The Seed Catalogs Cometh

Monday night, as I walked from the train to my car, the wind was howling but the temperature clocked in at 67 degrees. Commuters, anxious to get to their cars, missed a little gift from Mother Nature. Alongside the train station I stopped to listen to a lone cricket, singing a belated song that would be more appropriate for August than early December.

The snow is surely coming, but for now it’s the 2013 seed catalogs settling down on my bedroom quilt that capture my attention. Perusing their pages before bedtime makes for sweet dreams. 

Four more catalogs arrived today — I’m up to 10 already and it’s only December. Today’s delivery included the behemoth 212-page glossy catalog from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Celebrating its 15th year in business, Baker Creek’s latest offerings include 1450 varieties of rare and unique veggies, flowers and herbs. The photography is stunning, with several full pages devoted to portraits of edibles. And there are recipes: eggplant cutlets, shaved Brussels sprouts with radicchio salad with toasted walnuts, bok choy steam buns, and much more.

Seed Savers Exchange offers 100 pages of heirloom vegetables, flowers and herbs. Diane Ott Whealy and Kent Whealy founded Seed Savers Exchange in 1975 when Diane’s grandfather gave her seeds of Grandpa Ott’s morning glory and German Pink tomato. Her grandfather brought the morning glory seeds from Bavaria when his family immigrated to Iowa in the 1870s. In years past, only members of Seed Savers Exchange had access to seeds from the SSE Preservation Garden. This year, the general public can order a limited edition of special varieties. If you haven’t heard of them, do check out their web site — fascinating history, intriguing seed offerings. 

In its 210-page catalog, Johnny’s Selected Seeds tempts gardeners with an outstanding collection of new and heirloom edibles and flowers for the casual gardener and for farmers’ market growers. All three of these catalogs serve as outstanding references and sources of inspiration for the gardening year to come.

Two smaller catalogs well worth checking out are from Dixondale Farms which is celebrating 100 years of onion plants and Totally Tomatoes

Dixondale Farms’ 10-page catalog features an assortment of onion plants, from Red Candy Apple and Ailsa Craig to Ringmaster and Walla Walla. What gardener doesn’t want to grow some fresh (and unusual) onions to taste-test in the kitchen? 

Totally Tomatoes’ name is a bit of a misnomer since the company offers a large selection cucumber, pepper, and eggplant seeds alongside its enormous assortment of tomato seeds and grafted plants. 

In the interest of stimulating the economy and providing our kitchen with fresh home-grown produce and cut flowers, I’ll be writing and revising my seed orders. Just as soon as I finish decorating the house for the holidays. 

— Nina Koziol


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