On being stuck

img_2750Gratuitous cuteness photo

Anyone else finding it hard to pull the trigger and order your seeds/critters/thoughts for the upcoming season?  I think I am just as guilty of grinding this economy to a halt as anyone is.  I am finding it really hard, harder than usual (and that is saying something) to open the wallet!  Sigh; I know this is now a worldwide phenomenon.

Anyway, I hope this indecision soon gets, uh, decided, at least for this household.  Too many plans riding on it!

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28 responses to “On being stuck

  1. As you can see from my list, this is one area where economy goes out the window, and I am normally pretty frugal. With seeds, though, I’m just a girl who can’t say no.

  2. I just haven’t had the focus, but now that you mention it, I’d better get going, economic or other worries aside!

  3. i am right there with you. i’ve given a lot more thought as to the type, variety and amount of seed i’ll order this year than in past years. i’m also wondering if i will indeed order the next round of meat chickens on the tail of the current round or wait a bit. i am definitely working from a deeper sense of caution and longer term thinking.

    save save save – good practice for all of us.

  4. I’m just the opposite. I’ve been trying to stock up on the necessities and buy nothing else. So far this month I have ordered seeds from three sources, but haven’t bought any food! Well…I would buy more for my food storage if I could drive. I spent the first week of the New Year in the hospital recovering from a stroke. I miss my CSA days when I could spend $600/year on seeds 🙂

  5. In our house we, too, are prioritizing our spending but gotta have our seeds! A good deal of time was spent creating the list and then finding quality companies with good seed and shipping costs. We did notice a big jump in seed prices this year though – we ordered from Baker Creek Heirloom, Fedco, & Ed Hume.

  6. I’m with Wendy, we’re actually expanding our garden this year, in part because of the economy. We’re trying to spend money only on essentials, and we certainly consider food an essential. 😉

  7. We’re the same way. Where once we would’ve just looked at a catalogue and ordered willy-nilly, I’m really looking at what we need and not just, “Oooohhhh, that would be nice.”

    I’m still shelling out for flower seed, for example, but this year the expenditure is more carefully focused on what can attract and hold the attention of the pollinators I want around. It’s required more homework to spend less money.

    We’ve also agreed to a much tighter budget so as to knock off all remaining debt. And, like many, we’ve stocked the cupboard with basics while doing very little frivolous buying. It’s a different…and maybe simpler, which isn’t all bad…world.

  8. I’m only waiting on my seed orders because I’m testing some old seed to see if it will still germinate. Once I know which seeds are still viable and which aren’t, the orders go in. Fortunately, I’m ordering for a small group this year, so we’ll all split the shipping costs. My list will be on my blog once everything is finalized.

    You know you’ve got to order seeds, El. And you know this isn’t a frivolous expense. So don’t fret about it. You can do this!

    -Kate

  9. I ordered some day-old chicks before Christmas, so that’s already done. The seeds are slower because I’m taking time to go through all the catalogues carefully. I always over-order. I should check what I already have (and how old it is) first. Seeds are such a hard item to resist!

  10. No problem pulling the trigger on seeds here. I’m just waiting on my neighbor to get his order together so we can split shipping costs. I wish he’d hurry up, because I’m worried about varieties selling out early. Seems there are lots of people starting or expanding their gardens, and it sounds like it was a bad seed producing year last summer.

    Vegetable seed I can easily justify – I can grow several dollars worth of food from a 79 cent packet of seed. Flower seed, not so much. And we’re not doing animals – yet.

    Ordering thoughts? Put on the back burner…. 🙂

  11. I don’t think anybody has the right to blame the economic mess on the people. Every news story you read says “sales are off.” Not my fault.
    But jeez, pleez buy seedz.

  12. I have been really thinking and thinking about what I want to do this year, how to get it done and create a strong and viable food supply. I really believe the next 6 months are going to be critical in lots and lots of ways. Havine a good food supply will help my peace of mind.

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

  13. I’m no shopper but seed and plant purchases are one of life’s small pleasures. The expectation and excitement they hold are hard to resist. I always make the ‘no holds barred’ list first and then whittle it down to things I might actually need, have room and finances for.

    And you know, the return on a good year in the garden these days, might be better than money in the bank 😉

  14. I’m buying more seeds and growing a bigger garden. Seeds are cheap, labor free – compared to buying food gardening is a great deal!

  15. I’ve got my list but need to get my act in gear. It has nothing to do with the economy but everything to do with my disorganization! I’m still tweaking the list and I meet with my garden partner this weekend to finalize who is ordering what so we don’t end up with duplications or holes. Gardening with a partner you don’t live with is much more complicated!
    I do agree with all the comments about having a secure food supply. In the past we’ve gardened because we enjoyed it and the food is so much better- this year we are going to be relying on it!

  16. yep, we are too. We have our seed orders ready, just can’t quite pull the trigger and send them in. We’ll have to do it soon though or well have nothing to sell at markets this year!!!

  17. I orgered some chickens already because it felt like it took so long for them to start laying last year that I want to get them as soon as possible. I don’t have enough raised beds to use up all of the seeds I have ordered in the last couple of years so I will soon be ordering just a few things that I don’t already have.

    Susan

  18. I’m with Judy. I can’t blame the economy–I just haven’t gotten my act together. Sure, I’m trying to watch my spending, but seeds are relatively cheap, and they produce Good Stuff to Eat[tm], which is one area we’re still spending. It’s more that I’m expanding and know, just know, that my ideas of what I can fit in the space are inflated, so I’m trying to take my time.

    But not too much time or all the cool stuff will be sold out!

  19. As the others have said, the economy isn’t dying because of any single person’s acts, and especially something as minimal (I mean to the overall national status) as seed purchases…. but yes, I hear you on the cost. But its like an investment in a really expensive coat that is “over the top” for the purchase, but that then lasts 10+ years as opposed to a less expensive one that needs to be replaced in 3-4 years.
    And besides, think of how these seeds will soon pay for themselves in all the good food they will give you – long term savings for sure. Plus, they have all the benefits we know (fresh, minimal travel costs/fuel, etc). Go for it.

    I am planning on placing my orders this week – I decided to get seeds for veg that I can’t get from my CSA but that I really love to eat (and missed this summer), adopting the method of “more quantity, fewer variety” to really get an amount to build a good supply of those 4-5 veg.

  20. Because of this thread, I posted my seed orders on my blog. After years of seed shopping, I think I order some of the cheapest, most interesting stuff. It was hard to pare my list down to under $100 after all those years of $600+ seed orders!
    http://wendyusuallywanders.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/2009-garden-seed-orders/

  21. We are planning on having a serious table at the local farmers market, and slow food table and Mrs. WeekendFarmer has already started ordering seeds from Japan. So, I guess the economy has to wait a bit for us : )

    ….eventhough everyday I am getting worried about job security, foreclosures, Oprah’s weight loss (just kidding..it seems every time I open the TV that is a national concern now…Love her though : ) but one has to invest to reap the benefits i.e I have to buy more lambs, broiler chicks etc if we want to be independent of the commercial meat growers.

    We are frugal as is…but like a lot here …this is one place one has to spend I guess. Can you imagine being a “real” farmer when he/she gets crushed under higher seed and fertilizer prices..where there is not another source of income. Only reason I still am keeping my day job : ).

    Hope you 3 are well.

  22. Thanks, all you all! My goodness, so many new commenters; I’m so glad you’ve piped up! For what it’s worth, I did pull the trigger last night and my check is sitting in the mailbox for Turtle Tree. And also for what it’s worth my seed order is tiny ($30) because I am such a maniacal seed-saver. Now I only still need to order peanuts and sweet potatoes for the summer greenhouse and the gardens are tied up. Sometimes it’s still just hard, even for something with as big an ROI as seeds.

    Ali, yes, it is quite easy to lose one’s head! What I love about you guys is every year you bust up just a bit more sod for your edibles. A great thing. Here’s hoping spring comes early, eh?

    Alecto, yeah, I think I have a boatload of that going on too (lack of focus) but hey I am glad you’re out and about, kiddo. Just watch that yoga.

    SW, yeah, I hear you! I am also really stuck on the chicken idea. Along with the meat bird order, I want to start a batch of dual purpose birds and actually (gasp) have a rooster so my flock is self-sustaining but I just hate the chick phase, or rather, I worry about them getting cold so I will really just have to sit on my hands and order birds in (gasp) April or May. Sigh.

    Wendy, take care of yourself! Goodness, a stroke isn’t something to eff around with. I do hear you though on just being self-sustaining in food. We have a (and I do not exaggerate) stash that could sustain us for a good 2 years. (My rationale: if we have a bad season we’ll still have food.) But buying $600 of seeds? now That sounds like some fun spending!! Thank you, too, for putting up a list of your seeds; I always think it is fun to see what other folks grow.

    Hi Mrs. H. Yep, I’ve noticed the jump in pricing too as well as the stupid shipping costs. Like, it’s SEEDS not bags of concrete mix! Please let me know if Baker Creek comes through for you; I kind of have a hate-hate relationship with that company.

    Harmony, that’s great to hear! Onward, sod-busters, onward!! So much more fun to have a bigger garden; I still haven’t figured out when a garden is too big.

    Oh, Zandt, flowers are a whole deep well of pain, aren’t they? I parted ways long ago with most garden bloggers on the whole flower issue; just couldn’t rationalize either the do-re-mi or time spent on things I can’t eat. I figured that flowers, my first love, were something I could get back to in my dotage. But yes, the pollinators are important, which is why I make sure I let lots of my veggies go to seed: they love flowering brassicas and lettuces! And self-seeders are welcome like calendula and nasturtiums and borage and the like. Debt reduction is a bit more of a tougher nut only because we have been taught that you’re nothing if you’re not the consumer of the latest whatever. Going the opposite way takes a bit of discipline and is less fun but it’s more personally rewarding I think.

    Kate, glad to hear you’re group ordering; that really can save dough at least on shipping and then if you split the seed packets it’s even more better (as my kid says).

    Claire, yeah, do check what you have! Even I was surprised by what I still had in quantity. There is something impulsive about cheap little packets of seeds but it’s still wasteful (IMHO) if you buy them and don’t use them! But I hear you too on the chickens. I think it’s okay for us to wait though it does make it mighty tough to go to my local feed store and hear the chicks peeping in mid-March!

    Thanks, Kristi. Sounds like you’re on the same thoughts as me, though I guess I did find it a bit more difficult to up and order 🙂 Frankly I am glad there’s a bit of a rush to garden in many people’s minds. I feel like we’re riding a bit of a wave of home-grown practicality, and that’s just wonderful.

    CC, the giant organism that is American (and by extension world) consumption is indeed built on people like me buying Hummers and plasma TVs. So sheeit if I am even having problems ordering a $30 batch of seeds and a $70 batch of birds then dang, them’s some weird economic times! Help!

    Linda I think you’re quite right that mentally we’ll all feel better if we have a plan to implement and then carry out. Whether it’s only 6 months or longer it helps to be prepared. I’d be interested to see where you are going with all your years of wisdom to put to use!

    Ah Nada you are quite right, this is a simple small pleasure that I am denying myself. And last year was a crazy productive gardening year so much so that I pulled all the tomatoes well before they were finished producing. So here’s hoping we northerners have another good year ahead of us; I understand it’s been a pretty good year for you southerners too?

    EJ I once calculated how much our garden saved us, plus how much I actually could’ve made of all the veggies that I gave away and it was a HUGE number. SO much so that my husband cannot ever say no to any of my harebrained garden schemes…

    Judy, good luck this weekend! Yeah I hope people don’t feel too much disappointment if their gardens don’t match their grand plans of self-sustenance. It takes a few years as you know to really get the hang of it, and of course one year might be great for one thing will be rotten for others…it helps to diversify.

    Robin, hah, well at least you have an excuse to buy lots more seeds: you’re aiming to sell their products! But yeah there’s something so…unstable out there about it all that I am just a bit gun-shy.

    Susan, can you bust up more sod? That’s my answer to a big stock of seeds! Glad to hear you have early chicken plans. Just am not there yet…

    Safira, yeah, that’s another reason I am a mad succession-planter: even with the nearly endless landmass upon which I can expand my gardens, I still like to cram stuff in. So good luck this year growing your wonderful GStE: it is quite fun, methinks!

    MC, yeah, I know it’s completely irrational, considering how much money we do save by growing our own. It’s a big hurdle, rather, under this dark cloud of uncertainty. I can only think that the sun will come out and there’s dirt to be dug and there’s stuff to be harvested. It will all be fine but right now…it feels…slightly frivolous. (I can’t help it; I am an ant in a grasshopper world.) But your plan of attack sounds great. Let me know how that applesauce turns out!

    WF, how exciting. Plus lots of nice daikon and misome and shiso! Good for her. Yeah I hear you though; this small little quasi-hobby you and I share is a bit of a fun endeavor because we’re NOT relying on it solely for our income. You’re quite right; I have only the foggiest notion how real farmers are coping with all this cost increase. Glad to hear you’re expanding the sheep this year. We’re doing goats and that will (believe me) be quite a big change. But we’re all fine; just a bit stir-crazy with this wicked winter.

  23. just got confirmation that my order from Johnny’s Seeds is on its way–onions and a few early things. I’ll be placing an order with Southern Exposure Seed Exchange as soon as the catalogue arrives, then it’s strawberry and sweet potato seedlings from other sources.

  24. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the chicks. I finally got chicks at the farmers market. I ended up with rooster! My little flock consists of two hens and two roosters–for now. Who knew chickens could be so entertaining?

    Robin Wedewer
    National Gardening Examiner

  25. Yay Ed! I usually use Johnny’s as my pinch-hitting place because their turnaround is like lightning. That, and I get things like row covers and trellis netting from them. Do you know where you might be getting your sw potato slips from? Southern Exposure is on my list for the peanuts this year but I don’t know where I’ll get the slips.

    Robin! Well yes chickens are wonderful but gee I shouldn’t tell you about geese or turkeys, then, should I? Good luck figuring out what to do with your “extra” boy. I think everyone should have chickens as there’s barely anything more entertaining or companionable if you hand-raise them.

  26. Pull the trigger!! We just went grocery shopping and spent 20 dollars and all we got was four apples, three zucchini, some sweet potatoes, a cucumber and a bag of wilted salad. I think there was maybe a round of laughing cow cheese in there, but still! We’re playing Powerball so we can have produce again next week. I know you already know you’re doing the right thing by growing your own food, but sometimes it helps to remember how ludicrously unsustainable (both environmentally and financially) the alternative is.

  27. Jess it’s funny but the last batch of mozzarella I made tasted just like…Laughing Cow cheese! Must’ve been the extra lemon I squeezed into it while kneading. But I hear you, really I do. Luckily my husband does what little shopping we need to do as I tend to get really depressed at our grocery store. (We buy things in bulk too like a year’s worth of laundry detergent, pasta, etc., but sometimes we just can’t cut the cord completely, though I am trying…) Let me know if you win though!

  28. If we win you’ll be the first to know. Like I told my fiance, all I want is a few wild acres to grow our own food, and I’ll need a master class or two to get started 🙂

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