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Saturday, February 1, 2014

GARDEN PLANS, VISIONS AND DREAMS

Time For Garden Plans and Dreams

Many gardeners have been inundated with year 2017 garden catalogs during the holiday season, and at least in our house, with the rush they've just piled up.

The bitter cold may keep you indoors but give your spirits a boost and think spring by digging out those catalogs and start planning.

Though the last frost date is months away, now is an ideal time to start thinking and getting a rough idea of this year's garden plans. Hopefully you've taken notes last season on what worked and what didn't in seed and plant selection, crop rotations,  and pest removal ideas.

Though you can buy what seed and plants you'll need at any Agway or farm supply store, if you're into heirloom seeds, new hybrids, or just want a great variety in which to choose, then catalogs are the answer and between now and the end of February is the time to get those orders in.

Below are a list of my favorite gardening catalog companies. They offer a wide choice for gardeners seeking organic and heirloom seeds and plants.

THE COOK'S GARDEN

This company specializes in seeds and plants for gourmet gardeners. A true kitchen gardener's inspirational catalog. Not only do they offer a wonderful selection of vegetables, herbs and flower seeds and plants, they give information needed on how to grow for best results. Offered is a nice variety of lettuce types and mesclun blends, very gourmet. Tucked in are some very tasty recipes to encourage you to try new things.

STRICTLY MEDICINAL SEEDS

Strictly Medicinal, located in the town of Williams in southern Oregon, is a small family run business that began in 1985. The Cech family started out growing gardens of diverse medicinal herbs, and being fascinated by seeds and ways to become self-sustaining, they grew into a thriving source for people to find seeds and plants for their own needs and interests. Here you can find seeds and live plants for medicinal, culinary and environmental purposes.

THE FRAGRANT PATH

This is a small company specializing only in seed orders. Don't expect a glossy, thick catalog. What they do is send a very personalized newsletter reflecting on their garden experiences with the seed they sell and a suggestion list of what is new. The seed isn't for the vegetable garden. Rather it is for annual, perennial, and biannual flowers, herbs, vines and flowering shrubs and trees. Great for those into fragrance or color themed flower gardens. Very quaint family company.


PINETREE GARDEN SEEDS

Pinetree Garden Seeds is a catalog with a bit of everything. They not only offer a great selection of vegetable and flower seeds, there is a section of foreign vegetables for the cultural gardener. You can try Asian, Continental, French Italian, Latin-American, and Middle Eastern varieties. Listed are your Spring bulbs, tubers and plants such as rhubarb, asparagus and strawberries. Cover crops, sprouting seed, ornamental grasses, and herbs are all here. What is really cool is they offer such fun things such as soap making and body care supplies, gift ideas, unique books, and of course any gardening accessory or tool you may need.

TERRITORIAL SEED COMPANY

A very well organized supply of organic, heirloom and rare plants and seeds. Each section has detailed educational information on the needs of each plant type, such as culture, disease, insects, harvest and seed specs. Loaded with what you may need in terms of natural fertilizers, irrigation, composting, disease and pest control. For those interested in preserving their harvest, there are plenty of supplies and how-to books offered. Just a wealth of information.

VERMONT BEAN SEED COMPANY

As expected, the Vermont Bean Seed Company has a variety of bean selections, but they certainly don't stop there. Catering to the consumer who seeks healthy food choices, they offer all you need for the environmentally conscious gardener. New this year is The Vermont Bean Garden Planner Software. They even offer a 30 day free trial. Based on your zip code, it becomes a personal tutorial for your own garden success.

BOUNTY BEYOND BELIEF

BBB Seed is a small, family-owned company located in Boulder, Colorado.  They provide high quality, open-pollinated, Non-GE (genetically engineered) seed. BBB Seed specializes in wildflower seeds, pollinator mixes, native grasses and heirloom vegetable seeds. They strongly encourage heirloom seeds to avoid the common trend of mono crops where only one seed type is used to produce a worldwide crop. We now know this type of growing weakens genetic variations that can withstand emerging pathogens and climate changes.

 SEEDS OF CHANGE

100% certified organic, this company is dedicated to help reconnect people with where their food comes from and how it is grown.  By donating organic seeds through a program called Sowing Millions Project, they've inspired many individuals to become passionate about growing their own food. Selection includes rare and heirloom seeds along with traditional, great for those into sustainable organic gardening and farming


NATIVE GARDENER'S COMPANION

Prairie Moon Nursery presents this guide for readers of all experience levels to learn about popular native plants and seeds.  Most of the species offered are plants that had once thrived across the Upper Midwest and Northeast regions of North America. Insects are very plant-specific in their needs.  People have to realize that to attract the birds and butterflies, that includes attracting insects as well.  This catalog is perfect for those who want plants for more than just an ornamental pretty flower.

GARDENER'S SUPPLY COMPANY

This is just a very fun catalog! Great for gift ideas for the gardeners on your list. This company shows you how you don't need a lot of space to enjoy a garden. Awesome ideas for container plants, bedding boxes and trellising to utilize small areas. Garden sculptures, gazing balls and bird supplies are all in there. Interested in composting or starting a worm bin, or maybe conserving water with a rain barrel?

GARDENS ALIVE

A catalog for the environmentally responsible gardener. Loaded with information and supplies on how to prepare and take care of your lawn and garden safely and responsibly. A must for the organic gardener or homeowner who desires a beautiful yet nontoxic lawn and flowerbeds.

WORM'S WAY 

 For those who want to garden any time of the year, here is an array of earth-friendly products to garden anytime, anywhere, all year round. Learn about hydroponics, which is gardening without soil using mineral nutrients solvents in water. This site supplies you with all your lighting needs, growing medias, supplements and tent systems.


Remember to take lots of pictures of your growing season kaleidoscope of color to carry you through the gray doldrums of winter.