The seed catalogs are starting to arrive. For gardening nerds like me, that’s one of the things that make this a fun time of year.
We get most of our seeds from Johnny’s and from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Johnny’s has a great selection and the business focuses on meeting the needs of farms likes ours. SESE also has a great selection and we particularly like the fact that they’re in our part of the world and offer varieties that make good sense for us. Because some of the varieties we like to grow aren’t available from those two companies, every year we buy seed from at least four or five companies, plus our local co-op.
It’s easy to buy too much seed and I tend to do that every year. Seed is inexpensive and it’s much easier to imagine it all planted and growing than it is to actually make that happen. I’m in the early stages of planning next years gardens and I’m intending to be sensible in how much seed we buy. We’ll have to wait and see how I do.
Early peas are on mind, since they’re the next thing we’ll be planting (in about 3 months). English peas should be planted as early as possible. Ideally I’d love to plant them on March 1, but it’s usually too wet to work the soil then. Most years I get them planted in mid-March. Last year it rained incessantly and I didn’t get them planted until April 23, which is way too late. In a recent comment Jubilare said the tradition in Tennessee is to plant peas on Valentine’s Day. I’d love to make that happen here this year, but I’d be very surprised if we can.
I always plant a big garden of English peas. Alaska is the variety we favor and I’ve never had much luck with anything else. This year I’m going to try planting some Sugar Ann, a bush variety sugar snap pea.
We follow our English peas with purple hull peas. They’re both legumes, of course, so they naturally fix nitrogen in the soil. I spent yesterday morning giving the chicken coop its annual cleaning and spread the litter on this years pea garden. That year that garden will be our spring brassicas garden next year and it should thrive on all the natural fertilization.
Maybe in three months the peas will be in the ground. In the meantime, I’ll keep enjoying our seed catalogs.