Yesterday was a happy day. My Fedco Seed Catalog arrived! Forget your Coldwater Creek and LL Bean. Fedco is where it’s at for me. I spent a productive couple of hours on seed inventory and putting together an order.

I keep seeds from year to year and don’t have a lot of trouble with germination rates. Some is leftover seed and some seed I have saved. I think we will be doing more of this as seeds may become more expensive and some varieties harder to find. In order for this to work, it is necessary to have a system for labeling seeds and recording results. I am an off again, on again record keeper. My good intentions are sometimes hijacked by the reality of life but I am committed to doing a better job this year. Last night got me off to a good start.

First I inventoried my current seed supply. I took out any seeds that looked like they had suffered some water damage. I also took out some that were dated from 2008. I will sprout some of those on wet paper towels this week and toss any with poor germination rates. I also look over my sketchy note from last year and decide if varieties are worth repeating or if I need to consider something new. I had wonderful luck with Masai Haricot Vertes string beans last year. They produced well over a long season, held well on the vine, resisted rust and made a fabulous dilled bean. We ate some from the freezer last night. I had frozen them in food saver bags and when sautéed with a bit of olive oil and no added water were the closest to fresh possible. I am adding another Haricot Verte (Maxibel) but will not plant a pole bean at all. Kentucky Wonder has always performed well for me; if I were just concerned with food volume that would be my choice, but the flavor and texture don’t hold a candle to the Vertes.

I have no tomato seed except for a lone package of a black paste variety that I picked up on a half price rack at the end of the season. Saving tomato seed is a bit of a chore in any case but I am willing to spend the time for a top tomato. As we had no tomatoes to speak of, that was not an option this year.

We are trying new corn, tomatoes and carrots this year but sticking with old favorites for broccoli and beets. Gardens are a lot like life. We all need to edit from time to time, tossing that which isn’t working and adding something new. You never know when a gem will emerge but if you aren’t open to some change you just might miss it.

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