Most years, I start to get excited about seeds in January, when the catalogs arrive and time for ordering is on the horizon. This year, however, I am ahead of myself, and all because I finally started to clean my back porch.
This is where everything collects over the summer - tools, potting soil, pots, watering cans, labels and seeds. Lurking in a drawer, and tidily out of sight, are many, many seed packets, collected over the past few years.
Or maybe not so few. I found one stamped 2007.
It finally seemed the right time to sift through the assortment of packets rejected or simply not used yet to see what was worth keeping.
The first variety to be dealt with was a collection of runner beans. They are my favorite vegetable - a reminder of things back home because I always bring an assortment back from England.
When it comes time to plant, there is never enough space and some get thrown back into the drawer. From the 11 packets I found, it was necessary to make some hard decisions, and I finally kept the three I bought back in September, and two more I just couldn't resist.
Maybe that kind of thinking is why my freezer never has room for all the good things I would like to keep in there. It is full of beans! Some are early varieties, some late, while others have a long growing season and produce all summer.
Now, that was a start.
For the past several years, I have grown Gotta Have It corn. Before that, my favorite was Silver Queen. This past summer, my friend Carl gave me some Serendipity to try, and all three bags were lurking in a corner.
I ruthlessly disposed of the older kinds, and will use the rest of the Serendipity next year because it did well for me in spite of being blown down flat at one time. It recovered well and was tasty and sweet.
A lone packet of snapdragons reminded me I had promised my grandson to grow them for him. Ah well, next year.
A large plastic bag contains a dried stalk of cosmos. A reader brought me an enormous plant taller than herself, with plenty of seeds left on it, and I have to see whether they will grow as well for me as they did in her garden.
Out of the plastic and into a paper bag, however.
Then there are the recently collected thunbergia, or black-eyed Susan, vine seeds from the vines that are still growing on each side of the garage door.
The seeds I bought last spring failed to germinate, and when I lamented that fact in a column, Kathy brought me some seedlings that have done wonderfully well.
They have white and apricot flowers as well as the traditional yellow, and will go back in the same place in the spring
Toward the bottom of the collection, I found some large, round, black seeds carefully wrapped in a folded paper towel. They evidently have been there for some time, but I have no idea what they are. I will plant them in small pots in the spring and see what comes up.
Then, there are outdated packets of mesclun, rocket, kale and several other greens. These were good intentions never realized.
Finally, the bottom of the drawer is covered with an assortment of seeds of every size, shape and color. Spilled from their containers, or just thrown in, I have no idea what is there.
What a waste.
If there was a nice field close by, I would scatter them and see what appeared in the spring, but I do not have any spare ground, so they will have to go into the compost pile, where they will at least be recycled.
And now I have to go back to the porch and finish the fall cleaning.
Janet Del Turco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener program.
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