When it’s cold, days are short, and winter seems like it’s never going to end, I frequently find one of the highlights of the season waiting for me my mailbox. It’s so exciting to discover treasured garden and seed catalogs among the junk mail. It confirms spring is really just around the corner.
Reading gardening catalogs like many people read novels, I find myself learning more than I ever thought I needed to know about every conceivable type of flower, vegetable, herb, fruit, ornamental plant, etc. Not only are the catalogs full of eye candy, they offer a wealth of practical information and great gardening tips.
There’s only one problem with all this perusing activity… I wind up wanting one of everything. I am a true gardening addict after all. The photos make the plants look irresistible, and being a faithful gardening optimist, I fall- hook, line, and sinker. Over time, I have developed a realistic eye and some restraint, but in my early gardening years I ordered lots of seeds and supplies. As a novice, there were mixed levels of success.
Having made all the usual mistakes and probably inventing a few new ones, I have learned the old-fashioned way- through hands in the dirt experience. An assortment of my early trial and error gardening mistakes: planting things in shade that need sun, locating plants in damp areas that hate wet feet, spacing annuals 2” apart, and the best of all- planting bulbs upside down. Never fear, as nature has a way of righting all wrongs, and after all is the ultimate authority.
The assortment of gardening catalogs and resources is ever expanding, with companies offering everything under the sun. Some even specialize in one particular type of plant- Tomato Growers Supply for instance. Important trends are emerging that support the return to gardening at its best: non-GMO, sustainable and urban farming, heirloom seed saving…
Because gardening and seed companies don’t routinely send out catalogs like they used to, it’s best these days to go on-line and search out the sources that you might have a particular interest in and request their catalogue. There is never a better time to enjoy some winter reading and plan the spring garden than now!
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