With the planting on the onion seeds, Reformation Acres vegetable gardening season has officially begins! And so has my need to organize my seed packets waiting for their turn to be opened.
Our garden space expanded exponentially this year, I am loaded with seeds that I’ve saved from previous years or have been buying and squirreling away for the upcoming gardening season. Let’s just say I’m an “enthusiastic” seed shopper.
There is nothing like having a new space to work with especially after having taken a year long break from gardening to reinvigorate my zeal for working in the soil! And while I’m nervous about all the work that is before me, it is at the same time exciting to see what this coming year will hold.
That’s the beauty of winter and early spring… all the hope and promise of what the year will hold, isn’t it? Sadly, I’ve been gardening enough years to know that it will probably also hold crop failures, harmful bugs, and a lot of weeds to balance the hope, but the hope is still there none the less!
The problem is I have so many varieties and types of seeds that I’m eager to try this year, that my old seed storage method, which worked great when I was working on a smaller scale, is no longer going to work. There simply isn’t enough room.
How To Organize Seed Packets
I came up with a new organizational method to streamline the sowing season so that I’m not sifting through packets time after time, risking missing some, or sowing them at the wrong time.
I simply took a peck-sized harvest basket that was missing the handle and cut cardboard tabs down to size, dated them, and after scheduling when to plant my seeds based upon my estimated last frost date and growing season, filed all those packets away according to when they will need to be sown.
And it was nip and tuck.
I almost still didn’t have enough room. But they all managed to fit. And come the first week of March, I’ll be all ready to go.
It may not be a beautiful system. But it didn’t cost me a dime, is efficient, and accomplishes what I want it to do which is save me time on planting day.
You could organize your seeds according to type. I think would be especially fitting in the fall when you’re packing away all the leftover seeds that didn’t get sown earlier in the year.
For spring and during the sowing season, I chose to organize mine according to planting dates. On each day, I can just grab and go! I don’t want to waste a precious moment of play time in the dirt by fumbling through all those packets!
Obviously, for many gardener’s this whole system might seem like overkill. After all, that sure is a whole lot of seeds! But I’ve got quite the family to feed and I’m looking to do it out of our own backyard, so I need a whole lot of seeds!
If that’s what you’re thinking perhaps, you’d be better served by one of these other systems for organizing your garden’s seeds:
Alternately, you could purchase an organizer that would meet your needs.
Burgon & Ball Seed Packet Organizer
Not sure when to plant? Learn more about my Custom Seed Starting Chart to help you plan your spring or fall garden sowing calculator!
Ah yes! My husband and I spent our “snowed in” afternoon yesterday planning our garden while the children napped. I am tremendously excited and rather overwhelmed, all at once!
Thanks for posting your potato yields here– we were wondering how much seed potato we should get for our yield goal of 100# or so, and couldn’t find that information anywhere. So that was perfect timing for us! Now if only I could find an affordable source of organic seed potatoes– we like to use High Mowing for our seeds as much as we can but the cost is prohibitive for potatoes.
So do you grow all your tomato needs for the year? I’m curious how many plants you will be putting in this year. We need I think 4-5 bushels for the year and I know we don’t have space here on our 1 acre to do all the tomatoes we need plus everything else but I’m just wondering how many plants we’d need. Sigh. It’s hard to not wish for 10 times the acreage we have! Maybe some day… we’re praying.
Anyway, thanks as always for a helpful and informative post. Hope your new little miss is doing well– enjoy those sweet snuggles!
I was interested to see the consistency in yields after looking back. It makes me glad to have kept records- helps to better plan for the future. I get my potato seeds from “The Maine Potato Lady.”
I was really happy with last seasons seed from them. Their prices are reasonable too. I don’t think everything is organic, but some is.
I might be able to supply all of our tomato needs this year. BUT only because I’ve scaled back/changed the way we eat over the years. Before I would have said no, because I estimate if I scaled it up I bet we could go through ½ gallon of sauce a week! I think I’ll shoot for half that and see where we end up (Lord willing- depending on the harvest.) And that still seems optimistic. Tomatoes are like chicken to me now that I’m raising/growing my own. I don’t get how they make it so cheap. It takes a TON of tomatoes to make a little bit of sauce. I guess I’d rather put the effort into something that goes further with less processing.
Phoebe is doing wonderfully! I’m enjoying every minute of her and am so grateful to have her as part of the family! Blessings to you Rebekah!
Oh thank you so much for that link– I had looked at that site before but it’s good to “know” someone who has used them and had good results. We’ll definitely give them a try.
I know what you mean about the tomatoes– I never understood how they can be so cheap in the stores. I think we put the most labor into tomatoes out of everything we grow/pick/preserve here. Last year toward the end of that tedious Tomato Week, I got tired of going through all the work for sauce and put up a few batches of stewed tomatoes. It was easier, and we find that we use them that way a lot more than sauce, since we really don’t eat pasta.
Anyway, thanks for your help once again 🙂
That sure is a lot of seeds, but by the end of the year you will know witch ones did best, so I would put it down to research.
Is it in your plans to collect your own seeds (or maybe you already do this for some things)? My (rosy-red) dream is to only buy for example potatoes once and the never had to again. My parents did this when I was a child, but they did not in any way grow all the potatoes we consumed. I do however remember not being allowed to grab the ‘good-for-seed’ ones for the pot.
Our first crop of the year is ready to eat tomorrow. I’ll make a batch of egg salad to go with the cress.
Do you have any experience growing chilli indoors? I’ve been adding dried chilli flakes to our food for a while now and am wondering if I could make a plant grow and produce one or two a year 😉
You’re right, it is. I know in some cases (like the tomatoes) I’m going to only do 1 or 2 plants of some of the experimental or of the kids varieties and concentrate on the paste type and my favorite- Brandywines! I have started collecting some seeds. Kale- 2 varieties, dent corn, pole beans, parsnips, and iceberg lettuce. I would have saved tomatoes and cucumbers from the last season, but the chickens thwarted my plans 🙂
I’ve grown hot peppers once but made the mistake of planting them too close to my sweet peppers so they cross pollinated and weren’t hot. But they were pretty care free to grow. I dried them in the oven and then ran them through the blender. I can’t remember how many pounds I grew- whatever about 6 plants gave and it made a half gallon bag of flakes! For us that enough for like 3 years!
Congratulations on that first crop! I’m sure it will be the finest egg salad you’ve ever eaten!
Thank you, it was great.
Amanda W. says
I’ve read your blog for a long time now, but don’t comment often. Just know that you’ve been a huge resource to me and my little homestead. After reading this post, I just HAD to say something! YES! THIS IS AWESOME!! My husband throws the seed packs (rubberbanded by group) into one large zip top bag and into a drawer into the fridge. I LOVE this. I can’t wait to show him whatever I come up with that is inspired by yours. I have a book that tells me when to plant things, but I haven’t even opened it yet. We’re on our third summer of gardening -ever- and still don’t have a clue what we’re doing. I think we just throw the seeds in the ground and God does the rest! 🙂 Anyway, thanks so much for sharing this…it may seem simple and “duh” to you, but you never know…it may be just the thing someone is looking for!
LOL Amanda! I’m on my 7th or is it 8th year of gardening and I feel like I still don’t have a clue as to what I’m doing in many respects. I feel like there is a huge learning curve and it’s a slow process & labor of love that you can’t learn all there is to know quickly.
So glad you find this site to be resourceful! Take Care!
Rebecca Newman says
I think gardening is a lot like childbirth. The good Lord wisely allows us to ‘forget’ the pain and remember only the joy until the pain is upon us again! 😉
I am pretty ready for winter to be over, if I do say so myself, and my plan for this weekend is to get a but of summer in my system by ordering my seeds!
Very clever to sort by planting date instead of by type. I like that idea. I would encourage you to find a plastic container of some sort to store them long term. One year I had painstakingly sorted/organized my seeds and then closed them up in a cardboard box only to find the next spring that a creature had eat up the lot of it through winter!
Be well Quinn! Give that baby a kiss for me! Rebecca
Long term I vacuum seal them and stick them in the freezer. Or a mason jar with a paper towel & powdered milk to suck up moisture in the fridge. But fridge space is at a premium so mostly it’s the other now.
Happy Garden Dreaming!
And thank you for the excuse to plant an extra kiss on my dearie. Not that I needed one. It’s my favorite pastime! 🙂
This is great! How did it work for you? Mine are alphabetical but I would love to sort by sow date. How do you handle succession plantings (carrots, lettuce, radish) that need to go in every few weeks?
It worked out beautifully! Definitely doing it again this year 🙂 For succession dates, I just moved the packet back to the next date when I was done.