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Organizing your SEED PACKETS

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Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  sfg4uKim on 1/21/2012, 10:07 am

The beauty of the Forum is that we can learn from each other.  I would like to know how YOU keep different facets of your SFG organized?

This has the potential of becoming "gangly", so if you have another "Organizing your ________" idea, please start a new Topic.  I'd LOVE to see things like "Organizing your SFG Calendar", "Organizing your GREENHOUSE", "Organizing your SFG SUPPLIES", etc.  This last one could be fun as I've heard of people putting a set of hand tools in a mail box they put on a post near their SFG to keep them handy.  Or I knew someone who put everything she needed into a small tool belt which she strapped on before venturing out in the garden.

As always:


So here it is:  Organizing your SEED PACKETS

This morning (on the morning of our first sticking snow) I plunged head first into the fridge and pulled out my seeds to organize them to see what I can start planting and what I still need to purchase.

I keep my seeds in 2 Ziploc bags - one for seeds I can start indoors and one for outdoors.

If you're like me you HATE to read directions over & over again.  This is particularly irritating when the directions are not on the packet and you must access the Internet.  When I'm out in the garden, the last thing I want to do is check the "thin to" directions to see how many go in a square.

So here's my method which you may (or may not) find helpful.



As you can see I have plenty of blank surface on which to write, but if you don't you can tape a piece of blank paper on the back of the packet.  Just tape along the top so you can still access any information you may need.

In the upper left corner I put the spacing.  It's usually just a number "1", "4", "9" or "16".  As you can see above, this needs to be 1 plant per 2 square feet (1 / 2 sf).

In the upper right corner I put "IN" or "OUT" so I immediately know WHERE to start the seed.  Below that is the date (according to my zone's last frost date) so I know WHEN I can begin planting.  I guess I should also put the date when I can start direct sowing them outside AND the LAST date on them so I don't plant too late in the season.

In the middle I put how many days until harvest.  Of course we all know this is a tentative date.  Here again, I HATE to grab my calendar and figure out when that will be, so I calculate it in WEEKS & DAYS.  For instance, in the picture above you see 47 days.  That is 6 weeks plus 5 days (6 wks + 5).  The next packet I grabbed was 50 days.  Well then I knew instantly that was (7 wks + 1). 

Next I put the packages in order by the planting date - it will only remain like this for the first week.  As soon as I plant the first time, I then put it farther back when I intend to plant my second crop.  For instance say I am going to start 2 heads of broccoli indoors on January 22 (1/22).  I know I will want to plant two more heads two weeks after that, so I then put the broccoli seed packet with the ones I'm going to start on February 4 (2/4).

I can then look at my calendar and quickly count the number of weeks & days when it "might" be ready to harvest. 

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  dixie on 1/21/2012, 11:06 am

Great post. I sort mine with cardboard sections in a box, but I definitely like putting the date info on the packets. I think the address labels I'm using on my DIY packs have plenty of room for that info.

Thanks!

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  newstart on 1/21/2012, 11:16 am

This is great since I am just starting and need to learn all I can. Keep all the great ideas and pictures coming cheers

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  mijejo on 1/21/2012, 11:18 am

Ohh . . . I am going to love this thread!!! What a great idea!

Here is my plan for this year:

I gave each type of vegetable its own 1 gallon size zip-lock bag. So, every tomato variety will share the same bag. I do this because all varieties should have the same type of instructions - well I assume that, anyway.

I write on the bag (I may later just use a sheet of lined notebook paper which can be inserted in the bag) the same type of information as described above, except I include (if known) the expected germination time (in days). Since I plan to start all indoor plantings via the baggie method, those types get a sandwich baggie and the sprouting medium inserted in the zip-lock bag. If they are to be sown outside, they get the seed tape (paper towel) inserted.

All of the zip-lock bags are dated with the approximate date that I want to take some action on them. They are then placed in that order. Right now, I have a three bundles of "organized" seeds: January, February, March.

Since I have started the January ones in the baggies (some of them are now in peat pots under grow lights), their zip-lock bags are waiting to be filed for the next action - which should be when I put them in the cold frames or directly in the garden. If I plan succession plantings, their zip-lock bags will be dated and filed for the anticipated next germination.

I am using this method for a number of reasons. First, I am better at working with my seed packets than a gardening calendar. Second, I want everything in one place (as much as possible) when I have time to do a seeding activity. Third, I like the idea of a "kit." It makes me feel more in control and the task seems easier to accomplish. Fourth, I do not have to rely on my memory.

I feel with the larger area to write information, I can include information such as what plants make good companion plants, which plants to avoid planting next to each other, and any other special instructions that may slip my mind. Which plants may need to be protected from what type of insect, etc.

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  sfg4uKim on 1/21/2012, 11:52 am

Great ideas. Would love to see a picture mijejo - I'm more of a visual person.

LOL when I was in the Air Force they had me write concise step-by-step instructions of the various procedures. The problem was that someone had to sit with me and SHOW me how to do it because I couldn't interpret the longer instructions.

This is why I'm pretty good with IKEA picture instructions but not putting new s/w on my computer, and why I loved being a s/w tester rather than a programmer.

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  ModernDayBetty on 1/21/2012, 11:56 am

I'm really excited to hear how other people organize. This is my second year so I'm still figuring it out. This year I (much like mijejo) separated out types of seeds into their own small baggies (it's a tight fit but I don't think i have as many seeds as others... yet). I put like things together for example I have a baggies of cabbage veggies which includes (I don't know if this technically correct, but they do start at the same time so... whatever) cabbage(duh), broccoli, cauliflower, radicchio and lettuces; I put root veggies all in the same baggie. Then I have a printout sheet from the Almanac with all the start dates on it, including indoor and out. On that print out I have color coded each type by plant dates. Along the side of the print out in order by date I have written in when they need to be planted and circled them by color. So now when I'm planting I just look at what color week I am then just go down the list and find things in that color range.


Things I'm thinking about changing, due to what I just read is: I'm thinking I might stick them in gallon sized baggies with a large label on the front. The label would include what group of seeds they are and then have all the seeds with their spacing requirements for sfg for each veggie in the bag. That's brilliant! Thanks so far! Can't wait to hear what others have come up with.

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  sceleste54 on 1/21/2012, 12:59 pm

I had these holders for computer discs. They are like a sheet of plastic pockets that are punched to go in a three ring binder, similar to these.

http://www.quill.com/catalog/browse/sku.aspx?sku=UNI04981346&Effort_Code=UNI&Find_Number=CLI61958

I have put these in a large 3 ring binder that stands on a bookcase shelf along side my SFG book..Smile Works for me..Smile

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  quiltbea on 1/21/2012, 1:10 pm

My first step is to organize a zip baggy only for cool weather crops and then those packets into alphabetical order. My packets are marked with When to Start Seeds or Plant, Days to Harvest, Spacing, Soil Temps Preferred, and Depth to Plant (when planting outdoors) and Year Purchased (or Saved). This way I can just pull out one baggy and sow what's needed for that week and I've less chance of forgetting to sow a particular seed. Some I start indoors, some in the cold frame, some not til they go outdoors.

I also have a baggy each for summer crops (corn, eggplant, peppers, etc), herbs, greens, and flowers.

I have one jar for the smaller 'saved seed' packets and a baggy for larger tomato packets alone.

I used to just keep them all in alphabetical order but there are so many and sometimes I'd miss a crop or variety I wish I'd sown but missed entirely. You just have to work out what works easiest for you.

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  ksbmom on 1/21/2012, 1:12 pm

Great thread! This is my second year doing seeds, and right now they are all in a plastic Walmart bag with a clothespin holding them together. I really like the ideas of writing directly on the seed packet, and then organizing them in baggies according to when they should be planted. I did miss planting some things because I just didn't see the packet in time. One question: is it necessary to store seeds in the fridge? I haven't done that and am wondering if I should.

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  mijejo on 1/21/2012, 1:13 pm

I am sorry that I did not post pictures. I do not own a camara. Please feel free to delete my post if it is not helpful. Carry on with the great ideas. Although I appreciate the photos, I can still glean much from others when they are not included.

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  sfg4uKim on 1/21/2012, 1:45 pm

@mijejo wrote:I am sorry that I did not post pictures. I do not own a camara. Please feel free to delete my post if it is not helpful. Carry on with the great ideas. Although I appreciate the photos, I can still glean much from others when they are not included.

On NO sweetie! Pictures are NOT mandatory, just helpful. LOL I assumed that since you had a phone camera, you'd be able to post pictures.

____________________________

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  quiltbea on 1/21/2012, 1:52 pm

Mel suggests keeping them in the fridge, not the freezer. To keep well they need opposite temps of what it takes to germinate them (heat, light and dampness) so the fridge gives them that, cool, dark and dry. Use a desiccant in your baggies or jars to help keep seeds dry. A freezer can cause freezer burn. In the fridge they'll often keep for years.

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  ksbmom on 1/21/2012, 2:01 pm

Thanks - can I get the dessicant at HD or Lowe's?

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  mijejo on 1/21/2012, 2:11 pm

LOL! I suppose having a camara in my avatar does lead one to think I own one. However, that camara is borrowed. I am thinking about investing in a digital camera. Alas, I just would rather spend that $ on stuff for the garden.

BTW, this really is a great topic. I like learning how each of us plan and organize. My method is definitely geared for calendar dates, while others categorize by plant type. Although I will stick with my plan (at least this year), there are tips I can use from the others' styles.

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  squaredeal on 1/21/2012, 2:38 pm

I think the packets are beautiful! And a much better use for scrapbooking paper than what I'm currently using it for (nothing). One person in town did the same thing using old magazine pages. They were such a hit he started his own seed business.(ufseeds.com)

Isn't dessicant the little packages in the shoe boxes and also in beef jerky packages?

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  quiltbea on 1/21/2012, 2:43 pm

ksbmom.....You can make your own desiccant very easily.

Supplies: Kleenex-type tissues; dried milk powder, teaspoon, stapler.

Open a tissue up and in the center place a teaspoonful of dried milk powder. I fold the tissue over in half from one side, then roll it up so its a long tube.

Next take the bottom 'tail' and fold it up over the center and fold the top 'tail' down so its in thirds with the powder in the middle section. Staple it closed thru both those long folded 'tails' you just folded but NOT thru the area holding the powder.

Place one in each baggy or jar. Replace every year.

You can also use the ones that come in pill bottles, the little dry packs. Those are desiccant packs.

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/21/2012, 5:26 pm

This is a GREAT thread. Thanks for starting it Kim and thanks everyone else for your contributions.

I guess I will have to take a little bit from everyone, whenever I finally decide to get my seeds organized. Embarassed

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  ksbmom on 1/21/2012, 5:50 pm

Thanks quiltbea! I always have all those things so I will definitely be making my own dessicant. I live in Florida where it's humid three seven months of the year and I can think of lots of uses for those little packets.


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Organized? what's that?

Post  littlejo on 1/21/2012, 11:22 pm

I have never been organized, and will try to gather some tips from you'all.

I have lots of seed, from overbuying, and freebees. I have 3 plastic shoeboxes. In 1 I put all the flower seed packets, got a bunch last fall when the farm store closed(free)

In box 2 I put all the cool weather crops. Box 3 with all the warm weather crops.

This is a bad idea. I had to keep looking thru the veggies, to find the lettuce seed,that I wanted to plant outside, that could be cool or warm.

Recently, I had to go thru all, to figure out what seed needed to be started indoors, and what to plant out in the garden.

I forsee other problems coming. Plant all squares, then when a square gets harvested, deciding what to plant in it's place.

I believe putting in zippy bags is good idea. Figuring how to sort is something to else!

This is a good thread, getting ideas on how to be organized is great.

Jo

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  plantoid on 1/22/2012, 9:08 am

Littlejo.
Is this idea any good to you .
Use clear sticky tape & coloured card and make a top edge index numbering from 1 to however many packs of seeds you have .. stagger the indexed numbers across the packets so you can see a set of numbers like the old fashined card indexes .

Use the coloured cards to group brassicas, roots , alliums, etc in different colours .
then on a sheet of paper print out a simple excel sheet grid and auto number the lines . Simply enter the types of seeds you have in each goup by the reference number .. do allow a jump of six or so numbers aty the end of each group for newbies you might purchase.

Now at a quick glance of the sheet you can see all your seeds .

I have gone further in this and made a big excel sheet that prints out on an A3 card ( saved it to disc on vista 32 bit )

I have the index numbers , the hand writtten crop seeds in alphabetical numbers and have small tick boxes to show sowing from to dates and likely harvest or potting on dates , it covers the whole year .

So now so I can see right away by date if I'm on target for sowing , planting out harvesting etc. I've been using this out of necesssity for several years and it's bee an abslolute boon for I get occasional memory lapses .
Plus I took on board that saying " If you fail to plan .... you plan to fail "

The CD is " Office World " friendly so I got them to print me 20 times A3 cards off in a non run ink .

I'm making the sowing sheet file available to anyone on site for free to who wants it if they PM me or better still email me me with their correct email addy .

I'm off out now to see the new film Warhorse ..... catch you guys later


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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  quiltbea on 1/22/2012, 10:21 am

I put seeds that can be sown a few different times during the season under Greens. That includes all the lettuces and spinaches and even radishes since I can pop those in here and there when there's a free space.

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Seed organization

Post  Lovesdirt on 1/22/2012, 6:04 pm

Great ideas everyone. I have also been gathering ideas about how to organize seeds. I pinned this idea http://chiotsrun.com/2010/02/26/organizing-the-seed-stash/ to my Pinterest gardening board. I like the idea overall, but I think I would add a little more information to the back of each folder.



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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  EatYourVeggies on 1/22/2012, 6:21 pm

Wow....what an awesome thread and several ideas for seed storage. Making due with what I had available at the time, I use a CD wallet. It only meaures about 6 x 12 and just over an inch thick. there are 92 pockets in this one and of course, it zips closed. It fits easily into the crisper drawer of the refrigerator (despite weird looks and questions from friends about why I hide my CD's in the refrigerator), but reading over this thread, I may have to re-think my current storage solution.


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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  dixie on 1/22/2012, 10:53 pm

@EatYourVeggies wrote:Wow....what an awesome thread and several ideas for seed storage. Making due with what I had available at the time, I use a CD wallet. It only meaures about 6 x 12 and just over an inch thick. there are 92 pockets in this one and of course, it zips closed. It fits easily into the crisper drawer of the refrigerator (despite weird looks and questions from friends about why I hide my CD's in the refrigerator), but reading over this thread, I may have to re-think my current storage solution.


GREAT idea! I'll definitely be using this one.

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

Post  ModernDayBetty on 1/25/2012, 9:35 am

A fan of Bakers Creek Facebook page posted how they save their seeds on their blog. It's a pretty neat idea, if your able to spend the money. (tones of pictures!) And it's kind of a bit of what everyone has been saying so far for containers/baggies.

After this thread was started, thanks to everyone's ideas, I started to catalog all of my seeds. I've made a list with all that important info for quick reference along with a rating system for germination, plant productivity, and then was it yummy enough to try again. I used Microsoft Publisher to make a cute chart that I can add to and take away from in the years to come. I like print out so it's an easy thing to print out a copy every year and put it up in plain sight when my seeds are hiding. I'm also making little tags with pictures on it (much like Gardeners Garden Planner). I'm making it so I can write each seed name I currently have on a tag so I can make sure each seed type finds a home. I really want to make a magnetic garden board so I can move the tags around and then clear it for the next season. The last part is to help me with the organiztion of getting my seeds used but some may think it should be on a different thread so if you have more to say, as an experienced gardener, I found this thread already in motion Experienced SFG Plans from last year.

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Re: Organizing your SEED PACKETS

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