Process & Budget Tips to Get Ready for Seed Starting

seedlings in trays on seed rack Sometime in January or February I really start honing in on starting seeds indoors for my spring and summer plants.  It occurred to me, the steps I take to get ready to start my seeds could be useful for you, so here we go …

I start by deciding what I want to grow in the spring and follow-on for the summer.  Make a list of what you want to grow, using variety names where you know them.  Also make notes about what you’d like to try that would be new for you.  Include any types of crops you would like to replace because they did not do well. This could be a type of crop, like broccoli, or it could be that a variety that didn’t do well, so you want to find another one to try.

image of seed inventory spreadsheet page
Your seed inventory can be in a spreadsheet, notebook, jotted on a peice of paper or on your phone.

At some point in this process, do an inventory of your seeds and see what gaps you might have between what seeds you have and what is on your list of plants to grow.

By Mid-January I have received most of my seed catalogs, although there are a couple stragglers in February.  Once you have your list of what seeds you need, then you can go through your catalogs and see who has what you want.

When looking for a new variety, compare not only different choices in one catalog, but in more than one.  If you think you have found a variety you want to try, see if any of your other seed companies carry it and read their description also.  More information on the variety helps you hone in on the best variety for you to try based on your goals.

Seed Catalogs
Seed Catalogs

Granted, I tend to go through each catalog when I get it and then multiple times thereafter.  I’ll put a tick mark by anything that looks interesting and I might want to get.

I make a photo copy of the order form so as I start to hone in on what I want to get, I can use the form while looking at the catalogs. That way I am not constantly looking in each catalog for where the order form is.  I don’t send the forms in, I will call (first choice) or order online, but having the list makes the ordering processing faster, simpler and easier, plus I can calculate any tax or shipping for budgeting. I can also check my list against the packing list when the seeds come in.

I’ll fill out the forms in pencil, so when I see the total cost of them all, which is pretty much always more than I want to spend, I can go back and erase what I cut out to stay in budget.  Alternatively, I’ll star the items I am not going to order, or erase the price, so  it does not end up in the total. This way I have the list of everything I wanted to grow in case my budget allows for another seed order later.

dollar and months graphicWhich leads to another budget tip. Spread out ordering from your preferred companies.  Order from the ones who have the first seeds you need to start and order last from companies with varieties you can start later.  I will sometimes adjust who I am buying what from for this purpose. If I see something I want to grow in the fall, I will often wait to order those varieties until June when I’ll be needing to get them started.

Enjoy a cup of tea and browsing those seed catalogs!

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