containers or cans of those leftover seed packets from last year (I keep my seeds in the basement between seasons).  And whew, do I ever have a lot!  I've been trying a lot of different varieties trying to figure out what I like to grow or not.  The 2016 season is probably the first in which I'm planning to grow less varieties than the year before as I start to focus on what I like to grow best (but hopefully as much or more in quantity!).

I store my seeds in boxes based on type of crop (or other strange combinations that make sense to me - not really sure why I have beans with root veggies).  Most of the boxes are from Loose Button Luxe Box orders (I spoil myself with these personalized beauty boxes each year from a Canadian company and the boxes are perfect for storage).

But as you'll notice in the main photo, I also have some seeds in old nut cannisters or gift boxes - and, oops, that basket of seed packets got left in the basement as is.

And then I go through every box and make notes of what I have.  And that becomes the first two columns of my seed order prep sheets as you can see in an example below.

Sometimes the next two columns come easy ... like the list below of brassicas.  I've decided to not buy any more as I'm struggling too much with even mild success.  But I'll likely use some of the seeds that I already have.

Or here where I probably have most of what I need.

But then this is also a good example of the benefits of going through the seed catalogues - I don't have any parsley seeds so completely forgot to add it on the list (parsley is definitely a "Need").  Oh, and I don't want to grow many brassicas, but I forgot about kohlrabi - again, no seeds left so out of sight, out of mind.

So the next step is flipping through seed catalogues thinking fantasizing about the amazing vegetables I am going to grow this year ("What I Want").  I'll catch you up when I'm done with that step.

Any good tips you'd like to share in the comments section for how you organize your seeds or prepare for your annual order?  Happy Gardening!


  1. I use zip locks and Tupperware containers - not exactly imaginative, but works for me! I'm in review mode now (looking at what happened last year) which is usually the first step I take when deciding if I want to grow a particular variety again or try something new. Once that list is sorted, then I go through my seeds - time is running short, but I have promised myself that I would finish by the end of the week. It's only Tuesday, so I'm being optimistic ;)

    1. "time is running out" - I know it. I feel like I'm a lot later than previous years but plan to hunker down the next week or two and get my orders done.

  2. I use a similar system for storing and organizing my seeds, except I use large manila envelopes that I stand up like files in a big rectangular basket. I'm not quite so organized about ordering. I check to see if I need to restock favorites and then I start cruising the online seed catalogs. I do keep in mind the space I have available in the garden. I used to be guilty of "start it and find space for it" which always resulted in a hodge podge in the garde. Now I've figured out basic rotations for my beds and there's just so much space each type of veggie and I'm pretty good at sticking to the plan. But I do succumb to temptation and sometimes end up with more seeds than I can use in the year I purchase them, but they do get used eventually.

  3. You are far more organized than I. I make up my list of things I plan (not want) to grow. If some are the same varieties, then I go check the seed stock, which is a jumble of packets in an Amazon box. Then I decide what I need to order. Some seeds like onions need to be purchased fresh every year to get decent germination rates. And yes, time is of teh essence. Maybe this Sunday!.