Garden Planning: Geek Out. Have Fun. Start Now.

seed packets

Holiday shopping is over, so, as an enthusiastic vegetable gardener, you’ll probably pause for one deep breath, and then dive into the next round of seasonal decision-making: Planning your next edible garden. It might seem early yet, but you’re assured of a good selection if you put your order in soon. I know my favorite supplier has limited quantities of certain seeds, even before they distribute their catalog, and the demand for seeds is only going up.

If it’s important to you, choose a supplier that doesn’t traffic in GMO seeds. This Organic Seed Suppliers Search is very user-friendly and robust, to boot.

Above all, focus on those suppliers in your area — their inventory is pre-selected for success under your region’s growing conditions. You’ll have an advantage over the pest and disease issues particular to your area right from the get-go.

    Most (all?) state universities have “co-operative extensions” that provide locally relevant info on crops, pests, and scourges. If you’re lucky, you’ll find in-depth vegetable variety trials for your area — now that’s garden geekery.

    My personal state co-op is a little thin in this regard, so I did some more digging, and found that the USDA has a search engine for what they call “alternative crops” — those that might work best for “small scale farming by limited-resource farmers and small landowners”. Check, check, and check.

    Radish greens and appleblossoms

    Lately I have been doing a lot of additional “research” (read: mid-winter escapism), and have found some juicy new resources, and rediscovered old favorites.

    • Flickr, the ultimate resource for full-color social networking, is a good place to find like-minded, snap-happy gardeners, particularly if you use the “groups” functions.
    • is social networking specifically for gardeners, with very clever and enjoyable features for showing off your own garden, and finding others’.
    • Use Picsearch to search for “organic vegetable garden” or something similar. Picsearch is a little like Google image search, but I find the results more relevant…and attractive. Oh, eye candy.

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