When the garden is frozen there is one thing that always cheers me up – seed catalogs! Daydreaming with pencil in hand, I flip through the pages and circle all of the things I would like plant in the spring.
Daydreaming aside, seed catalogs can also be very educational reading. Take for example this bean description from High Mowing Seeds, “Beans are tender annuals that prefer full sun, average fertility and drained soils.” They also tell you when to seed, how to seed, and when to harvest. For a beginner gardener, skimming through seed catalogs is a great way to learn.
Here are a few of my favorite catalogs:
High Mowing Seeds – The Vermont based organic seed company opened in 1996 and are well known in the area for their quality products. I ordered my garlic and squash seeds from High Mowing this year. The Honeynut Butternut Squash came recommended by a local organic farmer during one of my Master Gardening classes. I’m looking forward to trying it this year!
Johnny Selected Seeds – Johnny’s started here in New Hampshire in 1973 and is now in Winslow, Maine. The company is known for it’s high-quality products and great service. Their 240-page, full-color seed catalog is also one of my favorites! The catalog has great tips on growing and harvesting. Johnny’s also offers quality gardening tools, accessories, cover crop seed, soil amendments and organic pest control products.
Fedco Seeds – This Maine based company is one of the few seed company cooperatives in the United States. They don’t have an individual owner, instead consumers own 60% of the cooperative and worker members own the other 40%. The catalog is divided into three sections: seeds, potatoes and organic growing supplies; bare root trees, perennials and ornamentals; fall-planted bulbs and garlic. Fedco’s catalog is black and white, but as they say on their website, who needs color when you have descriptive language and smart illustrations?
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – This catalog is beautiful with its full color images and quality production. It feels like book more than a mail-order catalog. The Mansfield, MO company started in 1998 and has one of the largest selection of heirloom varieties in the country. If you’re looking for something unique, this is the place to browse! They carry seeds from over 100 countries.
Territorial Seed Company – Based in Oregon, the Territorial Seed Company catalog is beautiful with it’s watercolor cover by artist Lavonne Tarbox-Crone. All of the seeds they sell are trialed and evaluated at their research farm, London Springs Farm in the Cascade Mountain Range. In addition to seeds, Territorial also has a great variety of tools and garden accessories.