Seed Storage Folly (or, Where Garden Intentions Go to Die)

The cat enjoys lying on top of seed packets.

I suffer from the common gardener’s ailment “winter delusion.” Primary symptoms include salivating over seed catalogs, completely ignoring how much space your garden actually comprises, and assuring yourself that this time you will actually plant all the seeds you bought.

Reality is the winter-time seed file, where good intentions go to die. This year, I’m biting the bullet and ruthlessly cleaning out the seed box, in the hopes that during 2016, I will actually plant all the freaking varieties I order.

A sampling of leftover seed packets. ⎢The Fraudulent Farmgirl
A sampling of the seeds I haven’t actually managed to plant.

An excerpt (by no means a complete recounting) of my internal dialog upon sorting through the seed box.

  • Unopened packet of Botanical Interests Asclepius tuberosa (butterfly weed): Why did I think I would start these from seed? Just buy the damn plant at the nursery.
  • Botanical Interests Mesclun Blend: Try again this year with a fresh packet, and this time harvest them before they go to seed.
  • Renee’s Garden Catalina Baby Leaf Spinach: See above. Also, get on a harvesting schedule for all the leafy veggies.
  • Seed Savers Rhubarb Red Swiss Chard: Eh. A noble effort to eat more greens, but I never harvested them. Maybe give it one more year.
  • Unopened packet of Botanical Interests Toy Choy: Just buy them at the farmer’s market. If I prove to myself I can and do actually cook them, then I’ll try growing them.
  • Unopened packet of Seed Saver Amish Paste tomatoes: I’ve been swearing up and down for a decade that this is the year I will can my own sauce, so I should grow lots of sauce tomatoes. This will never happen. If I do decide to make sauce, I’ll buy tomatoes at the farmer’s market. Stick to cherry tomatoes and a slicing tomato, and don’t bother start them myself.
  • Seed Savers Dwarf Gray Sugar Pea: Pretty good, actually. Would date again.
  • Seed Savers Hutterite Soup Bean: Hahahaha NO. No more soup beans. I always say I’m going to “dry them on the vine and do seed saving.” But one year I left the “harvested” beans on the front porch for nine months.
The cat enjoys lying on top of seed packets. ⎢The Fraudulent Farmgirl
“If you’re not going to plant these, can I have them?”
  • Renee’s Garden Easter Egg Radishes: Why? Why do I keep planting these? I don’t even like radish. No more.
  • Renee’s Garden Round Baby Carrots: A decent carrot is my great white whale. Perhaps this year I will find the perfect combination of soil/seed/weather/sacrificial object to the carrot gods. So yes, I will order more carrot seeds.
  • Seed Savers Shirofumi Edamame: Yes. I love edamame. I just have to do a better job of sowing regularly and harvesting at the proper time.
  • Unopened packet of Seed Savers Giant Form Parsley: Just buy parsley plants at the nursery. It’s not like I use a ton of it.
  • Seed Savers Borage: What, am I going to make Pimm’s Cup? If I want borage, I’ll buy a couple plants at the nursery.
  • Renee’s Garden Striesen Leeks: I have leeks currently in the garden I planted last March that are getting to be the size of small tree trunks. Doesn’t matter. Leeks look good in the garden, and they last forever. So yay for leeks.
  • Seed Savers Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry: Terrific idea in theory, disastrously messy in reality. Probably aces for someone who stays on top of harvesting, but no good for those of us who subscribe to benign neglect. And I never did make that ground cherry jam.

Now, on to this year’s (hopefully less deluded) seed list.

Fraudulent Farmgirl
I teach garden and homesteading skills—the stuff your great-grandmother knew how to do. But if there's a faster, cheaper, or easier way to do it, I'll find it!By day, I design earth-friendly gardens for Spotts Garden Service. By night, I don my Wellies to become the Fraudulent Farmgirl. On my small urban homestead, I've ripped out the front lawn to plant vegetables and fruit trees, turned the garage into a chicken coop and grown enough strawberries to feed half the neighborhood.


  1. What about a seed exchange? Kind of like those clothes-in-your-closet-that-you-never-wear parties some people do?
    Leeks!! Man, if I could keep them in my plot long enough to get them to the size of small trunks I would be so happy.
    Parsley??!!! Ugh! I have so much parsley I can’t fit any more in my freezer (yes, I pick, wash, dry, chop, and freeze in bags) to add to those wonderful simmer dishes, or egg/tuna salad, or homemade dressings, etc.
    Our Parisian carrots were adorable but just not a lot of carrot on them. Which is probably why they were so cute.
    Massive, never-ending harvest on cherry tomatoes and harvest variety. Planting late (I’ll say it like that instead of admitting I was way late in getting them in the ground) really was the game saver there, I think.
    Our Chioggia beets did exceptionally well.
    I started cussing at my early greens yield. Hardy, strong plants that weren’t that fun to eat…though we did, of course.
    Talked about planting garlic this fall/winter as we go through it in copious amounts. Dallied so much that I ended up using it in my winter soups. Kick….kick….kick….

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *