Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Nothing excites a gardener's passions quite like seed catalogs. I think I've actually trembled a bit when pulling the first catalog of the season from the mailbox. This season, the first to arrive was Pinetree Garden Seeds, which arrived well before December. When I first started gardening, I requested every seed catalog I came across. That equates to... a hell of a lot of catalogs and a hell of a lot of waste. I quickly found that I needed to slim down my selection, not just to prevent the waste that comes from having stacks of glossy paper sitting around, but also in order to help keep my seed buying habit on budget and narrow my selection choices. Who can decide what to buy with 50 catalogs full of seeds, plants, and merchandise to choose from? Not me. The fruit and nut tree catalogs were apparently my attempt at masochism because I just don't have room for a large variety of trees. The flower catalogs were pretty to look at, but most of the flowers that I was interested in were edible, dye, or medicinal flowers that I could find in other catalogs, so they were a bit redundant.
After gardening for a couple of years and refining my garden plans, I now receive only four seed catalogs in the mail:
Pinetree Garden Seeds-- They often have choices for plants that I can't find elsewhere.
Seed Savers Exchange-- An amazing source of heirloom seeds for vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Their organization is on an incredibly important mission, and it's so vital for gardeners to support their work.
Bountiful Gardens-- Founded by John Jeavons who wrote the wonderful How to Grow More Vegetables book. Bountiful Gardens is a non-profit that helps to support Ecology Action, teaching people around the world how to feed themselves using sustainable (and often culturally important) methods. Their publications are extraordinary, and they have a pretty good selection of medicinal herbs.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds-- Again, they are a rich source of heirloom seeds with a gorgeous catalog. I've been on the fence about this one for a couple years, debating whether or not to stop getting this catalog, but it's just so dang perdy!
In addition to these catalogs, I also frequent Horizon Herbs online catalog. I don't get their paper version because I usually know exactly what I want with herbs and it's usually the variety closest to the wild herb.
I'm still looking for a great local (non-Monsanto based) seed source, so if anyone has any suggestions I'm open to them! Don't forget that trading seeds with other local gardeners is always a fulfilling and informative way to vary your seed selection.
What is your favorite source of seeds and what made you choose them?