Monday, January 18, 2010

If This Is January, It Must Be Catalog Time

It seems there are seed catalogs showing up at least twice a week.  Just subscribe or order from one and the next year you will be inundated with many!  This is NOT a complaint, I am in Wish Book Heaven right now.

It all started the day after Christmas.  Three catalogs.  I now have a box half full.  I have read everyone of them.  I know what I want to order again and what new I want to try.  Problem is, we are moving this summer.  We don't know where, Scott is applying for new jobs all over the country.  Even if he stays where his is, we will be moving to Marion County, across the Willamette River.  A shorter commute and a chance to shake things up!
So, no garden this year.  We have left gardens behind, before,  But we are now too old to put in all that prep work and not harvest.  I will try to start some pots of veg and fruits to take with us. 

Back to catalog fun!
My favorite catalogs are local ones:  Forest Farm, my step-mom Dorthy found this when looking for a fibrous begonia.  She passed the catalog on to me and I was hooked.  They used to have a paperback book size catalog (no pictures) but now have a magazine size catalog (still no pictures.)  Their website if very colorful and has fabulous pictures of their products.  I have been buying from Territorial Seeds since their inception.  They have great products and the prices are just right.  Again, the website is colorful and contains lots of information.
I think my first catalogs were Gurney's Seed, Henry Fields, and Burpee.  All of which I found at Grandpa Bill and Grandma Jo's house along with Organic Gardening and Farming Magazine.  (Okay they took most eveery Rodale Press publication way back in the early 1970's!)  Gone are the extra spcecial  seeds or plants at a deep discount.  And they don't always offer a free plant or packet of seeds with your order.  But, they have a wide variety and have been around since forever.
New, to me, catalogs this year: Raintree Nursery where you can find mini-dwarf, dwarf, semi-dwarf and full size trees.  I am salivating just thinking of a mini-dwarf Gravenstein Apple growing in a pot on the deck!  We lost our fruit trees to fire-blight about 10 years ago.  Since that fungus is in the ground, no more fruit trees here. 
Abundant Life Seeds, with a 'Moon and Stars' watermelon on the cover, has organic seed and is a sustainable agriculture advocate.  They have some great old seed types. 

Now, you've got your seed catalog, how do you choose which varieities to grow in you garden? 
  • ask other gardeners in the area what they plant
  • take note of what is grown for the county fair
  • contact your local Extension office or visit their website for Extension Bulletins on home gardening*
  • talk with local farmers at the Farmers Market
  • read each varietal description carefully and make your choice from that
How ever you chose your plants have fun in seeing out the information and growing your own garden of delightful colors, shapes, fragrances, and flavors!

*Cooperative Extension Offices are wonderful ecducation resources for everyone.  Check it out.  I know my Extension sponsors Master Gardener Classes and they do a great job educating those Master Gardener on where to find all sorts of gardening information.  Yes, before getting my degree, I was a Master Gardener.

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