A Seed Ordering Time
For many farmers winter is an all too quick time for relaxation, reflection on the year past, and planning for the year to come. In early January when the days are still dark and my mind has surly not shifted back to the field, Fedco, my favorite seed company starts excepting seed orders. As a rule I like to get my seeds ordered shortly thereafter — if you wait too long, seeds run out, and that amazing new variety or old standby is already sold out, back ordered till May,. etc.
So, it seems it is that time of year again, with frozen ground all around me, to order seeds. It is nice, really, to think of the warm greenhouse and the push of seedling through drifts of soil.
For me seed ordering starts with a read through just about the entire catalog. This gives me a chance to warm up a bit, see what varieties have stood the test of time. I excitedly check out all the new varieties and look back over notes on my varietal experiments of the year past. Notes are an essential part of being a farmer. . .
Making a seed order is all about math and planning (once I have dreamed my way through the seed catalog, that is). Crop by crop I inventory my older seeds, select varieties, and based on the amount of field space I want for each, determine of how many ounces, grams, or pounds are needed. This business continues on through about 40 different crops, and easily 200 different varieties of those crops.
What can feel like the tedium of seed ordering is easily tempered by my love of the varieties. I hold tight to the tried and true varieties of the our region, varieties my teachers grew, varieties I have grown with friends, crew members, aspiring farmers, varieties I have grown for more than a decade now. Scarlet Nantes, Detroit Dark Red, Amira, Jimmy Nardello, Pingtung Long, Revolution, Copra, Moulan Rouge, Tyee, King Richard, Suhyo Long, Sugar Ann.
These old standards are a must, just as adding new varieties in search of better color, sweetness, tenderness, ability to hold in heat, earliness, lateness, storage length, vigor, and just the plain fun of trying a new variety is a must. Finishing the seed order is a quiet sigh of relief and with it brings the reminder that winter is almost through, and another year, another season is on its way.