Seed Catalogs

Nothing chases away the winter blahs like the arrival of the seed catalogs. After a few minutes paging through colorful images of an endless variety of exotic cultivars, you're startled when you look up to find that outside is still a frozen wasteland where nothing will grow for months. No better time, than, for hoping and dreaming! If you're not already getting seed catalogs, it isn't too tough to start; I believe that ordering something from Gardeners Supply Co. will do it, for example. Of course, you can also request a catalog from each company's website.

There are significant differences between different catalogs. Burpee's is a hefty tome—148 pages in 2011—that seems even bigger because every page is in full glossy color. As befits its status as the doyen of American commercial nurseries it proudly highlights a multiplicity of "new" and "exclusive" varieties, which might be exciting to peruse if you're in to that sort of thing.

Territorial Seed Company and Pinetree Garden Seeds also have nice color, but on newsprint so it's not quite as shiny. The photos are also a little less perfectly professional. On the other hand, both offer somewhat more actual text about the seeds on offer: about twice as many words, on average. Pinetree seems to be a little more informational and less salesmanly than Territorial, but the writers for all the catalogs do seem to have trouble resisting hyperbole when describing their wares. Oh well, I suppose if they weren't excited about em they wouldn't sell em.

Gazing over all the bounty available in potential (and so cheap!), it's hard not to get carried away. In moments you can construct an entire garden in your mind, lush and laden with delicious produce that will sustain you and your family all the summer long. Yes, winter time and the gardening is easy!