Tag Archives: seed catalogs

Seed Catalogs, Seed Catalogs, Get Your Seed Catalog!!

In anticipation of a great 2018 gardening season,  I have updated my list of seed catalogs on my website under the tab “seed catalogs” to include 38 companies. Note that many catalogs are free, just contact the company. I am starting to get seed catalogs in the mail but I usually wait until I have a quorum and then we sit down to chat. They say “buy me, buy me, I am new and better!” and I say “Yes, I want, I want, I want BUT do I have enough space? Do I have enough time?” And so it goes for weeks….

On the twelfth day of Christmas gardeners love to get…..

On the twelfth day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

a garden with good soil, perfect weather, and healthy plants! Merry Christmas!

On the eleventh day of Christmas gardeners love to get…

Espoma fertilizer!!

On the tenth day of Christmas gardeners love to get…

seed catalogs, to order seeds, plants, and gardening accessories!

On the ninth day of Christmas gardeners love to get…

to go to all of the gardening events, lectures, and workshops throughout the year in the Washington DC metro area.

On the eighth day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

American Horticultural Society‘s bone china floral mugs!

On the seventh day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

vertical structures and containers from local independent garden centers.

On the sixth day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

membership to the Garden Conservancy, the 2018 Open Days Directory, and the book of six Open Day tickets for 2018.

On the fifth day of Christmas gardeners love to get … an Earthbox.

On the fourth day of Christmas, gardeners love to get …

tickets to the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show in March 2018.

(image courtesy of GMR Design LLC)

On the third day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

gardening gloves, especially a pair of Foxgloves!

On the second day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

a Hudson Valley Seed Company 2018 Calendar.

 

On the first day of Christmas gardeners love to get . . .

tickets to the Virginia Historic Garden Week in April 2018!

 

On the eleventh day of Christmas gardeners love to get…..

On the eleventh day of Christmas gardeners love to get…

Espoma fertilizer!!

On the tenth day of Christmas gardeners love to get…

seed catalogs, to order seeds, plants, and gardening accessories!

On the ninth day of Christmas gardeners love to get…

to go to all of the gardening events, lectures, and workshops throughout the year in the Washington DC metro area.

On the eighth day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

American Horticultural Society‘s bone china floral mugs!

On the seventh day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

vertical structures and containers from local independent garden centers.

On the sixth day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

membership to the Garden Conservancy, the 2018 Open Days Directory, and the book of six Open Day tickets for 2018.

On the fifth day of Christmas gardeners love to get … an Earthbox.

On the fourth day of Christmas, gardeners love to get …

tickets to the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show in March 2018.

(image courtesy of GMR Design LLC)

On the third day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

gardening gloves, especially a pair of Foxgloves!

On the second day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

a Hudson Valley Seed Company 2018 Calendar.

 

On the first day of Christmas gardeners love to get . . .

tickets to the Virginia Historic Garden Week in April 2018!

 

On the tenth day of Christmas gardeners love to get…..

On the tenth day of Christmas gardeners love to get…

seed catalogs, to order seeds, plants, and gardening accessories!

On the ninth day of Christmas gardeners love to get…

to go to all of the gardening events, lectures, and workshops throughout the year in the Washington DC metro area.

On the eighth day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

American Horticultural Society‘s bone china floral mugs!

On the seventh day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

vertical structures and containers from local independent garden centers.

On the sixth day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

membership to the Garden Conservancy, the 2018 Open Days Directory, and the book of six Open Day tickets for 2018.

On the fifth day of Christmas gardeners love to get … an Earthbox.

On the fourth day of Christmas, gardeners love to get …

tickets to the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show in March 2018.

(image courtesy of GMR Design LLC)

On the third day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

gardening gloves, especially a pair of Foxgloves!

On the second day of Christmas gardeners love to get …

a Hudson Valley Seed Company 2018 Calendar.

 

On the first day of Christmas gardeners love to get . . .

tickets to the Virginia Historic Garden Week in April 2018!

 

Updated Source of Seed Catalogs for Upcoming 2017 Gardening Season!

seed-catalogsI updated my list of companies that produce seed catalogs on my seed catalogs tab. Note that a lot of catalogs are free (check their website), educational, and so visual — a great way to see the possibilities for this year’s growing season!

 

Seed Companies that mail print catalogs (online companies are listed at the end)

Adaptive Seeds http://www.adaptiveseeds.com

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed http://www.rareseeds.com

Botanical Interests http://www.botanicalinterests.com

Burpee http://www.burpee.com

Fedco Seeds http://www.fedcoseeds.com

Harris Seeds http://www.harrisseeds.com

High Mowing Seeds http://www.highmowingseeds.com

Hudson Valley Seed Library http://www.seedlibrary.org

John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds http://www.kitchengardenseeds.com

Johnny’s Selected Seeds http://www.johnnyseeds.com

J.W. Jung Seed http://www.jungseed.com

Kitazawa Seed Company http://www.kitazawaseed.com

Park Seed http://www.parkseed.com

Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden Supply http://www.groworganic.com

R.H. Shumway http://www.rhshumway.com

Seeds of Change http://www.seedsofchange.com

Seed Savers Exchange http://www.seedsavers.org

Seeds from Italy http://www.growitalian.com

Select Seeds/Antique Flowers http://www.selectseeds.com

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange http://www.southernexposure.com

Sow True Seed http://www.sowtrueseed.com

Stokes Seeds http://www.stokeseeds.com

Territorial Seed Company http://www.territorialseed.com

Tomato Growers Supply Company http://www.tomatogrowers.com

Totally Tomatoes http://www.totallytomato.com

Urban Farmer http://www.ufseeds.com

Vermont Bean Seed http://www.vermontbean.com

Online Seed Companies

(companies that do not produce print catalog, order from web site)

American Meadows, Inc. http://www.americanmeadows.com

Renee’s Garden http://www.reneesgarden.com

Sample Seeds http://www.sampleseeds.com

You Can Grow Mache!

macheMache is simply a lettuce that likes cold weather. Easily grown from seed, mache is started in the autumn and allowed to grow during the winter until it gets too hot in the following spring and bolts (flowers). Like a bib lettuce, mache is a sweet, buttery tasting rosette set of leaves, low to the ground. The leaves are so sweet that a simple drizzle of vinaigrette is all that is needed for a salad.

Although mache leaves are starting to appear in the produce section of grocery stores, it is in fact an “old” edible. The French have been cultivating it since the 17th century, which is probably where Thomas Jefferson learned of it during his visits to France and started to grow it at Monticello. Also known as lamb’s lettuce and corn salad, mache is available from most seed catalogs that offer vegetables and lettuce.

I started my seeds at the end of August in large plastic containers on the deck because our Virginia August is so hot and dry that I wanted to be able to water consistently and easily with a watering can. Once the seedlings came up and the weather cooled down in October, I moved the transplants to a garden bed. This picture was taken in late January after many snow showers, icy rains, and temperatures in the teens. It will grow bigger as temperature and day length increases. I have heard it can tolerate zero degrees and I like the fact that I don’t need to cover it with a plastic hoop. Mache is very nutritious, it has more omega 3 than any other leafy green except for purslane and it contains lutein (promotes eye health). It is high in vitamin A, C, and zinc, and provides almost as much iron as spinach but does not contain spinach’s oxalic acid (oxalic acid interferes with calcium absorption). Don’t forget to include a package of mache seeds with your seed order this year. You Can Grow That!

You Can Grow That! is a collaborative effort by gardeners around the world to encourage others to grow something. Gardeners usually post articles on their blog on the fourth day of the month (fourth day, four words: #1: You; #2: Can; #3: Grow; #4: That). Click on the logo below to read more posts.

Youcangrowthat

GMO or GE Seeds? What’s the Difference?

GMOI love seed catalogs. Reading them is an easy, simple way to learn about growing plants and new plants. I grow many of my edibles from seed; it’s fun, economical, and rewarding. But I am not willing to pay extra for the “non-GMO” or “GMO-free” claim I see on almost every catalog now. Even more importantly, seed catalogs should make it clear that they are offering non-GE seed, which isn’t even available to the home gardeners anyway so they are not really “offering” any more than the next seed catalog.

GMO stands for “Genetically Modified Organism.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a GMO is “an organism produced through genetic modification.” Genetically modified organisms can occur naturally or can be created by people through traditional breeding methods. For example, some plants will produce variegated leaves on their own, a desirable characteristic. Or some people will breed a plant in their backyard for a particular trait. The Mortgage Lifter tomato, an heirloom, was created when a person choose plants that had large tomatoes and bred them together to make even larger tomatoes.  The resulting plant was so good, he was able to sell the seedlings and pay off his mortgage. Many of the “new” plants for the year are bred by companies for particular characteristics, for example, most of the new flowering annuals are bred for particular flower colors.  The newest petunia flower color was created by modifying genetics from parent petunias to create a hybrid that produced a particular new shade of pink.

GE stands for “Genetically Engineered,” i.e., an organism that was produced through genetic engineering. According to the USDA, genetic engineering is the “manipulation of an organism’s genes by introducing, eliminating, or re-arranging specific genes using the methods of modern molecular biology, particularly those techniques referred to as recombinant DNA.” New plants are produced by combining the DNA of a plant with something else that is not related and/or is not sexually compatible. These combinations would not normally occur in nature. For example, corn seed modified with a soil bacterium to protect the corn from corn borers or soybean that is herbicide resistant. These are human creations that can only occur by scientists, in labs, with special equipment. In our country, this is done with agricultural crops, not the seed or plants that home gardeners use.

Technically, the USDA definition of GMO is broad enough to include GE. What many people object to are GE crops; they are concerned about safety and long term effects. There are no safety concerns with genetically modified organisms so it is unfortunate that many seed catalogs use the term GMO when they mean to say GE. Seed catalogs should be clear:  they are not selling GE seeds; they are selling GMO seeds if they are selling hybrids, including open pollinated hybrids. In many of my catalogs, on one page it says “GMO free” and “we never sell genetically modified seed” yet on the subsequent pages it says “a decade in the breeding,” or “hybrid”, or “the result of a lifetime of fine breeding.” Breeding means you are working with genetics to create a desirable trait so you have genetically modified the organism but this does not mean you have created something dangerous and unsafe. It means they used traditional, horticultural practices, not recombinant DNA of a plant and a non plant.

Another point: grafted plants, such as grafted tomatoes and grafted apple trees are not GMO or GE. They are the union, a physical union, between two plants. It is a simple process of placing a wounded or the open wounds of two plant parts together and letting the tissues heal so that the cells fuse together. This is a very old horticultural practice that is done manually. A grafted plant takes advantage of what the root stock, the ground part, has to offer (maybe resistance to nematodes) and what the top or scion has to offer (delicious fruit). Even the new Ketchup ‘n’ Fries, a grafted union of a tomato and a potato plant, is not a GMO or a GE. But more on grafted vegetables in a future article, stay tuned!

The following graphic was created by The Chas. C. Hart Seed Co., http://www.hartseed.com

GE Free Semantics

 

New Veggie and Flower Varieties for 2015 on National Garden Bureau Site

Butterscotch, photo courtesy of the National Garden Bureau

Butterscotch, photo courtesy of the National Garden Bureau

It is great fun to flip through seed catalogs and dream of enticing veggies and beautiful flowers for the upcoming growing season.  I usually create list after list of plants I want to grow, searching for ones I had read about in the past year or searching for qualities such as “cold hardiness,” “heat resistant,” or “attracts beneficial insects.” Because I don’t receive every catalog (there are so many), I often turn to the National Garden Bureau (NGB) website to learn of more varieties.  Founded in 1920, the NBG is an Illinois-based, non-profit organization. Its mission is to improve the quality of life and the environment through increased seeds and plants. Individual and corporate members engaged in the production and/or sale of horticultural products for home gardeners pay dues to support the NGB. The web site lists more than 70 members, retail and wholesale.

Arugula Dragon's Tongue, photo courtesy of the National Garden Bureau

Arugula Dragon’s Tongue, photo courtesy of the National Garden Bureau

Each year, the members can list their new varieties through NGB. As of this week in December 2014, there are 45 “new for 2015” vegetable varieties and 62 “new for 2015” flower varieties. For each plant there is a short description, cultural requirements, and the member organization offering the seed (although it may be wholesale in which case you would have to contact them for a retail outlet). Note that “new” means new to that company, not new to the market. For example, Arugula Dragon’s Tongue is listed as new for 2015 and is offered by Botanical Interests but it is not new to me, I have seen it in the Park Seed catalog. Butterscotch is new, it is a mini butternut winter squash developed by Johnny’s Selected Seeds. The NGB also is a great way to learn about seed companies — R.H. Shumway, Totally Tomatoes, and Vermont Bean Seed were new to me so I added them plus a few more to my “seed catalogs” page/tab on my blog at http://www.pegplant.com.

Burpee's Costa Rican, a type of sweet pepper, photo courtesy of the National Garden Bureau

Burpee’s Costa Rican, a type of sweet pepper, photo courtesy of the National Garden Bureau

There are many more features on the NBG website including plants of the year. Each year they select one annual, one perennial, and one edible as plant of the year because they are popular, easy to grow, widely adaptable, genetically diverse, and versatile. For 2015, the plants of the year are: coleus (annual), gaillardia (perennial), and sweet peppers ( edible). Sign up to receive NBG’s e-mails and expect to hear more from them on these plants next year!

Get Your Seed Catalogs Now and Plan for Next Year!

Decemberseedcatalogs2014 001Over the Thanksgiving weekend I had the honor of being a guest on the Garden America radio show, formerly known as GardenLife. Garden America is a nationally syndicated, live talk show hosted by Sharon Asakawa, John Bagnasco, and Bryan Main. They are in San Diego but Sharon had read my blog and contacted me so we arranged for me to be called in on a Saturday morning. Sharon, John, Bryan and I talked about growing vegetables, seed catalogs, and lessons learned from my 2014 gardening season. One of the points I made was that many seed companies have produced their catalogs for the 2015 growing season and are either available now or will be in a few weeks. Most are free, full-color resources that describe common edibles and the requirements for growing them from seed. Among the catalogs, specific details such as average seed life, insect problems, and germination rates may or may not be mentioned so I suggested that people contact several companies and get a few catalogs to compare and contrast the descriptions.

lettuce

lettuce

Keep in mind that catalogs lists the plants in alphabetical order, but nature does not. The first lesson in edible gardening is to learn which plants prefer cool temperatures and which plants prefer warm temperatures. Re-arrange the plants in the catalogs by cool and warm (the catalog should indicate this but if not look at your other catalogs). If you had two copies of one catalog, you could cut and paste and re-arrange them. For a list of seed catalogs, check out my page/tab entitled “seed catalogs” at the top of my blog site.

spinach seedlings

spinach seedlings

The other point I made on the radio show was that many times, people new to gardening are intimidated because they think they have to dig up the sod in the backyard, build raised beds, or install an indoor lighting system. There are some plants that will grow from seed in a simple container, outside.  The containers can be used pots from plants you have already bought at the nursery or new, as long as they have drainage holes. Some herbs and veggies can be grown in pots with as little as a six-inch depth. The plants listed below will grow easily from seed started outside, using potting soil from a hardware store or nursery. They are not particular about water fluctuations nor are they heavy feeders. The cool season for us in Virginia is end of March to beginning of May, sixty degrees to low seventies. The warm season is after the average last frost, which is around Mother’s Day, low seventies to eighties.

Cool season, six-inch depth

Chives, Cilantro, Lettuce, Radishes, Scallions, and Spinach

Cool season, twelve-inch depth

Broccoli raab or rapini; Carrots, baby; Dill, Kale, Mibuna, Mizuna, Mustard, Mache, Nasturtium, Pak choi, Peas, Swiss chard, and Tatsoi

radish

radish

Warm season, six-inch depth

Basil, Chives, Lemon balm, Radishes, and Scallions

basil

basil

Warm season, twelve-inch depth

Beans, bush; Carrots, baby; Nasturtium, and Swiss chard

If some plants are listed in both cool and warm season, it is because they can tolerate both if slight adjustments are made such as cooling them down in the summer with morning sun and afternoon shade or starting new seed again throughout the gardening season. For more information on the plants, consult your seed catalog. Pick a few from this list that you are most interested in eating and order the seed packages for next year. To save on costs, find a seed buddy so you can share the seeds from each packet. You too can grow an edible garden!