I am delighted to have the first seed catalogs of the year! It’s never too early to start dreaming about the next vegetable garden.

However, I am making some changes to my seed acquisition process. In addition to my standbys, I tend to buy whatever looks interesting, such as new varieties of pac choi, red, white and yellow onions sets, fancy garlic, gourmet lettuce, exotic chilis,3 kinds of okra and 6 kinds of beans.

I learned that many of these varieties don’t do well here. I spend a great deal of money on cool seeds that do not grow well, meaning a loss of time, water and other other resources.

I also learned that many things don’t store well. For example, my yellow onions withered months ago. My white onions are as firm and lovely as the day I picked them. My regular garlic stores well, but the fancy Chinese garlic went bad fast.

As I thought about what grows well and looked over my garden logs, I realized that I can probably cut my seed budget in half by avoiding the exotics. I am going to stick with the ones that produce well, year after year. My goal is to maximize production and store food for winter months, so it’s time to make changes to my seed-buying habits.

The following are my rules for seed selection this year

1. Buy proven varieties that work in my Wyoming garden

2. Buy one only exotic that looks interesting

3. Buy from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed, and then Territorial Seed for things they don’t have

4. Choose varieties that I know will freeze or otherwise store well

5. Try to save seed where practical, for use next year.

May your garden dreams be bountiful!

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