It's time! I'm working on my seed order today, and I'm doing one more check of "The Binder" to see where I can save some $$. I swore this year I was cutting down on how much I spent on seeds because you see.... I have PLENTY already! What is THE BINDER, you ask? It contains everything that has to do with my garden, all in once place. I know there are better ways to store seed for long-term, but honestly I've been using The Binder for 3 years now with no ill effects on germination so far, but I am also good about checking dates on packets, etc, and know which seeds stay viable for how long. And of course I am going to challenge you to do a post on your seed stash! For now, here's mine...
This bookshelf sits within arm's reach of the sofa, and has all my garden related stuff so I can surf it whenever I get the urge. A basket on the floor directly below contains my seed catalog mail. See The Binder? It's the big black one with the veggie stuff on the spine. (clipped from the lovely Baker Creek photos of course!)
Here it is again... it's BIG! It has to be because it contains all my seeds along with other important "stuff".
I have the pages divided roughly by veggies/herbs/flowers, also spots for wildlife gardening, soil, homesteading tips & tricks, fruit, etc...
A look inside...
seed starting schedules, I write the day I should start things, then update it with the actual date, how many, specific culture notes, etc
A chapter for bees and native plantings...
Chapter for birds & wildlife preferences and any other "stuff" I happen to deem worthy of clipping and saving
A spot for "other stuff" which now includes fruit and the brewing garden
A place for those pesky tags you know you might want on fruit trees and perennials - like when I saw my potted citrus covered in fruit but couldn't remember buying it in the first place, much less what it was? It's a Calamondin!
About 80% of the book is seeds... I use photo pages to keep things neat and orderly, this makes weeding things out that I didn't like or didn't do well a breeze.
Big page pockets hold random large amounts of seed such as all my edamame, peanuts and even innoculant which won't fit in the smaller pockets.
I keep a calendar stuffed in the back which only contains garden stuff on it such as times of day for hardening off, planting dates, and weather. Below is a shot of April last year, the craziest month for us for everything. It's always a gamble, but I can refer to last year's weather notes when deciding when to put things out for this year. Once you have a few of these calendar's worth of notes to refer to, you can ditch the old "recommended dates" and go from experience in your own garden, which I have found really invaluable especially for fall plantings.
I always keep some loose leaf grid paper in the back along with a pencil pouch with colored pencils, rulers, etc so whenever I get the urge I can do a little planning! I know there are great software programs out there now, but I really enjoy doing it with pencil & paper, it's kind of like a kid's art project for grownups! Bonus is that I can hand out extra sheets of paper to the kids and they work on their "own plans" and stay quiet and busy while I do mine.
Sooooooo...... how do YOU keep your seeds and stuff together? Inquiring minds want to know, so please post on it! Also, don't think for a minute that my seed starting stuff is this organized... it's just thrown willy-nilly into the attic. I'll photograph that embarrassing mess when it's time to get that stuff down!
I am impressed with the binder. How nice to have it all in one place. I just keep the seeds in envelopes in a box, in a cool dry area. If I am lucky I dated them. I really need to get more organized. I have binder envy.ReplyDelete
Wow! I've got some work to do...but you gave some awesome ideas and inspiration! Since this is our first official year with the heirlooms, this will come in most handy. Thanks Erin and when can you come over please?ReplyDelete
That binder is a great idea. I need to work on something like that...ReplyDelete
I really like your binder idea! I keep my seeds in plastic Chinese take-out food containers. They are separated in to categories and marked on the outside. I also have my excel sheet which contains a ton of information. In addition to that I have a big spiral notebook with pockets where I write other things down and keep paperwork.ReplyDelete
After seeing your binder, I'm going to convert my spiral notebook and junk and put them in a binder!!
Thanks for the great idea!
I lust after your binder! I keep mine in a plastic shoe box in a cool dry place. And I am rushing out to go get a binder today (ok, maybe this weekend). What a great idea. As much flpping as I do through catalogs, this way I can fip through a binder of my own seeds.ReplyDelete
The binder is a nice idea! Mine is all thrown in ziploc bags. Not at all the way it should be done!ReplyDelete
Please come to my house and organize me? Pleeeze?ReplyDelete
Dang and drat, Erin, you put me to shame! But, okay, I'll swallow my pride and do a post today on how my seeds are stored. I think I have all the information you do, but it's sure not organized the way yours is!ReplyDelete
You're an inspiration to me in so many ways . . . organization has always been a big thing with me but you make me feel like a dolt. No, no, I don't mean that negatively. You give me something to strive for. Plus one heckuva lot of good ideas! Keep it up, please.
Y'all are cracking me up! My organizational sickness is NOT indicative of my planning however, since most of you seem to have your stuff all ordered and planned out already and I am still surfing the catalogs LOL! Great ideas some of you have though, I LOVE the Chinese take out idea, that would definitely make me smile every time I saw it. The big advantage I have found to my system is that it makes me a very effective enabler in that if I have a friend who says they like something, I immediately know where to get the seeds and give them away (and they walk away thinking "that's the last time I do that!"), also I can easily see at order time if I already have something or if it's old. I can't wait to see some seed stash posts, come on now, don't be scared!ReplyDelete
Wow, I'm really impressed by that binder. What a great idea to keep everything neat and tidy in one place. I might have to steal that idea, since what I've been doing to far hasn't always worked out. The seeds so far are in a little rubbermaid box and I keep a little "garden journal" of sorts. I was not very good at keeping it up though. Keeping everything in one binder, might make all this a lot easier. Thanks for the tip!ReplyDelete
Impressive! Mine are in three separate containers- tee hee hee..ReplyDelete
I've got a plastic shoe box with a tight sealing lid for things like beans, peas, corn- bulky stuff that you direct sow as well as some flowers and herbs- also direct sow things. I've got another plastic container with a lid (a recycled container from frozen mini-eclairs -from a previous cocktail party we hosted long ago) that contains the stuff I start early (peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, some flowers/herbs, etc). Lastly, I've got a glass jar with a lid (a reused jar candle) that stores all the early salad stuff- radishes, lettuce, chard and the like.
After seeing your set up- I feel woefully inadequate.....
Oh wow that is fantastic! My seeds are in bags stuffed somewhere on my back porch. Not the best place for them. I don't keep track of how they grow or anything. But then I don't plant many veggies.ReplyDelete
I'm planning to plant a couple of raised beds this year and will use your wonderful binder idea for my seeds.
Ditto to what Jane said. I just keep mine in the packets in a box. The binder is a great idea.ReplyDelete
Hey, Berneses on the calendar! That's an impressive binder.ReplyDelete
Wow, Erin, you are so organized! I keep all my seeds in a shoe box. LOL.ReplyDelete
Holy Crap. Well, I'm just going to hang my head in shame here. Jeezus, woman.....you need to run one of those organization shows. Love the binder-everything at your fingertips. I am NOT showing you my seed box-I would die of shame.ReplyDelete
Hi. I saw Mama Pea's post and thought I'd pop on over for a visit. I have to say that both your and her gardening notebooks put mine to shame. Still I'm inspired to go through it, secure all those loose notes and seed packets, and get a good clean start for my 2011 garden! Thanks for the motivation.ReplyDelete
Welcome Leigh! Ah, it only SEEMS like a good thing to be so organized, lots of my readers know it's a bit of an illness for me and gets in the way of having fun LOL! Ask my hubby about all my organization before a camping trip or something, it's a wonder we even get there and then I get mad when he digs around in stuff and messes it all up, luckily the binder is MINE :)ReplyDelete
Sue, an organization show, that sounds like fun for me - hehe I need to get a "hook" line like remember Susan Powter "STOP the INSANITY"!
wow...I have shelves of books, but the whole binder thing takes it to a whole new level.ReplyDelete
I go with the picture boxes that the craft stores sell. The seeds fit perfectly in them.
What a job! I'm no where near that organized. The seeds that I have are in a cardboard flower pot and are hiding in the soare room. The past few years have been a disapointment, not because the seeds are bad, but the weather and deer are!I live in N.C. and work in Suffolk, so I'm not that far away. Maybe I'll come over for some training! I enjoy your blog and hope to meet you someday to swap stoies and admire your garden.
I have an envelope full of seeds in my underwear drawer. Does that count for organization?ReplyDelete
I really like the binder. Currently I have my blog for my record keeping, I also make notes on my calendar. The seeds are in a plastic bin, but they have outgrown it; some are now in a ziploc bag. I had been keeping heirlooms in the freezer, but that is a royal pain. I am digging the seed packets in the photo pages, but I wonder if it is good for long-term storage (as in years)? I could always keep a photo w/variety name, and store the seeds elsewhere I guess. Hmm.....ReplyDelete
If I didn't have a vomitting child and questionable stomach on myself right now I know what I *would* be doing tomorrow....getting a big, black binder.
Kelly, I'm going on 4 years germination for the tomato and herb seeds that have been in there, the others like peas and beans I usually use up and replace much sooner, so I don't know about those.ReplyDelete
You know that move you make when you "could've had a V-8"? THATS what I'm doing now, lol.ReplyDelete
I love keeping binders- and do the same thing with recipes... so why this never occurred to me, I'll never know. But you've opened my eyes.
I currently keep saved seeds in several places: in old spice bottles (mostly wildflower seeds but also tomato seeds rolled up and dried onto paper towels) both in the fridge and over the stove with other baking goods. I have a small wooden crate that houses the larger seeds and small pots, etc. all thrown together. Yeah, time for better management.
(I found my way here from Chicken Mama's site... her jars in a box in the closet also seems like a good idea- if you don't have mice or puppies, or curious little ones wandering around.)
Thanks SO MUCH for sharing your system!
Hi Illoura! Great thinking on the spice jars - I myself use a few of those recycled mineral makeup jars for saved seeds myself. There really are 2 sides to the whole thing, whether you are saving seed for doomsday or just "regular gardening" LOL. Hubby insists on having some put by safely but space doesn't permit all that we would want to do that way, so the binder is a great way to preserve at least for a few years before germination gets spotty!ReplyDelete
I'm really loving the binder, Erin! All my seeds are organized into ziploc bags in the basement. I've got them in several small bags organized by start-date, and the small bags go into the big bag and sit on the utility shelves that hold my canning and preserves. My other garden related stuff is usually stored in various places on the computer, which means I end up spending 10-15 minutes searching my hard drive for things before I find them one folder *below* where they're supposed to be! Oh, and I have all my potential seed-start and planting-out dates set as annual alarms on my PDA so that I don't forget about them.ReplyDelete
Alison, Alison! Nice to hear from you, what have you been up to - my reader has been quiet on your end!ReplyDelete
It's been forever since I've been to any blog site, let alone yours. I lost the battle last year with the squash bugs, when a back injury put me in bed. No real gardening from July till October and by the time I got back out there to do more than take pictures and line out the kids, the battle was lost. I was so mad I took my husbands butane tank and torch and set everything that even looked like it had a squash bug on it and pretended I was in Apocalypse Now.ReplyDelete
Thanks for up upscale binder, I have one that I was quite proud of, till now. Now I have to cut apart my catalogs and put pictures on it, just kidding. I do like the idea of moving to a larger binder, but I will need to keep my seeds in the file box they are in. Grandkids, and country life (constant battle to keep out the critters) dictate everything must be in a container. Also some seeds are mine, some are hubby's, so that's a whole other compartment to add. I also use plan garden, I bit the bullet and paid for a three year subscription. I just like the ability to move and add at a whim, and I hate excel, well it hates me, so I stay away from it. I also erase quite a bit so graph paper is out.
I enjoyed "catching" up, best wishes on sewing, it is a joy. We are trying out greenhouse gardening this year. My husband is in construction and is doing a remodel on a house that has a greenhouse, they offered to let us use it (16x10 I think) if we share some of the harvest-DUH!!! Thanks for sharing, the tips!!!
Valerie, hi! Glad you stopped back in, I jumped over awhile back to see if you had blogged and I had missed it or something - glad to hear you're still gardening, but sorry to hear about your back injury, hope that is on the mend. The sewing - yes, I'm already having fun with it! Everyone warned me that yarn might have been my "gateway fiber" , I laughed.... but now look at what has happened LOL!ReplyDelete
Now that is one slick binder! I love how you used photo pages to hold your seed packets! I've just got all my stuff in big pickle jars and it's definetely NOT organized. Thanks for the really cool idea!ReplyDelete
Thanks Erin! This post reminded me of all the sectioned page protectors I had storing unused scrapbooking supplies. Needless to say, it's now been repurposed!ReplyDelete