Are you ready to start buying seeds online to get ready for the upcoming gardening and canning season? Here are some of my best tips!
Preparing for Canning Season
It may seem crazy to think about buying seeds when the temperature is below zero, the wind is howling, and the ground can’t be found because of all the snow. But now is the time to do it! And there are a few reasons why:
1. Seed companies can sell out of the most popular varieties. Especially if you order from a smaller company, quantities are limited so you have to order when you can!
2. It gives you plenty of time to make your garden plan so it doesn’t come to get to May and you have no idea what you are planting.
3. It makes us happy to flip through to pages of the beautiful seed catalogs and see all the green and growing things! It can make a long winter feel just a little bit shorter.
So what are you waiting for? Grab those seed catalogs and get to work!
For many years now I have been buying seeds online. It’s easy, quicker than filling out order forms, and the order generally comes faster. Personally, I order from Baker Creek Seeds. I’ve been ordering with them for a while. Their seeds grow well, they have a really large variety, they are heirloom seeds, I can order them online, and their catalog is gorgeous! Generally, they send out their catalog in January (as long as you are on their mailing list) and I get my order in around the first of February. There are some other great heirloom seed companies out there, make sure you share your favorites in the comments!
Preparing for Canning Season
When you order your seeds, you’ll need to remember to keep in mind what you plan to can and how much of it. Here are some tips to make sure that you will order enough plants.
1. Start by making a list of all the things you want to can (tomatoes, vegetable soup, ect).
2. Once you’ve finished, scan over all the recipes you want to make or plan on making and make a list of all the fruits and veggies you will need to accomplish that.
3. Check out the seeds you have left from last year. I’ve almost always had luck planting “extras” a year later, some years we’ve ONLY planted the extras and didn’t even need to order new seeds!
4. Go through the seed catalog and determine which plants you need to order that would be best to accomplish the tasks you want to accomplish. So far I’ve never needed more than one packet of seeds per variety of plant but often I need much more than one of the same variety. For example, tomatoes are something we can the most of (stewed, soup, ketchup, bbq sauce, ect). But I also dry some and make some fresh salsa so I need to make sure I order plenty of canning (usually paste tomatoes) tomatoes, pear or cherry tomatoes, and some yellow or orange tomatoes. All to accomplish the different tasks I need to accomplish.
Here’s a list of the most popular foods to grow and preserve and about how many plants you will need per person. This list is relative though since you may need more or less of something depending on your eating habits.
Beans (Bush or Pole) – 15 plants per person
Broccoli – 5 plants per person
Cabbage – 5 plants per person
Cauliflower – 5 plants per person
Corn – 20 plants per person
Cucumbers – 5 plants per person
Lettuce – 10 plants per person
Melons – 3 plants per person
Onions – 40 plants per person
Peas – 20 plants per person
Peppers – 5 plants per person
Potatoes – 20 plants per person
Pumpkins – 1 plant per person
Summer Squash – 3 plants per person
Winter Squash – 2 plants per person
Tomatoes – 5 plants per person
*Remember, for example… that if you have 5 people in your family…buying one package of 25 tomato seeds will not be enough because that won’t produce 25 plants since you plant several seeds per hill.
Once you’ve figured all this out you will know exactly what you need to order! And just so long as everything grows, you should be good to go!
Preparing What You Need for Canning
There are several things you will need for the actual canning season and it’s best to prepare these things in advance before the season begins. To get started, here’s a short video of some of the things I would recommend.
In case you are a list person, here are the things I recommend to have ready for canning:
The Gardening and Preserving Journal is here! If you are gardening or planning on doing any preserving this year, you NEED this wonderful sprial bound journal! Get your own copy here.
Looking for more tips on how to get started canning?
- What to Can
- Cheap Canning Supplies
- Canning Inventory Printable
- How to Stay Sane During Canning Season
Plus go to my Canning and Preserving page to find all of my canning tutorials!
Have you ever tried buying seeds online? What are some tips you have for making sure you have enough food for canning?
This post on preparing for canning season was originally posted on Little House Living in January 2014. It has been updated as of January 2020.