Garden seed catalogs

A lot of gardeners I know get pretty antsy this time of year. Seed catalogs are arriving in our mailboxes almost every other  day and making us even more fidgety. I suppose that’s the whole point of the catalogs, to make us excited about the up coming gardening season so we buy something we may not otherwise want or need. The familiar seed company logos are like the faces of friends we haven’t seen for a while.

I don’t consider any seed catalog junk mail, even the new ones I’ve never seen before and will probably never order from. Sometimes I find a jewel hiding in those too.

I’ve been gardening for many years and have seen seed companies come and go. Some stick around for eight or ten years while others try to break into the crowded field and fade away after a few years. The most familiar names have been around for generations.

Some homey-looking seed catalogs look like they’re from a small, friendly business when in fact they come from multi-national conglomerates. That’s marketing I suppose.

Most seed companies, even the small homespun outfits, don’t actually grow their own seeds, they purchase them through brokers and from other suppliers.That makes sense when you think about it.  Keeping genetic lines going and varieties true-to-type is a very time and labor intensive business, takes highly skilled managers and lots of land. The best most can manage, if they try at all, is to grow just a few varieties.

To me,  there is something about holding a printed catalog in my hand that I don’t get holding a tablet computer. Plus, with printed catalog you can mark pages and write notes all over it. I use bright colored marker and make big sweeping circles around the varieties I’m interested in. Then I write the page number on the cover. To me it is a lot easier, or maybe more intuitive, than book marking web pages on a computer.

On the other hand, when it comes time for ordering and paying, I’ll buy online — it’s so much easier that way.

Do you have a favorite garden catalog?


Seed Catalog Time

For most gardeners in our area not much is happening in the garden this time of year. January does bring a harvest of its own though in the form of garden catalogs. They really do seem to have a way of multiplying on their own, sort of like when zucchini gets out of control.  A few years ago we had dozens of catalogs all from different companies sprouting from our mailbox.

Like most gardeners Judy and I enjoy thumbing through the pages and imagining how much better this year’s garden is going to be. It’s not the same as actually being in the garden but it’ll do for now.    I always say ” this will be the best year yet!” and it usually is at least in some small way.

Seed catalogs have been around for a long time.

Even though the internet has made seed and plant shopping virtually instantaneous I still like to peruse the catalogs first. Web sites have gotten better through the years but still have room for improvement.

I guess I still prefer the tactile feel of the pages in my hands as opposed to the feel of the key board and mouse of the computer.  Plus a lot of catalogs have specific, detailed growing information tailored to each plant.

I have to admit however that when all is said and done, more often that not I end up placing my order on line anyway.