Seed Catalogs: Porn for Gardeners

Seed catalogs have become so glossy and well designed, I’ve heard them referred to as garden porn.  With their full-color, close-up photography providing lusty views of their latest offerings, it might be an appropriate description.  But they are great resources, especially you’re clueless on where to begin.

Some seed catalogs provide amazing information about how to plant and how to harvest. Others don’t provide anything, except their seed prices. At our house, those are the catalogs that get recycled first. However, there are a few that become dogearred, covered in highlighter, and dirt stained.

My favorite catalogs include a couple porn-esque editions: Bakers Creek Heirloom Seeds and D. Landreth Seed Company are beautifully designed and offer incredibly helpful information.  When they arrive in my mailbox during the madness of the holidays, I longingly admire their slick covers.  But I won’t crack open their pages, choosing to save that joy for a snowy January afternoon.  With a simple pat, I place them on our buffet and wait for the appointed day.  New to our mailbox this year was John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds, which I already love.  Its delicate drawings and product descriptions are packed with details.

Companies that promote genetically modified seeds (GMO) get recycled immediately.  We prefer organic or heirloom seeds that would have been available when our grandparents or great grandparents were around.  We could buy seeds at our local coop or box store, which we’ve been known to do.  But there’s something about receiving seeds in the mail.  Its like the packets were selected just for me, by the companies who sell them.

Every gardener starts planning next year’s plot, almost as soon as they get seeds into the ground.  Which is why I’ve drawn an our garden on the computer, so I can modify the plan continuously.  Once January arrives and I begin earnestly reading and comparing varieties.  Adjusting my computer layout to accommodate more varieties or potential crops. Finally, when the planting balance is found, the gardening plan is finished, and seed orders are placed, I can set my seed starting calendar.

We’ll start our seeds in about 4 weeks.  I am so excited to get started that its hard to resist the urge to jump start a few things.  What little experience I’ve gained has taught me to be patient.  Spring will be here soon enough and I can get my fingernails dirty again.  Until then, I’ll keep turning those pages of opportunities and dream.

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