Catalogs have been showing up in the mailbox. Why is it that, snowed over as the land is, the catalogs arrive now? The Farmer’s Almanac sets May 2nd as the last frost date for this coming spring. Give or take a few days or even several weeks depending on what the weather actually does, there’s about four months from now until planting time.
There’s a reason for it. And of course there is; do they not plan these mailings? Now, when we cannot experience tilled, arable soil warmed by the sun, we can still dream. And as we look at the pictures and read the descriptions (are they telling us better than it is?) we begin to make long lists. We choose three varieties when only one is needed. We imagine that a pictured flower will look happier than its real counterpart. And, in the end we’ll have picked enough seeds to fill a dozen times the garden space we have. Yes, indeed it is the perfect time for these catalogs to arrive.
We do look forward to them this time of year. We read them cover to cover, and then read them again with highlighter in hand to brighten the selection, followed by dog-earring the corner of the page. We want to be sure to not miss any of our choices when the final order is entered into the internet form.
Have we gone purple pole beans? Or delicata squashes? Or nuts? Nah. It’s just the flavor of this time of the year. Whether you are equally nuts as us or not, we wanted to share with you our selection of catalogs. Here are the three main ones that we use every year.
FEDCO Seeds. 151 pages, illustrated with drawings, printed on newsprint paper. Helpful and fun-to-read seed descriptions. Selection of certified organic seeds. Seeds are sold by weight in multiples of weights (2oz., 8oz., 1lb., 5lb., etc.). A separate catalog for trees, fruits, shrubs arrives if you request the seed catalog. www.fedcoseeds.com
Pinetree Garden Seeds and Accessories. 130 pages, color photos on newsprint paper. "We spend the majority of our time in trials evaluating vegetable seed varieties," they say. Seeds are tested for germination rates. There is a notable focus on heirloom varieties. Planting and harvesting tips are offered in handy sidebars. Seeds are sold by number of seeds, for home gardens. www.superseeds.com
Johnny’s Selected Seeds. 112 pages, large color photos on glossy paper. Includes information for farm and market growing, and info for growing each seed type. Organic and heirloom varieties are offered. Small packets for home growing are sold by number of seeds, larger quantities are by weight or number of seeds. In business since 1973, Johnny’s is now 100% employee owned. www.johnnyseeds.com