Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Northern & Central Midwest
January, 2001
Regional Report

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Seeds everywhere! It's time for my annual seed box cleanout before I indulge in ordering more.

Old Seed Cleanup

I'm being so disciplined this year (at least this week). Spring catalogs have begun piling up and I'm seeing new varieties on Web sites, but instead of immediately plunging into the catalogs and on-line, I'm going to clean out my seed box first.

Seed Organizing

I have a nice wooden box with a lid to hold my seeds. I started the gardening season last spring with all the vegetable packets in one row, the flowers in another, and herbs in between. Everything was alphabetized and the tops neatly folded. By the end of summer, it was in complete disarray, muddy, disheveled packets thrown hither-dither into the box.

Old-Seed Throwaways

I usually have a hard time throwing away seeds, but I've learned to bribe myself by filling the vacant spots with exciting new varieties. I'm discarding empty packets, old seeds (as old as 1989!), and especially varieties that didn't perform well. That means out with the Zuchetta Rampicante, or Italian trombone squash, seeds. The plants and fruits looked great in the garden but didn't produce much, and, frankly, the fruits didn't taste nearly as good as plain old zucchini.

No More Radicchio, Luffa...

I am going to throw out all my radicchio seeds. I have several kinds, only one of which produces good plants in our climate. I keep forgetting to write down which one that is, so for the past 2 years I've planted the wrong kinds. Since I don't know they're the wrong kind until late in the season when they should be forming heads, I've wasted valuable garden space.

I came across an unopened seven-year-old luffa gourd seed packet. It always seems like such a good idea to grow my own luffa sponges, but in reality, I never have a good place to grow them. I seriously doubt they're still viable.

I threw out Italian button onion seeds since the flattened onions are a nightmare to pare. But I'm keeping a semibush butternut squash that turned out not to be very semi but produced delicious squash. I'll just give it more room next year.

Throw Out Loose Seed

The last chore in the seed box is throwing away the miscellaneous loose seeds in the bottom. It might be fun to scatter them in a bed and see what comes up, but I just don't have the garden space to leave a bed to chance. And there's no way I'm going to sort them.

All done! Now to the seed catalogs...

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