My stack of seed catalogs seems to grow each time I go out to the mailbox.
Burpee, Jung Seeds & Plants, Territorial Seed Company, Select Seeds, Pinetree Garden Seeds, Thompson & Morgan, Totally Tomatoes, Baker Creek Heirloom Seed, Miller Nurseries, Gurney’s, R.H. Shumway… have all arrived.
Park’s, Vermont Bean Seed, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Henry Fields, and probably a few others that I’ve forgotten about, are no doubt on their way to my mailbox and will arrive any day now.
How do these seed companies find me? I don’t order from all of them. Who could? But year after year, they faithfully send me their catalogs.
And year after year, I faithfully go through a ritual of sorts of seed catalog reading and ordering.
First I go through the catalogs that I know I will order from, reading them cover to cover, marking, circling, and tagging everything I want, everything I need. Then I’ll glance through the catalogs I don’t plan to order from ‘just in case’ they have something different that I must have.
I’ll get bleary eyed reading all the descriptions and looking at all the pictures in these catalogs. I’ll find plants that I know will make my garden the best it has ever been, that I won’t be able to garden, to live, without.
I’ll also look for my ‘tried and true’ varieties of flowers and vegetables that I must grow every year, or my garden will be incomplete.
Then I’ll figure out that all that I’ve marked and chosen is way more than I could possible grow in my current garden. I’ll briefly consider the option of turning my entire backyard into a kitchen garden (why not?) before I whittle my seed list down to the basics, and then add in a few new varieties to try before going online and filling out my orders.
I’ve been reading seed catalogs this way for years, decades actually, except the part about going online to order the actual seeds. (Remember I started gardening at a very young age.) ‘Back in the day’, I used to help my Dad go through the Burpee seed catalog. After we had agreed on the varieties to get, I’d fill out the order form and we’d mail it off in plenty of time to get the tomato seeds so he could start them inside as early as February.
I still look forward to the arrival of the seed catalogs and spending time reading through all of them. It’s a time when I can imagine a near perfect garden, a big garden, filled with vegetables and scented with flowers. I can see my garden already starting to take form in the markings and notes in my seed catalogs.
It really is going to be one of my best ever!