Saturday, June 02, 2012

Making a Plan

It's important to sketch out a plan for your garden.  It just takes some graph paper and colored pencils to map out your ideas and plans for placement.  You can even map and label a plan on your computer.  Situate plants that compliment each other, place those that need a lot of sun, as opposed to those that may not be able to take the afternoon heat, in appropriate areas.  I am very much a visual person, so having my plans written out helps tremendously.  Besides, my OCD appreciates it.

After you plant and your garden is growing, you may see the need to change things up the next year, so having a plan helps remember where you've placed your plants in the current season and where you may want to move them the next.  I would show you mine, but I've already scribbled all over it with changes for next year!    Here is a great post from On Just a Couple Acres complete with a garden sketch.

Regarding seeds, you will want to purchase seeds that are organic, non GMO, and preferably heirloom quality. I found three seed companies to purchase from, the first two I used and all of the seeds I planted came up well.   The last company was recommended by a friend and they have had success with their seeds.

Sustainable Seed Company

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Seeds of Change

(cucumbers in the morning dew)

Organic Seeds
The reason for organic seeds is they have not been treated with chemicals, and they come from plants which have not been treated.  Typically, if you want to produce what is considered an organic seed from a plant which is not organic (treated with pesticides or fertilizer) then you must plant and seed each year for three years. So, by the fourth generation of the original plant, you will have an organic plant/seeds.

Non-GMO Seeds
The term "GMO", which means genetically modified organism, is basically altered seeds which produce scientifically modified plants and foods.  Yes, farmers have cross-bred through pollination and grafting for generations, but they usually crossed one plant with another....the same TYPE of plant with another.  My FIL says he used to take a strong branch from a weaker tree and graft it to a stronger tree that may have a weaker branch.  All to create a stronger, healthier tree.  Not a problem.  However, seeds that have been genetically modified, their DNA has been changed and crossed with plants and bacteria that are not at all in their same plant type.  Creating a genetic disaster which can and could be harmful to our health.  Why mess with perfection, the way God created it?  If you want more in-depth information (I'm not a great sciency person) you can find it here.

Heirloom Seeds
Heirloom seeds are seeds that have been passed down from generation to generation.  They have been open-pollinated, relying on the wind and/or insects to aid in pollination.  Heirloom seeds are easy to grow and  seeds are easy to harvest in order to store for next year.  The opposite of heirloom seeds are hybrid seeds.  Hybrid seeds have been hand pollinated and cross pollinated from one type to another in order to get a more specific type of plant.  Kind of like a dog breeder would breed dogs to generate a specific type of dog or breed, if you will.  It doesn't always turn out for the best.  Many times the seeds from a hybrid plant cannot be saved and stored to be planted the next season as the seeds can be sterile.

I posted last week about my seed storage and filing system, which is also where I file my garden sketch.  You can click here to see it.

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