You guys! It’s happening! Each day as we drive up the road, inching closer and closer to the front of the mailbox, I think to myself, maybe there will be another one today, another treasure filled with amazing photographs and recipes for the best garden ever.
As I push the latch up with my thumb and pull the door open to reach in, my daughter is quick to ask if there are any new study guides today. That’s what my husband has termed the catalogs we get for his “hobbies” in the shop. They’re really just sales catalogs, but to justify their arrival on a weekly, almost daily basis, he calls them “study guides”. Now my daughter calls my seed catalogs “study guides”. I guess two can play this game, huh.
If you’re a gardener, you know what I mean when I say my heart skips a beat when the first seed catalog arrives, usually around Christmas. What a fantastic and welcoming gift, just as the weary days of harvest are starting to wear off! The frigid air blowing around outside definitely puts me in the mood to plan out the upcoming year’s garden. I curl up on the couch and start thumbing through the catalogs, marking and highlighting each of the pages that catch my wandering eye.
But here’s where it gets tricky. There are no less than seven catalogs in these photos and that’s not all that I have. (One is barely in the frame in the above photo.) Those are just the ones I chose to photograph because I loved the covers. See, that’s where they get ya…they make every image look so fantastic, that you’re sucked in without the blink of an eye! And you won’t care! You’ll wake up, half an hour later, to find yourself reading article after article about carrots, or micro greens, or the best cover crop! I know it sounds strange, but trust me it happens!
So, how can you choose the best seed catalog? Well, here’s the thing. There is no one catalog or company that’s the best. There are a lot of great companies out there and supporting multiple businesses only adds to the potential varieties available to you. I do have some favorites and they are in the photos I posted. I’ve linked to a few here, just so you can see what I’m talking about. I have no connection with any of them other than I love their companies and have ordered from them at different times throughout the years.
Seed Savers Exchange is a great place to purchase heirloom, untreated, Non-GMO seeds. Their diligence to save and provide heirloom seeds before they’re extinct is one of the things that first attracted me to them. And being located in Iowa, I feel like we’re neighbors, me being a Kansas girl and all.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is another company close to home. Their home base is in Mansfield, Missouri and I love the fact that they travel the world to find rare and endangered seeds. They offer nearly 2,000 vegetable, flower and herb varieties, so you definitely have choices when you look through their catalog or website! And the photos…they’re amazing!
Johnny’s Selected Seeds Catalog truly is a study guide with an overwhelming amount of information in the varieties they offer. Again, they provide customers with organic, non-GMO varieties, as well as non-organic options. I learn so much from this catalog, it’s almost like a free planting guide, with all the tidbits of knowledge they share. Seriously, the catalog is 240 pages and the majority of it is seeds and information about planting and growing. Just look at how much information there is on beets!
And greens! Now who doesn’t love a fresh grown salad! And SO many varieties to choose from!
With so many options, how could you possibly decide who to order from? Just start looking at a few and narrow down what seeds or seedlings you actually need to order for planting this year. Seeds don’t expire like that half empty gallon of OJ in the fridge. Stored properly, seeds can last for years! Yes, you read that right, years! I’ve had Contender green bean seeds in my freezer for five years and each year, they produce an abundance of fresh, delicious beans. I read an article years ago about storing your seed packets in the freezer to extend their life. I’ve been doing it ever since and had little, if any, trouble with my seeds germinating come planting time.
Does every seed last that long? No, but they last a whole lot longer than you might think. Seeds are amazing little guys and will do whatever it takes to reproduce their plant because come on, that’s what they were made to do!
So, do you have to order the smallest packet to avoid wasting extra seed? Absolutely not! If you find a veggie that you absolutely love, save yourself a few bucks and order a larger package. Seeds tend to be less expensive the more you buy and often times seed companies charge less or offer free shipping with a minimum order.
Think you can’t possible go through that many seeds? Talk to a neighbor or co-worker who’s interested in ordering seeds and go in on them together. Share those seeds, people! Sharing not only saves money, but gives you an opportunity to try a new variety that you may not have been able to before.
Do you have a favorite seed company?