Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Most of us have a tonic for beating the winter blahs. For me, it’s to sit down on a cold, snowy day in January with the stack of seed catalogs. I mentally design the garden as I begin my order. There are no formulas for deciding how many seeds will fit into a growing space – the given is that I will order more than I can grow. But that doesn’t matter when I envision my warm garden sprouting dinners under a summer sun.
I get out a pencil and begin circling. Do I want to have fun with yellow beets, purple cauliflower, and white eggplants? Or should I plant old favorites? Do I need organic seeds? Heirloom seeds? And how many tomato varieties can I possibly use? I make decisions as I keep circling.
And which company do I order from? I love the growing information in the Territorial Seed Company catalog, the unusual offerings from Totally Tomatoes, the neat illustrations in John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds, the convenient mixes from The Cook’s Garden, the flowers in Select Seeds that I can maybe fit around the vegetables, the conscientiousness of Seed Savers Exchange, and the organic varieties from Seeds of Change.
I do a quick price calculation – oh my! Time to pare down - maybe I only need one packet of beets for a 3-foot row. And 10 tomato varieties aren’t practical with room for just 16 plants. The winnowing process takes several days as I grab bits of time to ponder the list. Finally my checks are written, orders mailed, and the garden planned.
Seed companies expect to run out of some seed varieties this year since last summer’s weather limited their stock and seven million new gardens were planted last year. So get busy and try the seed catalog tonic – open the first catalog and let summer surround you. When that first seed order arrives in the mail, you’ll experience a taste of summer no matter how bad the weather.
Macy Reynolds, Greene County Master Gardener