right now

right now

Jan 21, 2011

How do YOU store your seeds?

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!

Jan 17, 2011

Just when I thought I had reached the peak of stretching space...

Wow, it's been awhile since I've posted - I've thought about it, but honestly I haven't had anything truly interesting to write about.  I've been swallowed up with my "tossing things" in the house phase.  Pretty boring stuff, unless you are me who is overjoyed to see each bag of stuff headed out the door to spaces other than these...

We've been really trying to get back in the groove of hubby being a regular full-time resident of the house now that deployment is over, but it's been hard, but not for the usual reasons of clashing in the house and disturbing the natural order of things, but instead it seems like I communicated with him more when he was on the ship lately!  He has been working 12-14 hour days every day since he's been back, he is gone by the time the kids are up for school, and home just in time to tuck them in at night.  I've been trying really hard to get back to cooking "real meals", but find that I have to just save him a plate to eat when he gets home.  The kids and I always sit down to a family meal, but sometimes the content & originality is lacking when I cook only for 2 little guys.  

The past week I have been trying to use the freezer stash of garden goodies every night from here until Spring so we can get an accurate amount to preserve for next year, since we need to account for hubby being home and eating the harvest too.  I grew less last year, but hubby will eat anything and everything that I can plant so I need to get creative again!

Some of the dinners this week were pretty basic one-dish meals, but all had garden veggies incorporated:

Good 'ol spaghetti & meat sauce, used ground turkey and the canned sauce and stewed tomatoes & frozen beans

Sausage & Frozen Bell Peppers with canned stewed tomatoes & pasta

my favorite usage of freezer stash or fresh:  Stir Fry!

How about the rest of you?  Are you finding you had enough preserved to last til Spring, or will you be increasing the amounts preserved for next year?  I definitely need more tomatoes put up!

Last night was hubby's night to cook, he makes amazing pizzas - I just wish he would clean up his mess afterwards!

 I hope the boys learn his crust recipe, it will serve them well later in life!

On to the only excitement of the week-  I made the long trip up to D.C. to IKEA on Friday to create my "craft space"!  It is very hard to describe the limited space I have in this house, but here's a reality for you to ponder... I only have 4 rooms in this house including the kitchen - and no garage!  Minus the kitchen, it's one room that houses both boys and all their toys, our bedroom that also serves as my office space and garage like storage behind a curtain for all our camping/hiking stuff, a living room that is also the dining room and music room, that leaves..... the hallway!  

FYI:  the below rack behind the bedroom door was my old "stash space"...I can't even really hang door units on the door since they are all french doors to have the place feel bigger than it is.

The hallway in the below pic also stores the washer/dryer behind the blue curtain on the left side as well as hubby's fishing gear up near the ceiling, see it LOL?  He used the recess at the end to build me some built in shelves for the few knick knack pictures I have.

Good thing I really love organizing and get a "high" off of being able to fit our lives into this small space.  While I would dearly love to have a permanent table to sew at, this will do pretty well since the dining table is right next to the craft storage area, and all of it is out in plain sight so I will actually be tempted to USE the sewing machine!  (Before I had to dig all this stuff out of underbed containers and trolley carts shoved into a closet).

Below, the big reveal... taking up only about 7-8 sq ft and going vertically, it houses my entire yarn stash, area for my sewing machine, supplies, etc.  Since it was IKEA, I sprung for the shelf lighting to highlight this area to do double duty as "art".  We even have mountain bikes hanging in the house and choose to highlight them rather than hide them.  It amuses a few people but we need to - no garage and hubby actually rides his bikes to work every day, rain or shine so they need to be accessible.  The reason I love IKEA so much is that it's one of the few stores that carry shallow units instead of the standard 11-12 inch deep shelves that would stick out into the hallway too far.  These cubes and shelves are only 7.5 " deep.  Also, if you notice my attic stairs have to pull down here, so I solved that by putting the units on casters and they are secured to the wall at the top with industrial velcro.  When I need to pull down the stairs, I simply wheel away the first unit and they will come down.   I can get away with the velcro because the high shelves are light and only store yarn.  Hubby just shook his head and smiled when I was done, he said it wasn't at all what he pictured from my talking about what I was going to do.  Not sure if that was a compliment or not LOL.

Below, a close up look at the shelves/wall.  I used a baking sheet divider to store random pieces of fabric, magnetic bars to hold things like scissors, tins of pins, etc.  Spice rack holds more notions, a plastic trash bag caddy holds partial skeins of yarn that are destined for a rug or some other small project.  I reused a metal chalkboard tray from the kids' room to hold my cutting mat and smaller felt quilt block design board I made last night (not pictured).  There is even a space the the left of my old machine to park my someday new machine!

I'm pretty darned excited about it all!  BUT.... this week is for ordering seeds, so the sewing will have to wait a bit longer.  We are scheduled to have a whole week of rainy, crummy weather, so it will be perfect for finishing up my seed ordering and bed plans - those catalogs sure bring a bright spot to a dreary day!