Before I order my spring seeds, it’s time to toss some old ones.

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Not all of them, of course. Many seeds are viable for years if you store them in a cool dry place–I use a vintage canvas suitcase that fits under a living room bench. But why hold on to the verbascum from 2010, if I have a later crop at hand?

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Doing a seed inventory also helps me remember what did well last year and what wasn’t worth the space. (Those seeds get tossed in the trash!)

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There are two kinds of seeds in my collection: Open-pollenated seeds that I’ve collected from favorite garden plants (mostly flowers), and purchased (mostly hybrid tomato and vegetable) seeds.

It’s an important distinction–just ask anyone who has ever tried growing open-pollenated heirloom tomatoes under less than perfect conditions. It’s really, really tough.

Hybrid tomatoes and vegetables, which have been bred from two or more parents for certain characteristics, do much better at our house.

But hybrids don’t come true from home-collected seed, so I’ll need to get out the credit card.

Which brings us to $$$s…

Seeds may look inexpensive at first glance, but that shopping cart fills up quickly. I try to limit myself to 3 new varieties every season. I usually end up with about 5–

Did I mention growing plants from seed is addictive? Have you gotten hooked yet?

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