I actually did some planning with this year's garden, starting last fall. After two growing seasons of some pretty bad mistakes on my part, I decided to do some research. First, I ordered a free heirloom seed catalog from Comstock Seeds. I pored over their catalog, enjoying the vintage look, but never came to any clear decision on what to purchase.
And isn't it funny that when you order one catalog, other manufacturers send theirs? I received two more in the mail, one of which was Urban Farmer Seeds. As soon as I opened it, I knew I would buy from them. Not all of their seeds are heirloom like the other catalogs, but some are heirloom and organic and they are all non-GMO. But what really sold me was the simplicity and easy navigation of the slim catalog. There weren't an over-abundance of choices, each one had a short description and an image and the prices were all listed below. Hassle-free and oh-so-fun!
I chose to use their online website to purchase the seeds since it also told which seeds were the best selling or the easiest to grow. I bought some old favorites (that I usually buy at a hardware store) like Blue Lake 274 Bush Beans, BeefSteak and Brandywine Tomatoes, Scarlet Nantes Carrots and Slow Bolt Cilantro. If you've never had homegrown carrots or cilantro, you must try them! After a dozen attempts, I finally figured out cilantro likes a deep pot, moist but not wet soil, and morning sun with shade the rest of the day. It grew two feet tall in those conditions and smelled like heaven!
I also purchased several new additions like Renegade Spinach, Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans, Oregon Giant Snow Peas, and Pickling Cucumbers! This will be my first year with climbers!
I discovered I'm in zone 8b, which- according to My Square Foot Garden- means I'm in her pink group. If you sign up, she'll send you newsletters telling you when to plant what each week during the growing season. Very helpful for beginners such as myself. And Gardener's Supply Co. Kitchen Planner is the simplest garden planner I've found for square-foot gardening. I just made each square foot represent each pot I'll use.
You probably remember my saying that I will be planting mainly in pots this year. Only one in-ground bed will be used for the spinach; everything else will be in large pots. Believe it or not, my tomatoes flourished last year in pots. We consumed hundreds of delectable red orbs.
If you don't have your seeds yet, I highly recommend Urban Farmer Seeds since they are geared toward backyard gardeners. I was surprised to see the seed packages are actually cut from recycled magazines... how's that for being green? So cute!
When I received my seeds, one of my packets contained far less seeds than I ordered (20 instead of 120). All I did was contact them via their website and they quickly contacted me and sent out a packet of 120 seeds (20 extra counting the ones I already had) and an extra seed packet with a new type of bean. Wasn't that sweet?
Today, I started some of those seeds indoors in a Bio Dome seed starter... more to come on that topic later.