Taking Inventory

This time of year I normally take inventory of my seed collection. I have a spreadsheet which details all the varieties of seeds, plus their age, and the approximate number of seeds remaining in each packet. This is no small undertaking, since I grow a lot of vegetables, herbs and flowers from seed.

I am estimating that last year I grew over 2000 seedlings. I grew about a thousand of those for our Master Gardener Victory Garden project. Those were just five different kinds of vegetables: tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, broccoli and summer squash, but there were a lot of each kind. I also grew around five hundred plants for our own use, not counting the seeds sown directly in the garden. And I started around five hundred plants that I donated to our MG plant sale – thirty flats of plants in all. This event is our association’s annual fund raiser where MGs like me donate plants we have grown from seed, cuttings and divisions, and I like to do my part to make it a success.

All of that adds up to a lot of seed starting, and it means I have a lot of different seeds to keep track of. When I finish the inventory of my leftover seeds, I will begin working on my wish list for new things to grow this year. I will sit down and leisurely go through all the seed catalogs and note the new varieties I would like to try. I’ve already got a start on this part, and even ordered one batch of seeds. Then I will have to pare down my list to a reasonable length. I mean, I can’t really try 10 new pepper varieties – not when I already have around 30 “favorite” peppers I’m growing already!!!

Hmm – this exercise reminds me that so often gardening is a great metaphor for life. Already I’ve mentioned taking inventory, trying new things, and reining in my sometimes over-exuberant ambitions. Dropping back and taking inventory of what’s going on with my life in this new year, I find that I would like to make a few changes and improvements. One big thing I would like to do is to eliminate some clutter and be more organized.

2009 clutter

2009 clutter

For my seed collection, I am organizing them into smaller shoebox-sized plastic containers, instead of putting them in Ziploc bags and then putting those bags in a large plastic container. That should make it easier to find things. For other areas in my life, it may take a bit more doing to eliminate clutter. No one has ever accused me of being a neat freak. In fact, a more apt motto for me would be Bless This Mess! Still, I started the year with a neat and organized home office and workspace, and I would like to keep it that way. Working at the soup kitchen has taught me the need for keeping the kitchen free of clutter, and I am trying hard to put that wisdom to use here at home.

2010 organization

2010 organization

So I will start 2010 full of energy and ambitious ideas, which I will try and rein into more achievable goals. In some cases, like organization, it may seem like baby steps, but it will be steps in the right direction. And at the very least, it should be easier to find seeds at planting time!

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