Sunday, December 30, 2007

First Seed Catalog of the Season

The first seed catalog of the season hit my mailbox on Saturday. Many years this has been the Totally Tomatoes catalog, but this year Jung Quality Seeds made it first. Having just looked at both websites, I noticed that they're both based in Randolph, Wisconsin, and are in fact part of the same company. So much for the race to be first; either way, they win.

This past summer I gardened in containers on my back patio; I currently live in a rented duplex and it isn't really practical to dig an in-ground garden. I was considering trying to get a plot in a community garden for the coming year, but it would probably be more sensible be to take advantage of an open invitation to continue gardening at what is now my ex-husband's house, where I lived and gardened between 2001 and 2006. It's got a 30-foot-long partially raised bed built into the slope of the back boundary of the property, gets quite good sun, and I'm familiar with the soil there. There are some perennials in the bed -- bee balm, phlox, joe pye weed, spiderwort, ornamental grasses, and daylilies -- but they are mainly toward the back of the bed and I just work around them in planting the lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers and summer squash that have usually made up the main part of my gardening efforts. Not having dug or planted the bed for the past two summers, I'm sure it will be a big job to clear out the weeds and spreading grasses.

If I have some real space to work with again this year, I will allow myself to play the gardener's favorite winter game: imagining the ideal garden, making lists of varieties, deciding between the tried and true favorites and beguiling newcomers. Over the years my favorite catalog has been Johnny's Selected Seeds, which comes from Maine and always offers a wealth of planting and care information with a nice selection of heirloom and organic seeds. All these catalogs are available online, but there is a much greater delight in sitting down with one or more printed catalogs and a pad of paper and a pen or sharp pencil and making list after list. It's a pleasant way to while away the weeks before it's time to get seeds started indoors.

No comments: