I’ve finally taken the time to explore the inner reaches of my refrigerator, locating the seeds I mentioned, giving me reason to plan and wonder what I’ll plant in a climate with a year round growing season…. Without a green house or bomb proof cold frame, veggie gardening is typically unreliable in the Lake Tahoe area, even in summer. General crop survival and thus the ability to collect and save seeds for the next growing season difficult. However with our coming move to, what appears to be, USDA Hardiness Zone 8b, I’m hoping the seeds I buy in the future will be few and far between as the success of seed collection becomes dependable.
Seeds are an excellent place to start with a kitchen garden, regardless of its size. They are not only inexpensive, especially in comparison to buying starts, but provide a sense of accomplishment and wonder as they sprout and become edible treats and, if you’re lucky, real sustenance.
I prefer to buy organic seeds. Organic guarantees that my food is chemical free, not genetically modified and safe. Healthy for the soil, healthy to eat and healthy for the environment. Creating a smaller carbon footprint and reducing pollution.
Overtime, a garden grown from seed collected on site has the added advantage of becoming increasingly adapted to its micro climate. The maps may show that I’m moving to USDA Hardiness Zone 8b, but in reality this is not precise. Every area, yard, nook and cranny a bit different due to its specific location, aspect, surrounding topography and the like.
My next round of seedlings will be squaring off with a new set of challenges. No longer being accosted by extreme ranges in temperature (sometimes 50 degrees from day to night), high elevation and 8 to 9 months of Sierra Nevada winter weather. We’re trading one set of demands for another. Now we brave inner coastal conditions and competition, from pests and disease such as slugs, snails, powdery mildew, rusts, gophers… and I’m sure the list goes on. I’ll soon find out.