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So Many Seed Catalogs-How Do I Choose?

spirit of spring (640x480)

It is still January by calendar, but a bud holding its breath, will stir the spirit of spring.

Seed catalog time!  So many choices, so many companies: a new one or two arriving every day.  They all boast and brag beautiful promises.  How not to buy one of everything?  I want to plant them all.  Their names are so inviting!

Curious names: Cosmic Purple (a carrot), Peppermint Stick (a celery), Dragon Tongue (a bush bean)

Fun names: Flashy Trout’s Back (a lettuce), Tumbling Tiger (a tomato), Honey Bear (a winter squash)

Colorful names: Pinkeye Purple Hull (a cowpea), Tasty Green No. 26      (a cucumber), Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch (a kale)

Serious names: Centennial (a sweet potato), Goliath (a pepper), Lancelot (a leek)

So many Seed Catalogs (2) (640x480)

Hybrid, Heirloom or Organic? So many options

  • Hybrid: varieties may produce more per plant and have some disease resistance
  • Heirloom varieties: may produce less per plant and be less disease resistant but the taste differences can make it worth it
  • Organic: grown by standards set by the USDA to be free of certain pesticides and processes

Fairy Tale Hybrid EggplantsHeirloom Fairy Tale Eggplants and Friends

Tips to Help You Choose

1st Read the descriptions and look for varieties that have won awards for taste.

2nd Look for vegetables that are described as good keepers if you want to store produce: (i.e. winter squash, potatoes, and onions).

3rd Decide if you want to buy organic, hybrid and/or heirloom seeds and plants.

4th  Buy from smaller heirloom seed  companies.  They preserve genetic diversity and have more varieties: Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, Territorial Seed Company, and RH Shumway’s.

Lastly, chose a different vegetable every season and order two varieties. That way you can compare how they taste and make sure you are not missing out on any new and exciting seeds. This also helps limit seed buying.

Have fun with the catalogs.  Allow them to chase away the winter while you dream your garden.

Barn in January (640x480)

And as you look at the catalogs, I'm sure you'll find some surprising names. I'd love to hear your favorites!

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