In the north, we are entering the time of year when we are often confined to our homes for prolonged periods due to snow or harsh cold. Gardeners who are prone to suffer the frustrating symptoms of cabin fever may find this article helpful. At the very least, it will take your mind off your cabin fever with suggestions on how to organize your garden seeds and shed.
(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on December 28, 2008.)
Cabin Fever Defined What is cabin fever? Cabin fever is not a disease as the name suggests. The term, cabin fever, is actually an idiom for a claustrophobic reaction which takes place when a person or even a group of people are isolated from civilization or shut indoors for a prolonged period of time.
Why not organize your way out of cabin fever? If you are among the many people who suffer cabin fever symptoms, you are no doubt on the constant search for ways, other than eating chocolate and watching television, to occupy your restless mind. Okay, we can still eat chocolate! Listed below are ideas on organizing your garden seeds. And if the snow is not too deep you might want to bundle up and organize your garden shed once those seeds are in order.
Garden Seed Organization Primer The first rule of thumb when organizing and saving your garden seeds is to keep the seeds in a cool, dry place. Let's begin.
Divide and conquer If you've not yet sorted the seeds you collected at the end of the season, do so now by dividing them into main groups. Throw out any seeds you do not want or are certain will not germinate. Separate your seeds according to what you grow. Perhaps you grow vegetables and flowers. You will have two main groups. Now separate the seeds into individual collections. For instance, you may want to sort your seeds into warm-season and cool-season collections. The flowers you might sort into perennial and annual collections. Take this system one step further by sorting the perennial and annual collections by color or bloom season. The method of organizing will differ for each gardener as we are individuals with diverse gardening styles and needs. Develop a plan of organization that will serve your particular needs.
Catalog your seeds After your seeds are sorted into collections, you will make lists of what each collection contains. Make use of index cards for this step or use your computer and create a 'Seed Organization' spread sheet. Be sure to correctly catalog all of the seeds so you can find them with ease when searching for them. Bind collections of seed packets together with a rubber band or slip into a paper bag and label it. Or do both. These will be placed into glass jars.
Store your seeds Use glass jars with lids whenever possible to store your seeds. Place the jars in a plastic storage bin and seal with a lid. This will help to prevent pests, such as mice, from making a meal of your seeds. If the plastic bin is large enough use partitions inside and label them for easy access to your seeds. Store the bin with the seeds in the basement. It is important to store the seeds in a place where the temperature and humidity does not fluctuate widely.
If you opt to freeze your seeds place them in plastic bags before freezing them. When defrosting the seeds it is crucial that you not open the bags until they have reached room temperature. If you open the bags before this, condensation will form on the seeds. This will affect germination rates.
A gardener's seeds are priceless. Take the time this winter to organize your seeds. It is a project well worth the time you will spend doing it. And it will occupy your mind while you are cooped up on a cold winter's day.
Photo by manuere at morguefile.com
Garden Shed Organization Primer Is your garden shed a tragedy or perhaps a tragic comedy? By the end of the season mine is usually a tragedy. Listed below are suggestions for making that tragic garden shed shine like a superstar.
Empty it out Begin by empting the shed, if possible. This is the best way to clean the shed or a chaotic room in your house. Sort everything into piles. Try a two-pile system. Make a pile of items to keep and a pile of items to throw away or give away. Now sort through the items you want to keep by gathering them and preparing them to be returned to the shed. Prepare the items to be returned to the shed by grouping them into categories such as, garden tools, kid's yard toys, fertilizer, paints and other items.
Organize, organize, organize Now would be a good time to inventory your garden shed needs and determine what, if any, storage helpers you require. Purchase an organizing system for effortless storage, if feasible. A modular wall system with an assortment of shelves will keep your garden shed in order. Other storage helpers include containers, small cans or jars with lids, garbage cans, peg board and pegs, hooks and the proverbial toolbox. If there is room in your shed build a loft. This will give you added storage space. Lists are also wonderful helps. Make lists and label items when possible. When ready, place everything back into the shed, using your storage helpers. Be sure to keep the items in the categories you sorted them into as you put them in the shed.
With your garden shed organized you will have a head start on the gardening season when it arrives.
Don't let cabin fever frustrate you this season. Organize your way out of it. Afterwards you can eat that chocolate bar.
Photo Credits Thanks to manuere at morguefile.com for the photo of the old cabin My home and gardens
About Stephanie Boles
Stephanie is a Floridian, transplanted to Missouri and married to a Missouri farmboy. She is a mother who enjoys the farm, teaching Sunday school, working as a church musician and a freelance writer. She spends a large part of her time helping the DH on building/remodeling their house. She designs the gardens and her DH helps to landscape them. She makes old fashioned bed dolls in her spare time. She is currently working on a historical romance book series. The first book of the series will be available for purchase in spring 2010. Book 2 in the summer of 2010.