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Friday, January 29, 2010

Choosing your Seeds for the Midnight Sun Garden.

Seeds. I think them fun and interesting as there are so many varieties of them. You can have heirloom to a hybrid types.

I know many people (especially preppers) are concerned about the differences in heirloom compared to hybrid varieties. I would say, use what works for you and your family. Reason being is that you are your own best critic. I have never really noticed a difference in the heir vs. hybrid, except when it comes to frost. The hybrids that are "manufactured" for no-kill frosting issues are ones I gravitate too. Why, well we all know in Alaska, a frost can set up even in the best of summers. And after all the hard work I put in, I do not want my seedlings or even mature crops to die due to a fluke in the weather. Other then that I usually stick with the variety of plants that I know will grow up here in the land of the Midnight Sun.

Okay, now on to seeds. If you are a newbie of Alaska and have never gardened this is a great way to start. First thing is do I buy packets or go for prepper like larger bags? If you have never gardened before, I would say go for the packets of the plants you and your family enjoy eating. If you buy packets from say a box store, look on the back of the them. If you can grow that variety of plant in Michigan, Wisconson, Montana or Minnesota you should be good for the most part. Other then relative humidity, they thrive pretty well. Also keep an eye on the soil variance, the sunlight vs. darkness, watering, and spacing. These will be key when you are looking to start your garden. You may go hog wild buying packets of seeds, which is fine. But remember, you will not be using all of them and storage is vital as to keep them dry and no mold grows.

What I recommend for starting Midnight Sun gardeners:

Carrots (smaller blunt ones for first timers), broccoli, cabbage (all varieties), califlower, beans (all varieties), peas (all varieties), kalhrobi (like a radish without the heat), radishes, squashes (most varieties), pumpkins, climbing cantalopes melons, minature watermelon, strawberries (seeds or full plants). These are the easiest to grow from personal experience. You can grow all these in mounds, raised or in bucket gardens. That will be on another blog though.

Tomatoes and peppers, now that is a touchy subject. Some people do mighty well with tomatoes and peppers. Some people have struggled. I think it depends on the variety, year and the climate. Last year, I had an over abundance of little green yellow pears, beef steak and cherry tomatoes. But even sticking them in a brown paper bag and spraying vinegar in the bag to try to make them turn red didn't work. Many of my gardening friends had the same problem. We all came to the conclusion that it was due to the weather, as it had cooled down quite a bit. Live and learn. But on the upside I had jalapeno's out the ying yang as well as hot and spicy peppers. What I will recommend, if you want to grow tomatoes or peppers, is to build a green house OR build a hot house. That will be discusses on another blog as well.

So, when you find the seeds you want to grow, make sure to always keep the packets. Reason being, is that you may need the guidance later if you haven't grown them or that variety for a few years. It is always good to keep the back of the packets! Also, buy (if you already don't have enough) a box of sandwich bags as well as a plastic tub. Here is why. Put the seeds in the bags, as it will keep the moisture out. You do NOT want moldy seeds as seeds can be expensive. Also stick the whole packet or if you prefer to cut out the information on the packet, in with the seeds. You will always know what you have and do not have to worry about mold or moisture. You can keep them organized in a small (or medium) tub. But the tub is for something else. ...

Now, as a newbie to gardening, you may think that you can just stick a seed into the ground and it will grow. You may be lucky, but sometimes those seeds take forever! In this tub, all your seeds are good in their plastic bags and can last forever. But one huge step in being successful is to FREEZE your seeds. Yes, freeze them. If you have a freezer, or if you have a friend who has a deep freeze, put your seeds in them for at least a week. Why? Well seeds need to be cooled down and in a dormant state to grow to their fullest potential. If you are a new gardener, experiment. Freeze a couple of seeds and keep a couple out. Make sure to make which ones were frozen and which ones were not frozen and keep notes. You will see a difference in why you should freeze your seeds before planting.

So, lets review real quick:

1. pick seeds your family will enjoy and eat.
2. make sure that they will grow in your regional area.
3. put seeds in containers that are water resistant and can be stored.
4. make sure to freeze them a week long, before planting.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. :) We will also talk about saving your seeds from prior crops in another blog. 


hydroponics said...

Most of the people really like gardening.I am sure they will really like this post because they will learn a lot by reading this article.

upinak said...

TY Hydro. We don't use hyponic up here due to the cold factor. I may try it this year, just to see how it would go.

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