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Starting A Garden Amidst A Panic

seedlings in a person's hand

Hello, this is Rick Heflebower, Utah State University Cooperative Extension Service or culture agent located in Washington County, Utah.

Today I'd like to talk a little bit about gardening seeds, these happy vegetable seeds that we will soon be planting into our vegetable gardens.

One thing that I've noticed this year as I have talked to our local nurseries and also looked at ordering garden seeds online is that we seem to be having a little bit of a garden seed shortage. I think this has become a thing because of something that we call food insecurity. Food insecurity is simply that people are starting to be a little bit concerned about where their food is going to come from. This is probably falling right in line with the concerns about the COVID-19 virus as we watch people go out and buy rolls and rolls of toilet paper, paper towels and other things they're concerned about. Are we going to have enough to get us to a time of need? This is the same thing. I think that's happening with our garden seeds this year.

So just a couple of points. A little bit of concern about gardening and having enough seeds is probably good because it can motivate us to go out and dig up the garden and do some preparation and get our gardens planted. But it can also cause us to panic a little bit, maybe overbuy. And so here's a couple of things to think about.

For one thing, you might want to consider some careful planning. In other words, think about do I really need 25 tomato plants or do I just need five just to grow enough to have enough tomatoes to eat fresh? Another thing to think about is how am I going to store these seeds? If I do overbuy, can I store them for two, three, four years? And will they still be good? One of the best ways to help answer that question is to think in terms of how much do I really need? How much can I actually plant and care for in a single season. The second thing is to realize that some garden seeds do not store very well. So keep those things in mind as you're shopping and deciding what to buy.