Category Archives: Buying seed

Seed catalog time

It’s February! With apologies to Andy Williams, I have to say that February starts the Most Wonderful Time of the Year for New England gardeners… we are but a hop, skip and a jump from spring now, and within the next month or two, it’ll be time to set up the cold frame and sow cold-season seeds outside, as well a start a few flats of flowering annuals indoors. I like to plant hundreds of annuals each year in various areas of my garden, and the only way I can afford such indulgence is to grow them myself from seed.

But first, I need to decide what I’m growing this year. That’s the fun part! Our coffee tables are strewn with thick magazine-style seed catalogs which have been arriving fast and furious in the past few weeks….nothing is better than sitting in front of a roaring fire on a cold February day, leafing through beautifully illustrated catalogs, planning our 2010 vegetable and flower gardens and putting together the annual seed order!

The Renee’s Garden catalog is particularly scrumptious this year, with wonderful photos and some great specialty seed collections designed for new gardeners, including “A Hummingbird Garden“, “Seeds for a Butterfly Garden“, and “A Native American Three Sisters Garden” to introduce you to the age-old concept of working with nature to grow healthy plants and crops.

I am definitely going to try growing the newly available yellow Zinnia Profusion‘ (shown above on the cover of Park’s Seed catalog). You cannot beat Profusion as a short (12″) zinnia that blooms its head off all summer for so little effort. I’ve used it in containers to bring butterflies up close to our patio, and it’s also excellent in garden beds to fill bare spots with pizzazz.  Pictured below is Zinnia ‘Profusion’ Apricot:

This year, I’ve decided to extend my “locavorous” shopping strategy and buy all my seeds from New England-based seed suppliers. As a locavore, I try to buy as much of our food from local farmers in order to support New England’s agricultural industries as well as help protect our region’s remaining open spaces for local, sustainable food production and habitat for declining wildlife species. Buying from suppliers who grow their plants in the tough climate of New England also means that their seeds should do well in my cold central Massachusetts valley garden.

So…..Turkey Hill Brook Farm’s 2010 seed orders will go to……(drum roll please)

Johnny’s Selected Seeds, which is an employee-owned company based in Maine, offering good quality vegetable, cover crop, herb, and flower seeds. They are a member of the Safe Seed Initiative, meaning that they do not buy or sell genetically engineered or modified seeds or plants.

Select Seeds in Union, CT, specializing in old-fashioned fragrant flowers, flowering vines, and hard-to-find heirloom annuals and perennials. Their seed collections include butterfly habitat gardens, hummingbird gardens and an old-fashioned fragrance garden that looks and sounds very enticing!

John Scheepers in Bantam, CT – nicely illustrated catalog for home vegetable gardeners, containing recipes, lots of interesting and useful garden tips, plus seeds for fragrant flowers and collections for habitat flower gardens.

So let the 2010 Garden Season begin! If you’re looking for me this weekend, I’ll be on the couch with a couple of sleeping dogs and a glass of wine, flipping through catalogs, making my list and checking it twice!  I’ll blog later on about what seeds I ordered and why.

Special Note: I have no business relationship with any of these companies other than as a happy customer. If you know of any other New England-based seed companies that you think belong on my supplier list, let me know!