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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Seed ordering time

One thing I have been asked a lot over the years is what do you farmers do in the winter.

My smart ass reply is "as little as possible..." but in reality we keep pretty darned busy over winter getting ready for the coming season. One of the more important chores is getting the seed order done before January 1st. yes January 1st, you see we commercial gardeners have to get a lot of our seeds started by early April (which is when most home gardeners are just getting around to ordering their seeds) and we cannot afford to order late and find our seeds either out of stock or on back order because we have deadlines to hit with our crops like having something to harvest for the first farmers' markets or first CSA pick-up.

And we boulder belt farmers are worse than most because we are into season extension and starting a lot of crops very early in hoophouses which means getting a lot of seeds started in Feb. or even Jan.

And so the task for this week is to take inventory on the seeds we have. Look over the catalogs we have on hand (because we have moved several places have not found us) and decide what we need and write the order down on the appropriate forms.

I don't like doing inventory because I am a person who will toss out seeds and my husband and partner in this farming activity is a person who hates to throw away ANYTHING much less seeds that might or might not work. So we generally have little sparring matches over whether or not we should be saving the 7 year old seed with zero germination rates (that really bad) that there are 5 other seed packets of the same variety that are newer and viable.

Eugene does not like me doing the inventory on my own but I do anyway because he dislikes it so much he finds other things to do out in the barn or in the field and will not come in and do the task until we have 1 day left before having to order the seeds and than mistakes are made that come back to haunt us months later. Mistakes like forgetting to order any red tomatoes and not noticing this until you are all ready to pop the seeds into soil blocks. And by that time it is a bit late. Sure I can go on-line and order the seeds and have them shipped overnight so the seed cost is something like a buck a seed but that is stupid and hurts our bottom line so I try to avoid that from happening.

After the seed order is in we start our taxes, perhaps the merriest time of the year for us all (and you have not experienced taxes until you have done a form "F")

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