January is the planning moon. The past couple of weeks I have been meeting with our restaurant accounts to talk produce and to gaze across the months of potato and turnip rations to the green fields of spring and summer. The dark nights also lend themselves to snuggling by lamplight with seed catalogues - putting together the seed order and planting schedule for the coming season. The top photo is a page from last seasons planting schedule, it is color-coded for type of action: Green=greenhouse seeding, Brown=transplanting, and Blue=directly seeding into the fields. Every single planting is planned in advance to help keep the frenzy of summer in some sort of order. We plant at minimum once per week from March until September; some crops such as salad mix and radishes are planted 12 times per season to insure young, tender, and fancy quality.
Our seed stock is organized in a file system categorized by scientific family. While ordering new seeds I inventory our current stock, donating unwanted seed and bringing order back to the previous summer’s explosion. We order the bulk of our seed from 5 companies: Johnny’s, Fedco, Seed Savers Exchange, Turtle Tree Seed, and Seeds From Italy.
We plant over 40 different varieties of vegetables - this is a messy puzzle to keep well arranged. To assist I maintain an alphabetized list of crops that we grow - I use it to order seeds and to create the planting schedule. Starting with arugula and ending with zucchini - working down the list, first I inventory last year’s seed stock, then I order the necessary quantity for the year to come, and finally I fill in the planting calendar for that particular crop. With this method I complete the seed order planting schedule, and seed inventory all in one action. It is about one weeks worth of work.