Well as we move into the new year, it is time to start making plans as to just how the garden is going to start and evolve. I have noticed that seeds are starting to appear in the places that provides gardening supplies. However, most of the seeds are the early planting types of seeds for the most part. Other seeds will soon begin to appear. It would be a good idea to get with the program and get what you need purchased sooner than later. Last year we saw a run on just about every seed possible. I am sure with politics as they are, people will be panic buying big time. So I would suggest that you insert some urgency into your purchasing schedule. Basically for the vast majority, they won't cost you less later on, just that scarcity will be involved.
Leiann mentioned that a number of people asked what my favorite seed company was. Here goes; I really don't have one per se. But here is what I look at. I try to stay away from the big massive seed companies. Although not all the time, but much of the time I do not feel comfortable with their offerings and their whole process. They just care about the big box approach and many of their people, well, it is just a job for them, no passion and therefor it translates into less than quality care for their products. That means that the seed quality will suffer many times. I prefer the smaller seed companies that give a really good description of their products. I don't know what many of you have in mind when you seriously consider the seed source of a given company, but many times the seed company does not grow their own seeds. They buy the seeds from growers. Then repackage and/or rebrand the packet. Sure some seed companies have "some" seed production on their owned company farm, but for the most part, most of them will buy all of their seeds. The basic moral of this aspect is that you just don't know for sure about the quality of the seed or where the seed even came from, in the world.
I like to choose from seed companies that at the very least does some presentation of their seeds, maybe even features such as the actual grower that grows that particular seed. One such company that I love is the Baker Creek Seed Company out of Missouri. They actually grow a lot of their own seed. But they also have a lot of growers and they do the before mentioned presentations. Comically, do any of you remember the Little House of the Prairie series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder? When she and Almanzo moved to Missouri, they established a farm in the Mansfield area and lived a large portion of their life there and raised their daughter there as well. Anyway, this Baker Creek Seed now owns the actual farm where Laura wrote from. That farm is part of their seed production farming system. Leiann has visited there but I have note. Someday I hope to be able to do so. But I do purchase from other seed companies as well. But this is the type and caliber that I look to for quality seeds. There are a large number of seed companies throughout the Mid-West that provides for heirloom seeds and high quality seeds overall. Texas has a number of really high quality seed companies. Most of these that I know of or buy from or have purchased from are on the caliber of quality as is Baker Creek Seed. This is where you need to do some research and extend some trust in yourself as to making the right selection for your seed needs.
Next you will need to be careful about buying some of these additives and soil amendments. I made a serious mistake a few years ago and I had a very bad experience with some of this stuff. After doing extensive research I finally figured out that from 2 different sources I had gotten "fertilizer" from sources that the animals had eaten a large amount of their food that had Glysophate on them and it ended up in their stomach contents and then it ended up in my garden soil. Yeah, worked out real good. Products like Roundup are not the type of chemicals that are pre-emergent type "cides", but after the seed gets growing, then death comes to the seed. You need to keep in mind that the action potential here is that these herbicides like Roundup essentially has an antibiotic effect on the soil, as in an overdose amount and it kills the creepy crawlers in the soil and then these emerging seeds can't deal with it and they die. Most of the time this happens when the breakdown of the chemical, in this case, when it is at the finishing end of the first phase of breakdown and going into the second phase of breakdown. That stage is really a bad deal for newly emerging seedlings. I almost would rather use or take my chances with synthetic fertilizers than take my chances anymore with some of this stuff. Then some of these additives such as ones that look like rich black soil? Yeah, the black is paint. I crap you not. They take and grind up all kinds of products, mostly wood type products, many of these will have large amounts of glues and such in them, then to make it look like it is Organic stuff, they dump black paint into the mixer and it comes out looking like rich black organic soil. People suckers for that "crap" all day long. So last year for the growing containers in my greenhouse I just went to my son's farm up the road with my trusted old tractor,scooped up some dirt out of the field, brought it home and mixed some poultry manure into it and grew really good stuff. The poultry manure had come from a company that my sons are contract growers for and the manure had been composted and it works really good. This product is a popular product around here. I am sure with all of the poultry production facilities around anyone should be able to get some of this same/like manure and have excellent results.
About 25 years ago I went and got a pickup load of the fresh turkey manure with sawdust shavings in it, although it was high on the manure ratio, it was really good stuff, in fact too good. I mixed in it real heavy in my greenhouse. (I figured that if a little was good, then a lot would be great. Yes, great it was, lol). I then planted Tomatoes in the soil. They grew like crazy. But I didn't get a single tomato that year. The vines grew as big around as a shovel handle. They were thicker than hairs on a dog's back That greenhouse was truly a jungle that year. Now the next year, The available nitrogen level was a little lower, so I grew really good tomatoes and a lot of them. The next year was just about as good as the previous year. The lesson learned here was several fold; First, sometimes a little is a lot, lol. secondly; go easy on some of this stuff. Lessons learned I guess.
Basically it is best if you apply raw/fresh manure in the fall and work it in. Basically, for the most part, some of the popular manures need to be composted to get the full advantage form them. So by a fall application it has a chance to compost in place, which works really good for use the following planting season. If it is a spring application then it is best to apply a composted manure. The short comings of using non-composted manure in the spring will manifest it's short comings in a late summer/early fall when the plants need the nutrition the most. So to be safe, you can use a fresh/raw manure in the fall, and by sprig it should be at least mostly composted and ready to feed your plants by the time you pant. If you do a spring manure application, then it works best if you use a composted manure. That way it is ready to feed your plants when you need the new plants to be fed and nourished. Of course other "food" is needed for your plants and that really kind of ends up being a local issue based on the needs for your area and specifically you plot of land.
In our next visit in 3 months we will be talking about our green plants and how well they are doing and how nice the weather is and all that good stuff. See you in 3 months. I wish you well. As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact me and between all of us, maybe you will have some material that you can work with. Good Luck.
End of Discussion.