Time to Buy Your Seeds!
By Dianne Venetta
Okay, now that you’re warmed up and ready to garden (not literally—your toes are still freezing, but those fluffy socks will keep them comfy), it’s time to decide which seeds to buy.
The colorful seed catalogs are arriving in your mailbox, enticing you with an array of picture-perfect fruits and vegetables. As you peruse the pages of red lettuce, purple carrots, and blue potatoes, you’re astounded by the sheer variety to choose from. Wow…
“I’ll take two of those, three of those, four of those...”
Now hold on to your enthusiasm, because you need to understand a few things before you get started. Seed selection depends on two things: what do you like to eat and where do you live, not necessarily in that order. While I may love fresh coleslaw on the Fourth of July, Central Florida summers are no place for cabbage. This is considered a “winter” crop in my neck of the woods.
But peppers like it hot. Okra does, too. Think: Bayou. It’s not a coincidence that okra is a specialty of New Orleans—these plants tolerate the heat and humidity well, unlike cabbage and broccoli. Those babies bolt at the first sign of heat. As do spinach.
Ah… Unless of course you trick them! Between March and May, hot climate gardeners can “convince” the spinach that it’s not that hot. Really, with a little afternoon sun, or indirect patio light, suddenly we’re in the salad business. Lettuce is gullible that way, too. But remember, check your seed packets. They’ll give you full details on what grows where and when.
Another important consideration is what you will actually eat. Sure, it’s fun to grow vegetables, and a garden full of variety is a heck of a lot more appealing than a garden full of garlic. Unless you’re Italian. But be careful: caught in a swirl of enthusiasm, it’s easy to lose your head and plant pounds of squash (when you know darn well you’re only going to eat a couple here and there). Trust me. While those yellow blooms are attractive, they’re rotting yellow bodies are NOT.
And don’t forget the herbs! Those fresh veggies you’re growing in your garden will need seasoning. Why not use your own homegrown seasoning? Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow and most don’t need much fertilizer at all. While they’re excellent when used fresh, they’re also easily dried for storage. Simply cut their stems and “bake” them in the oven at 150° for a few hours, then bingo—you have dried herbs for the sprinkling!
While you’re out in the backyard gardening away, why not consider a field of flowers to add to the ambiance? Wildflowers, specifically. They basically grow all by themselves and require nothing more than a good “scatter” across the ground to get them started. Add a bench, some wind chimes, and you’ll be in the mood to garden the day away.
Meet the Author
Award-winning author D.S. Venetta lives in Central Florida with her husband and two children. It was volunteering in her children’s Montessori school garden that gave rise to her new series Wild Tales & Garden Thrills, stories bursting with the real-life experiences of young gardeners. Children see the world from a totally different perspective than adults and Venetta knows their adventures will surely inspire a new generation to get outside, and get digging.
When not crafting her next novel, D.S. Venetta hosts a garden blog, Bloominthyme.com, where she demonstrates just how easy and fun gardening can be! Additionally, Venetta has been featured for her gardening advice on various websites, including GalTime, EarthEats, eHow, IdealHomeGarden, Huffington Post, and the cookbook Earth Eats: Real Food Green Living. Passionate about organic gardening, her dream is to see a garden in every school, library, and community.
You can read Dianne's column the 2nd Wednesday each month here at Pandora's Box Gazette.