At the last LETS meeting I had a very interesting conversation with one of the other members about seed sowing. She is trying out square foot gardening and her brother send her a book that she has been reading. The most interesting and useful part that she has found is that we buy and plant far too many seeds, and it is very right. At this very minute I have an open packet of cabbage seeds in front of me, average contain 350 seeds. They are not the only type of cabbage I have, off the top of my head I can think of two other verities sitting in my seed box.
Even just thinking about one of the packets of cabbage seeds, 350 cabbages is a lot even for a big family and takes up a lot of growing room.
I hate seeing wasted seedlings, or wasted seeds that aren’t ever going to grow but am guilty of just sowing the whole packet, after all I’ll find room somewhere for them, and of course most of them just go to waste or don’t reach their full potential or productiveness because of lack of time, it takes a lot longer to pot on a whole packet of seeds then just the dozen or some plants that are needed, or lack of space.
The book says something about changing your attitude to growing and it is completely right, if my seed box was my main way of feeding myself I would be much more carefully about only sowing what I needed and planning a head, after all I’m not going to eat 350 cabbages in a few weeks so it is much better to plan what I am going to need, say a dozen at a time, and then have another dozen coming on for a few weeks later.
I have no idea what the book is called or who it is by, and I very much doubt I would get round to reading it if I did but it all fits with what I am trying to do: be more self-sufficient, sustainable and less wasteful so I am going to try and work with it.
So today I have carefully counted and sown:
- 24 Musselburgh leeks
- 54 lettuce
- 60 Ferrari french beans
- 12 Raab ’60 days’ broccoli
- 12 Red Russian kale
- 12 All the Year cauliflowers
- 12 January King cabbages
I haven’t done the best job of planning for them, and I know it’s not the best time of year to sow all of the seeds, leeks are very late but small leeks are better than nothing.
The other day I carefully counted out and sowed 30 Greyhound cabbages that are just starting to show their heads. 30 cabbage is a lot but I will learn
I would be interested in the name of the book if you ever get to find out.
I understand what the principle of the book is about, but may be the other side if the coin is to look at how to preserve all the surplas produce, rather than letting it go to waste. If you look in John Seymour’s book, he talks of salting and canning surplus veg and meat.
For me, I’m trying not to grow too much, but where I have a surplas, making sure it get’s preseved properly, if you get my drift
I came across the idea a couple of years ago in a book by Mel Batholemew (I think he may be the original creator). He has a website that offers so much information I just tagged it for reference rather than adding another book to my shelf.
http://www.squarefootgardening.com/ – there’s an active forum there to help with any questions you might have.