Plan to have a vegetable garden again this year. We have some mighty good reasons for growing our own. First, our gardens supply us with fresher vegetables than we can get from markets; second, they give us vegetables in the best stage of development; third, we can usually grow better varieties than the commercial ones; and finally we may grow some kinds rarely found in the markets. Then, too, there is the boon to health and vigor that comes from the labor of tending the garden.
Plan to keep a record. Begin now by listing the seeds needed for this season’s crop. Number the rows as they are planted. Record dates of planting, amount of seed used, distances between rows, spacing of plants in rows, depth of sowing, germination time, date when crops are ready to cat, time when production is finished, total yields and other successive plantings. Such a record, kept in table form, will help eliminate guess work next season.
Check over last year’s orders so that you will be sure to order enough for this season but not more than you can use. Check the seeds left from last season, too.
Seeds of most vegetables, if stored properly, will be satisfactory to use for three or four years. Salsify, onion, garlic, okra, parsley and parsnips lose their vitality after about a year. Seed saved from your own hybrid sweet corn will not come true to type. You must get new seed each season.
If you plan to use some leftover vegetable seeds, they should be tested. Count out a certain number of seeds, 50 or 100 and put them between two sheets of blotting paper in a saucer or plate. Dampen and set them in a warm place. Keep the blotting paper moist but not wet. Most seeds should germinate in a few days. At least 60 per cent of the seed ought to sprout in order to be worth planting.