Shopping for seeds is like shopping for shoes. You can’t just stop with one pair. There are styles and colors that tempt you for every occasion and you think you MUST have them all.

It appears the same is true when it comes to garden seeds. Who can be satisfied with just an orange carrot when you could have red ones instead. Why be content with cute heart shaped red radishes when you can have white “icicles”? Wouldn’t green cauliflower be so much better than plain-Jane white?

Seed packet covers are even beautiful now. While you still have the old-fashioned packets that feature an old-style font and a poorly lit picture of a pile of veggies (Ferry-Morse), we also now have designer seed packets from Botanical Interests (Colorado) and Renee’s Garden (California). Martha Stewart is in the seed business now too, of course. Her packets are bigger and bolder, but interestingly enough the back of the packets look nearly identical to the seeds offered by Ferry-Morse. Martha’s are just more expensive. I guess that comes with the name.

Planting season is indeed upon us and I actually planted seeds that seduced me into buying them four years ago. I never seemed to be prepared for planting season, but this year I am. This weekend I planted:

Designer Seed Packets

Botanical Interests, Martha Stewart Living, Renee's Garden

  • Carrot Nutri-Red (Ferry-Morse)
  • Radish White Icicle (Martha Stewart Living)
  • Cauliflower Brocoverde (Ferry-Morse)
  • True Gold Sweet Corn (Seeds of Change)
  • Soybeans Disoy (Ferry-Morse)
  • Romaine lettuce Parris Island Cos (Martha Stewart Living)
  • Dill Bouquet (Martha Stewart Living)
  • Kale (Ferry-Morse)
  • Chives (Seeds of Change)
  • Thai Basil (Seeds of Change)
  • Radish White Icicle (Botanical Interests)
  • Lettuce Four Seasons (Seeds of Change)

Even though I grew up around farmland and my dad planted a significant garden every year, I’ve managed to forget when everything is supposed to be planted. So almost everything went in this weekend. A friend tilled up my soil three weeks ago, and I had to get these seeds in before the ground turned rock hard again. We had added some mushroom compost and a little steer manure (ick). But it sure does make the dirt rich and gorgeous looking. My dad would get that smelly soil booster from the cattle man across the street. Those seeds are going to be soooo happy in that warm rich soil.

Gardening isn’t easy either. I remember the hard work that my dad put into tilling and amending the soil — hoeing out parallel and perfectly straight rows. We kids helped with easier stuff like bending over to drop in the seeds, gently pushing the soil back over that tidy channel my father had made and then lightly tamping it down with our feet. Don’t forget the pulling of the weeds and then the harvesting all done under the hot and humid Ohio sun. Then came the cleaning, the canning, the freezing, all done in a small 10’x10′ kitchen with five people and no air conditioning. Ahhh. The good ol’ days.

Hmmm. That doesn’t sound like fun and as I recall, it wasn’t. But I did enjoy the time with the family as we sat in a circle in the cool garage peeling the husk off of bushels of corn. We used wicker laundry baskets to haul in the harvest. That part I’ll remember fondly.

So why am I bothering? Because seeds are cheap. Buying local will take on a whole new meaning. How much more local is my own back yard? Watching my garden grow will provide a summer of entertainment and delicious fresh food. After all that work comes the joy of eating fresh and juicy sweet corn right off the stalk. Corn actually starts to lose its flavor immediately. So eating it the day you pick it will be a sweeter treat than an ear a few days old. I’m looking forward to harvesting my red carrots and making a gorgeous slaw with them.

In a few weeks I’ll plant the Watermelon Orange Tendersweet and Watermelon Moon & Stars seeds, but I first need to build up comfy mounds of dirt for the seeds to nestle in. Not sure why I have to do that, but that’s what the instructions say.

Stay tuned for a progress report as these seeds of future culinary creations sprout and mature.