How do you all organize your seeds? Purely alphabetically and have a calendar handy with planting dates? Do you use a special type of calendar with notations on it? Do you run a spreadsheet of what goes in/out when? I’d really appreciate some input and help on this. I have so many seeds – old and new – they all need different types of attention, such as: direct sown or transplant early; after frost; succession planting; sown late and/or overwintered I can usually handle anything „administrative”, but when I look at all these seeds, I almost seem to glaze over. Most likely because I’m afraid I’m going to miss something, like a succession planting, or a post-bug planting. I need the process to be simple, straightforward, efficient.

My seeds are not very organized. They are in their original packets, stuffed into a coffee can. Around February, I pull out the coffee can and decide what I want to use this year, and if I don’t have it, I order it. I plant onions and radishes, greens, and lettuce and anything that will take the cold in February. I start some things, like tomatoes, peppers, and a few flowers, under lights in march.  The rest of the stuff I start under lights in April, and set out mid-late April, depending on weather. Our last frost date is around April 17th. If I save or trade seed, I wrap them in a napkin, write the date and the name on it, and put it in a baggie or an envelope, which is added to the coffee can. Not very organized, but somehow everything gets planted! I use the info on the seed packets and my various garden books, or google it on my computer, to remind me of any particulars the seed or plant may need.

Last year I planted 80 different flower seed varieties; in the ground & in big pots that sat on my deck and patio. This year I’m planting 160 different varieties and hope I have enough room! I always use either an Excel spreadsheet or a Word table or even an Access table to categorize and organize all my seeds and all information that goes with each seed variety such as: planting depth, color of flowers, sun/shade, and so on. I also create a design on my computer of my front yard, backyard, each side of my house where I also have gardens, pots that will be on my deck and patio, my hanging baskets, etc. Then before planting, I figure out where I want to plant which kind of seed. This year I’m also landscaping around the four water gardens and two streams that we put in last Fall. Yesterday I planted 10 huge Elephant Ear bulbs all around the water gardens and plan on putting in lots of different water garden plants in the ponds. I’ve found that the only way to an organized garden is to plan ahead as mentioned above!

I organize my seeds by when I will be planting them. I have 3 basic categories: I have those that I start inside for transplanting, (I live in zone 4) – tomatoes, brassica, eggplant, annual flowers etc. then the early Spring things – lettuce, spinach, beets, onion sets or seeds, peas, sweet peas etc. then the things that I direct sow after danger of frost is less likely (here that could be July!) : Beans, cucumbers, squash, etc. I have these things more or less in alphabetical order within the categories-then for succession planting, I know where to find what I want. I also have a chart of the viability of seeds that I use to go through and toss out packets that really are beyond possible use-I usually scatter those outside for critters, or to decompose.