Curating the seed abundance!

So in my series about visualizing and then curating your abundance*, let’s turn to seed organization!

*By the way, in my new set of books, The Summa Domestica: Order and Wonder in Family Life, the third volume has all the Reasonably Clean House posts and ideas gathered together and… curated… so that you can follow my incremental method to gaining control over your home and the tranquillity of order.

A while ago, I popped in a story on IG about taking stock of what I had, seed-wise, preparatory to doing my seed order; it seemed timely, and anyway it was snowing hard and I needed some thoughts of spring.

Can you figure out what’s going on here? The metal basket/tray thing I used last year is totally unreasonable as a seed caddy, as its wide side openings allow packets to slip out. Not to mention that the packets are just in a flat jumble and one spends all one’s time rummaging (and picking up off the floor). Then there’s a cute box with no dividers, and then a dumb plastic recipe-card affair that is not big enough for anything and doesn’t stay shut.

Dear Rosie Hill messaged me right away to say, “You need this for your seeds” — and indeed, all the cool homesteading CSA-providing farming people do seem to have this clear one (affiliate link):

This one is easiest to see because the small bins are in color, but the one everyone is using is clear. You get the idea.

But Reader, as undeniably opportune, felicitous, and organizational as this item is, I have two traits that militated against such a problem-solving purchase:

  1. I don’t have that many seeds, not being a homesteader, etc…
  2. I am not constitutionally capable of opening two plastic containers, outer and inner, to get to the seeds I do have, without being annoyed. Experience shows that my hands will be wet and/or muddy and I will be rummaging for what I want and be getting very impatient if I have to do more than reach into one box — lifting one lid is probably my limit.

Still, I realized at the moment I contemplated that container that I did, in my heart of hearts, want an organizer that would keep my seeds upright and, in the ideal world, in alphabetical order. A sort of filing system but for seeds, not cards.

Now, one thing you need to know about Habou (for new readers Habou is my mother — she passed away in October 2020): she was an artist, yes, but she was also first secretary, then office manager, then proprietor of her own business, a secretarial service, before she retired from that and mainly did her art.

She was keenly focused on office products and really knew how to file something. Very often, I — a shall we say non-expert in these matters — would vaguely mention some office-type need and voilà! “I think I have the right thing at my studio,” and it would appear!

Like these mail rack sorter things… She just appeared with them. They are great, even though these days we don’t have multiple people receiving mail here.

About three years or so ago, when I realized I liked keeping my notes for talks on index cards and they began to multiply, she came home with a box for them; however, I felt it was too big and stuck it in the closet.

So when I was musing on what would fill my seed-storing needs, trying to visualize it (by which I mean just let thoughts come to me), it occurred to me that Habou would have some storage bin or something, in her room (which I have not completely sorted through), perhaps like Rosie Hill’s (Habou also favored plastic bins for storing yarn and so on) — or have given me one that I’d forgotten, and I began to wander around the house looking for such a thing. I opened the closet door in the den and — there was that box!

It needed to be wiped out. Making it perfect for the purpose! You know, not super clean…
The old “system” and the potential of the new.

And, most importantly, it has this thing that has a name — a “follower” — that can be snuggled up to keep the items upright.

Even after being wiped out, not super clean! Happy to put all my seeds in this.

And inside were not one but two index card file dividers! Meaning that I can have one section for vegetables and herbs and one for flowers!

I also realized that I could use greeting and prayer cards that I admit: I cannot throw certain ones away! — to further separate sections, such as beans from beets.

I made myself accomplish certain dreaded and procrastinated chores before I would allow myself the pleasure of even opening the packages I had ordered. And then I had a glorious time filing my seed packets into my old-school box.

The Baker Creed mailer front…
… and back!

NB: I like Baker Creek Seeds and St. Clare Seeds — they both have excellent customer service. The former’s seeds come in that adorable mailer pictured above, and the latter’s feature a small plastic bag inside the paper packet, pictured below, which is a relief to those of us who keep seeds a long, long time because we are only planting about 1/35th of the contents of a packet. Both companies tuck in a free sample or two of their seeds, and have fast shipping and strong conservative principles.

I’m pretty darned confident that these seeds are still good!

Anyway, to get back to the topic, even though those attractive and undeniably shiny plastic bins were 40% off at Joann’s (where I went to get something else that was not there), I am super happy with this way of storing my seeds. It’s probably not for everyone, but maybe gives you some idea of my wacky thought processes, so that’s something…

I also felt vindicated in my practice of never throwing anything away curating abundance, and being able to come up with these things without spending a cent. I think I will use that cute little box for sundries like plant markers and who knows?

But this fascinating, gripping tale does not end there, because the other day when I was preparing for a talk, I took out all my index cards. Now that I understood and had experienced the box with its follower and overall brilliance, I realized: I actually need just that box for my index cards!

So… I ordered one (affiliate link) for that purpose! I know! You can laugh! My eyes are rolling too!… Habou’s too…

The brand-new box… for my index cards! Now to organize those

bits & pieces

  • Loyalty Nearly Killed My Beehive — an informative account, if you like thinking about bees, of a fairly new beekeeper and his attempts to save his shaky Brooklyn rooftop hive.

from the archives

liturgical living

In the old calendar (which I am becoming more attached to — how about you?), tomorrow begins Septuagesimatide.

“Septuagesimatide, or pre-Lent, is the name given to the three consecutive Sundays preceding Ash Wednesday… Septuagesima can teach us many valuable lessons: that Lent should not be begun abruptly or thoughtlessly but preceded by a period of adjustment; that uttering sacred words is a privilege which should not be taken for granted; that sin puts us in exile from our True Home; and that the Old Testament, with its many significant events, is perpetually relevant to the lives of Christians.”

And another reflection on the preparation for Lent.

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