On a chilly wet day finding a cosy indoor job is a rare luxury when it comes to allotmenteering. Cue today’s job: sorting out our seed stocks. Last year we made a fair few seed purchases giving us a broad selection of plants to play with. Due to the limited space we had managed to clear and the sheer quantity of seeds you get in a packet for some varieties, we have a number of part used packets and even a couple of unopened packs. Some of these have been kept in the shed if they were sown directly, others at home where we started planting early in pots and trays. We’ve gathered them from their various locations and now the organising can commence.
Remains of last year’s stock
The first thing to do is to look at the sow by dates on the packets. Seeing as ours were only purchased a year ago all of them are still in date. If we had any packets have just gone out of date we would of planted them regardless; they might still give us plants, and I do hate wasting things! I would suggest that doing this once in a while sort out and organise you could prevent yourself from having any packets that become way past the sow by date. If you are doing this process for the first time in a while and have anything well past the date, by all means chuck them in some soil and see what happens but make sure you have a contingency incase they don’t germinate. Its true to say that we could eliminate all seed costs by harvesting seeds as well as food; however the relative cost of seeds is so small, especially when you consider that the seeds you’re buying are going to be more reliable than seeds that you collect.
Now we have one season under our belt we can learn from it, look at what we used, what grew well and how many plants we are likely to use next season. For example we had a decent crop of perpetual spinach, and we have enough in date seeds to give us the same amount as this year, so we won’t need to buy any more. This process will take a bit of time and an element of trial and error, but it will get easier.
The winter period is a great time to head to a garden centre or hardware store to boost stocks, so we will head to the garden cente at Tom’s work to get the seed supplies we need. While you’re there it’s a good idea to think about other products for soil improvement, supplies of string, canes, plant labels… the list goes on! It makes sense to spend a bit of time making a list of everything you need and get it all in one go.
We can now also see that our tin was a good choice for storing our seeds. Its an old metal tin of Sarah’s which used to hold a gift set of drinks. Having enjoyed the drinks we have found this alternative use of the tin. The tight seal and metal box itself has stopped moisture getting in, and has stopped any little beasties getting in and munching the seeds.
Thats our stock organised, thanks for reading people.