While the necessary stores include garden centers since they sell food bearing seeds and plants, I decided to mail order new seeds for this year and only start plants from seeds instead of using seedlings. (Yes, I know the stores are open but that is where all the people are right now.) I have challenged myself to do my civic duty and buy what I really need while not going out as much as possible. I bought seeds from sellers on a couple of sellers on Amazon. One of the more interesting sellers is Seed Needs who donates a portion of their revenue to charities. I also had some purchases from Burpee and Gurneys. Bupree and Gurneys and a few other companies have been in the mail order garden supply business before the internet existed. I still get the beautiful glossy catalogs from them, but I order online now.
Normally I do not mail order so much. I like to go to the stores and find the plants and seeds I want for the season. I have just kept my vendor list to the bigger well-established nurseries and vendors with very good ratings. Many nurseries also offer direct shipment of the seedlings. I chose only seeds instead due to cost. One of my reasons to garden is that it provides some frugal exercise and food. That means I should keep the costs as low as possible. Also, to be honest I have a greenhouse and open evenings so I have no excuse to not just buy seeds and start them myself.
My social calendar has really opened up this spring and I will need something pass the time. To pass the time, I am experimenting with new plants like radish and beets and peanuts. And I am experimenting with new herbs like chamomile and marjoram.
The seeds are all started on time and I have a few cucumbers and tomatoes sprouting already. I have started the usual planters full of basil and seedlings are just starting to appear above the dirt. Beets and radish are "direct sow" which means the seeds are started in the garden not in the greenhouse. They are also sprouting well.
Every year I have some left over seeds from the last year. Now, seeds get less likely to sprout as they age. So while there is little chance old seeds will sprout, I usually put them in some dirt to make sure. I have nothing to lose by trying. I have already bought the seeds and the money is a "sunk cost". If they do not sprout I have no seedling; I put them in the trash, I also have no seedling. But, if I plant them there is a small chance I will get a seedling if. So the first direct sow and attempted starting in the green house include old seeds from the prior year.
I am happy to report that my plan to overwinter the fig tree has worked. I have cleared the straw away and the tree has not died down to the ground for the first time. Even better, the whole plant stayed alive. This also includes the parts that were above the straw. The fig is growing new leaves months before it did last year and there is already a green fruit forming. I left the metal rods and the hardware cloth so later this year I can use it to support bird netting.
The asparagus has started to send up sprouts too. I have both a green and a purple variety. Both seem to sprout at the same time. I have very aggressively cleared out that back section on the vegetable plot to give them more room to spread this year.
The strawberry raised bed has comeback amazingly well. There are many flowers and some green fruit starting to develop. We built a very low-tech solution to keeping the birds from eating all the berries. We have two long thing PVC pipes with each end stuck in a cinder block at each corner. They crisscross in the middle above the raised bed and are zip tied together at the crossing. And over that we have zip tied some bird netting.
The garlic which stayed green all winter has started growing in height faster and faster. Garlic benefits from some weeding and some fertilizer in the spring. One of my first tasks this spring was to add some fertilizer pellets after removing the weeds. The garlic is just starting to produce flower heads called scapes. Soon I will pull these off the plants to promote the bulbs to grow better.