I have not poured over seed catalogues in the past few Years because of work load and more importantly then that, deer eating everything! Even here in the suburbs of the Nations Capital we have deer herds that come back year after year! They Love Tomatoes, Hostas, Daylily and Asian Lily blooms!
I will be fencing in a small area this Year to have a few fresh tomatoes! Deer love tomatoes, they wait till they are getting close ripe and then they come in and eat them right off the plant! Nothing works to deter them that I have found! I have tried human hair, soap, even a radio on all night and day! I believe they loved the radio and listening to WTOP radio news all day. I believe the deer wanted to be informed to see what us humans are plotting or planning against them to keep them out of our gardens.
Back to the seed catalogues, sorry I took a detour thinking about gardens and deer! I love planting tomato seeds, all different kinds, in seed trays or whatever You may have available. Styrofoam cups, plastic yogurt cups, coffee cups from McDonald’s or wherever You get that great cup of coffee in Styrofoam. Having this kind of planting material on hand will save You money and will also enable You to buy more seeds or plants from the nursery’s to plant in Your Gardens. Make sure you have a drainage hole in the bottom of container as the seed will rot if kept damp or to wet. Also use a small greenhouse to help them germinate. I use plastic up over the container secured tightly to encourage sprouting then you can loosen so they get air circulation to make them strong and sturdy for planting outside. If You keep them tightly closed after they have sprouted or in the sun they will wilt and then Your hard work on getting them started will be lost. Make sure they get good air circulation after seeds have sprouted.
I use regular soil that I have mixed myself. Perlite goes into my mix, even though I may have a soil mix that already has perlite, it is better to add more perlite to keep the soil light and airy so seed can breath and sprout. Some area nursery’s have classes in February that start and run 12 or more weeks to help You get started and get ideas for your up-coming garden season. They can help you also with your seed starting mix.
I have started as much as a dozen or more different kinds of tomatoes. We have seeds in my family that came from Florida, years ago, and they are huge pink and 1 slice fits on a slice of bread! We called the tomatoes Florida tomatoes. I am not sure if We have the seed anymore!? I know they are a beefsteak but no name! I also like the tiny tomatoes, sweet 100’s, the yellow tomatoes, all kinds of yellow tomatoes and the red ones as well. I prefer the beefsteak. My neighbor liked the Rutgers because they make good canning tomatoes. Tomato plants grow best and perform when it gets warm and hot out.
Do plan planting Your seeds so they will be at least a few inches when the last frost is over in Your area. Here in My area it varys and can be up to second week in April. You need to toughen them up before You plant them to with stand a cool spell or maybe even another frost after taking them out! Take them out when the sun is out as early spring sun is not hot and will not hurt them. Also at first leave them out only a few hours and be sure and bring them back in especially at night. You may also have a means of putting them under plastic or some old glass windows that You have salvaged or someone else gave you and this works good as a little greenhouse also protects them from cold or frost at night if you keep them outside.
I Love planting different kinds of Perennials especially Hostas, Daylily’s and Iris. Those are my favorite Perennial plants and they can be divided and shared or even sold on ebay. I have pictured some of my Hostas that I have grown. I have a lot of different kinds of hostas, blues, variegated, solids, a few rare, however, the blue hostas are my favorites. A Hosta can be moved anywhere if it is not happy where it is at and the same goes with just about any plant that I have encountered.
I learned most from Trial and Error! Know what grows well in Your area and know what Gardening Zone you are in. Here in My area I am in zone 7 and My MOM is in zone 6 but close to zone 5 also! Her gardening is in a colder zone so She cannot plant as early as I can.
Go to plant sales in the spring. Sellers are happy to have their own plants available and you can get some good bargains and plants that you are not familiar with and Sellers are always happy to share especially gardeners. Also early orders in the seed catalogues will get You a nice discount. Some yard sales have plants also.
Collect pots and get ready for the coming 2010 Planting Season which will be upon so very quickly!
These are only a few things that I have done down throught the years with getting seeds started and into the garden at the right time.
Happy Planting and Gardening