Monday, February 23, 2015

Splitting Seed Orders

We grew 7 varieties of beans, including
Scarlet Runner beans (the pretty ones)
This mix of fresh snap beans is Scarlet
Runner, Dragon's Tongue, Dean's
Purple Podded pole, Yellow Wax and
Kentucky Wonder.
If you want to try lots of different vegetables or varieties, but don't have a lot of space (or money) for all those seeds, find a gardening friend/family member who will split an order with you. My dad, sister and I all make our lists of what we want to grow and any specifications (I have to select carrots that grow well in clay soil, and my dad will only grow Silver Queen sweet corn). I read through seed catalogs and make selections. Then I call each of them and get their okay on the variety selections. For things we only need a few seeds each (say for squash or tomato varieties), we order the smallest packs possible. For others, we may each want lots of seeds (like for beans or lettuce) and we order a larger pack, but save money over each buying a smaller pack. We save money on shipping since we split the cost 3 ways.

This "thinnings" salad has a variety of
greens, two types of carrots, and two
kinds of radish.
We were each able to grow a variety of tomatoes which made
salads incredible!
When the seeds arrive, I split them up according to what we discussed beforehand. I have a surplus of tiny bags leftover from other year's seed orders, and either reuse those or make simple envelopes out of junk mail. I keep the order form nearby as I package seeds and write down the cost for seeds for each person. For example, my dad grows lots of spinach, but I only grow a little, so I take 1/4 of the seeds and give him 3/4. I write down a quarter of the price of the total packet in my column and three quarters the price in his column. I don't grow any corn. My sister grows all of the popcorn and she and my dad grow the sweet corn. At the end, I divide the shipping cost and add it. They each reimburse me for their portion of the seeds when I give them their seeds.

I love these purple carrots for adding variety and color, but
I also love the taste of Red Cored Chantennay carrots and
Little Finger carrots actually give me the best yield per square
foot in my soil.
If I had to buy seeds on my own, I'd only grow one type of carrot because I don't have enough space to grow more than one packet of carrot seeds. By splitting it, I can grow a few varieties. I get to grow lots of varieties and try new things that I otherwise wouldn't be able to justify. Also, even with growing a few dozen varieties, my seed cost is usually under $30.

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