This week, I feel like I’m in the future. Maybe even hanging out on a spaceship if I squint real hard and use my imagination. That's nothing new for us farmers because we are always living our lives a few months in advance preparing for the next season's workload.
We have spent the better part of this week hanging out with the seed stash and beginning the first real round of slow-growing seeding (it's too cold to do much else). We flip our flower cooler into a germination chamber with lights and heat to hold to grow our bounty of babies.
While the room is full of tube lights, making up for the sun is no easy feat. We cover the walls at tray height with lightweight aluminum flashing to help bounce the light to some of the shadier locations. One simple Lowe’s trip was an invaluable MacGyver farm hack and has already delivered improvements in the stocky sturdiness of the babies grown in this make-shift environment.
We also are taking the time to catalog our seeds and check expiration dates. Because I'm a seed hoarder, it's important to only keep seeds as long as they’re viable and we often test a couple from older packets with a damp paper towel over a few days to make sure they haven't lost their vigor. We store our seeds in Ziploc bags labeled and in our cooler or freezer to maximize our ability to keep them viable.
Whether you are a flower farmer, a gardener, or just a floral enthusiast, now is the time to snatch up any seeds you even *THINK* you want to grow this year. As social distancing continues, the desire to connect with nature grows in society and more folks are jumping into the world of gardening. YAY!...except when this new passion emerges during a seed shortage.
Last year, seed supplies were slow to arrive and often orders were just simply canceled. This year is looking to be a repeat of the same. IF you find yourselves in the “uh oh” category, don't panic. Here's a list of some of our favorite seed suppliers to help you track down the elusive varieties you are after.
- Floret Flowers: A flower farm like us on the west coast. Also a great friend and awesome grower. www.floretflowers.com
- Johnny Seed: They’re currently not accepting home gardener orders, but keep this one in the back pocket. www.johnnyseeds.com
- Geo Seed: This is a more technical and production-focused seed supplier. You may need extra gardening books, and a dictionary to digest the info! https://geoseed.com/
- Bakers Creek Seed: A great choice for heirloom seeds! www.rareseeds.com
- Renee's Garden: A great spot to find heirloom seeds and hard to source materials. www.reneesgarden.com
- High Mowing Seed: These folks are all about organic! www.highmowingseed.com
These are just a few of the suppliers that we use to source seed for our farm. It's also important to make friends at the local coop, farm store, garden center, and heck even big-box seed outlets. You can also talk to those in your community - you might even find a local hidden source in your neighborhood!
While we think the need to grow things will only become stronger, seed availability might take a while to loosen up. This is an excellent time to save your own seeds from year to year and begin a personalized seed bank vault.
We know it can be frustrating to not get the exact seeds you were hoping to grow this year, but it's also a great chance to step outside of your comfort zone and grow something new! Who knows, you might grow the hottest new thing! (And look at you being all futuristic and awesome.)
xoxo - Jess