Mavis Garden Blog – Sorting Seeds

botanical interests seeds seed packets

Last night I sat down and sorted all the seeds I intend to grow in my 2013 garden.  It took me about 2 hours. Thanks to my hottie of a horticulturalist boyfriend Ryan, I will be sowing tons and tons of Botanical Interests seeds in my garden this year. Ryan sent me every seed I could possibly want and more.

botanical interests seed company kale seed packets

He even sent me a bunch a kale seeds as well. Gee thanks Ryan.

starting seeds

I will be blogging about this years garden and my efforts to grow 2 tons of food in my Western Washington backyard in “real time.” But before you decide you want to follow along on this little journey of mine, you should know a few things about me first.

  1. I am not an expert. Not one bit.
  2. I am not a Master gardener and cannot answer your “tough” questions.
  3. I did not grow up in a farming family.
  4. I talk/write like a Valley Girl and can be incredibly incoherent at times.
  5. Grammar is not my best friend.
  6. I grow food for the sheer JOY of it.
  7. I don’t have a lot of help. I do most all of the gardening myself.
  8. My Husband and son lift heavy objects, cut wood, and curse at the chickens, but that’s about it.
  9. My daughter picks some of the vegetables, but mostly takes awesome photographs of the garden for me.

botanical interests seed packets

And one final thing.

Although I keep a tally of my garden expenses {soil, tools, materials, seeds, plants, etc.} I do not count them in my “food budget” because I GIVE MOST OF THE FOOD AWAY. Last year I spent around $560 on my garden and although we ate, canned, and froze all that we could, if I were to have added up the retail value of what we donated to the food bank, homeless shelters and random people on the street, it would have far exceed the cost of the materials. So in my mind, I consider the cost of the garden as a “donation” and the food we harvest for ourselves, the benefit of our hard work to help others in need.

We should all be so lucky to have a hobby that not only nourishes our bodies, but nourishes our souls and others as well.

I hope you’ll follow along this year on this crazy journey of mine. I’m really excited, and have so much awesomeness planned for this year, I can hardly wait to get started.

Peace Out Girl Scouts, I hope you’ll stick around.

May the trowel be with you!


Word on the street is the new Botanical Interests Seed Catalog is in stock and ready to ship! Go HERE to get yours!

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  1. Glenda Sessions says

    I am a newbie to gardening and I see you have your seeds sorted by date….is there a method to your madness? :)

  2. Juli says

    Are the dates in your pics the date you plan to plant? Can you share what you are planning on planting in January? Love reading your blog!

    • Mavis says

      Some are when I plant indoors and some are when I plant outside. From here on out I will be posting daily about what I am planting, how ect. :)

  3. says

    Brilliant idea to put the dates on post-its! That’s always my downfall– not remember when I’m supposed to plant/start what!

    Still waiting to hear about your food budget goals for the year– I see the title has remained the same, so I’m wondering…. 😉

  4. says

    Yay for seed sorting! We’re starting a spring/summer garden this year from seed so your post today was extremely timely for us. Thank you! I’ll be following along on your journey. For some reason, I had completely forgotten to sort my seeds by planting date. I think I’m still in the honeymoon phase of having received them over the weekend. Now, off to get the kids to help me sort them…

  5. Lacy says

    Mavis, I started following your blog about midway through last year and I’m so glad I found you! I can’t wait to follow your gardening experiences throughout the entire year! Keep rockin’ on, Mavis. You are a huge inspiration to me!

  6. UgaVic says

    Look forward to see what you are doing. I have gardened in the general area you have, the other side of the mountains, then to the other side of the country–hot and humid summers, and now in AK. Still experimenting, stumbling and learning.

    I agree on trying the Kale when young, and different varieties, then go for the kale ‘chips’ pnce bigger. Great stuff!!

  7. Cristie says

    Mavis, I’m so looking forward to this next year of following your blog while I expand my own garden. Even though you are not an “expert” I’ve found your advice the most down to earth and helpful blog I’ve read on the subject!

    Best of luck on 2 tons! My greatest ambition is to not have cucumbers that turn out horse-shoe shapped this year (no…they weren’t a weird heirloom variety, I think it was a potassium deficiency)

  8. Deborah says

    The best part of your blog for me, is the fact that you are not an expert. You write from the “average” person’s point of view. You inspire the rest of us with your funny stories. You make us all think/know that we can garden any where that we are! Keep up the great work! Happy planting!!!!!

  9. Liv says

    Mavis, I live in your area and am willing to do lots of hard, dirty work in order to possibly get some leftovers from your wonderful harvest in the new year. Family of four on a tight food budget, wanting to eat less processed foods this year, renting with no room to grow. Keep us in mind. Give me a holler if you are interested.

  10. Anne F. says


    Thanks for sharing your expenses and plans for your gardening. Do you know how much you spend on watering? What strategies do you use to limit water useage?

    I’m trying to figure out if increased water use in the garden outweights the money saved by growing at home. (I’d still grow my own anyway because of taste and because I’ve fallen in love with gardening.)


    • Mavis says

      I didn’t keep track last year but I’ll try and keep track this year. I think it would be interesting. I wish I had some sort of watering system because watering 4,000 pounds of veggies with a garden hose is going to be a little tough.

  11. Danielle says

    Mavis, you must plant the Red Winter Kale you have in the picture. I believe its also called ‘Red Russian’. I had purchased a ‘lettuce mix’ seed packet once and the only thing that germinated was the kale. At first I had no idea what it was and it took a lot of research to figure it out. It’s leaves are so interesting and beautiful, and if picked small it is great in salads.

    • Mavis says

      I have tried the red winter kale before and I liked it. :) I think I’ll grow the other stuff for the chickens.

  12. Jessie says

    Still sorting seeds and finalizing an order or 12 here, but will most certainly stay tuned and live vicariously through your efforts til its time for me to dust off the lights and disinfect seed trays. :) Staying tuned to hear about the sun in your yard too! 😉

  13. Diana says

    I planted the red winter kale too and am actually harvesting it now, it is really good! I live in So. Cal. so garden year round. I currently am harvesting beets, swiss chard, kale, broccoli,cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, and even tomatoes and peppers that won’t give up! I grow everything from seed so I am always planting something new.

  14. says

    Girl you look like I did a few weeks ago! I number and date my seed packs too, it’s useful when you’ve got a million and one things you are doing throughout the day.

    I’ve thought about growing kale but other than sneaking it into smoothies my boys wont eat it.

  15. Sammie Barstow says

    Do you have advice to starting seeds indoors? I don’t have the elaborate lighting systems that I see in the catalogs and other blogs. Thanks. I love your posts.

    • Mavis says

      I used a grow light system. I’ve also grown tomato seeds indoors as well next to the window as well, but the plants can get a big leggy if you don’t have plenty of sunlight.

  16. corinne b says

    I’m on southern Vancouver Island and will be planting whatever you plant whenever you plant it, same type of weather and you seem to have such a green thumb. I don’t have a greenhouse, so perhaps you can specify if you planting the seeds directly in your raised garden bed?

  17. Kim says

    Since you are experimenting a lot with your gardens, you must try the winter sowing method of starting seeds. This is the ONLY way I start my cole crops such as, yes, Kale. You actually start them now, in the dead of winter. It is so easy to do and the seeds know best when to pop up. They also harden themselves off and all you have to do is put them in their growing home in the spring. If you would like more information on how to do it check out this is where I first heard of it. Believe me once you start some seeds this way, you will be hooked!

  18. says

    I love watching your garden grow and hearing about all of the adventures in prepping and harvesting! Only 7 years left until my husband retires from the Army and we can plant some real roots (pun intended). I have so many lists, binders, journals, etc of future plants to grow…we currently do some container gardening and have a small garden everywhere we go, but there is no way I could plant the beautiful acres of gardens I dream of.
    Keep up the hard work – it is quite an inspiration for those of us that can’t reach that dream just yet!

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