Thursday April 17, 2014

Catalogues about spring planting


Sitting here chatting with you today, I see three interesting horticultural –related items on our desk.  One is a maple syrup can, once filled with rich, delicious golden syrup, now filled with pens.  This maple syrup was given to us by a dear friend of ours, and it was tapped on his family’s farm.  Making maple syrup is quite a process; we’ll have to chat about that one day.  The second thing is a little garden plaque which once hung outside, but after a wild wind broke the hanger; the little ornament now sits inside to inspire me.  It says “To plant a seed is to believe in miracles”, and it shows an picture of a medieval monk, St. Fiacre, the patron saint of gardeners.  Seeing both of these things makes me think of being outside and enjoying the garden, but the third thing takes me there in a minute: our first seed catalogue from T & T!

A dear gardening friend told me a couple weeks ago that she loves going to the mailbox on a blustery winter day and finding a seed catalogue in the mail.  So do I and I hope she received the same catalogue!

Before we take a little tour through the pages together, I’d like to encourage you to get yourself on the mailing lists to get seed catalogues.  Not only do they keep you informed of what’s new for the coming season, but they are often full of great gardening advice.  And they are so good for our gardening spirits: we are always eager for “next year”.  Isn’t that what keeps us going through the long cold winter?  So log on to some of the well-known seed companies such as T & T, McFayden’s, McKenzie, and Stokes: most of them have the offer “ask for a free catalogue”!  So go for it!   Or if you’d rather focus in on something specific like herbs or heirloom seeds, you’ll find catalogues for that, too.

Now: let’s tour!  One of the first things I see in the catalogues is the offer of a special shipping price for ten seed packages or less: perfect for the small gardener who wants to try a few new things!  Glancing through the veggies, I see “Cool Breeze” cucumbers.  We always plant “Straight 8”, but someone gave us some Cool Breeze and they were great: they’re on the list for this year!  45 days and bees are not required for cross- pollination.

The horticultural group has a committee that does amazing work on the junior gardener program.  One of the junior groups this year sent in pictures of their garden plot, and several of us commented that the lettuce featured in one picture would make a great garden border.  I don’t know what variety they planted, but in the catalogue I see a neat variety called “Baby Star”, which is a cross between a Butterhead and a Romaine.  It is very dark green and looks like a beautiful rose made out of lettuce!  The description says the plants are compact and would be ideal for a small garden.  Maybe we can give it a try as an edible border!

I see they also have “Rainbow Mix Veggies” of interesting colored vegetables, in your choice of beans, beets, carrots, or lettuce.  This would be a nice way to get a variety in just one package!  

There’s so much more, but we’ll chat more about them another time.  Speaking of interesting seeds, I’m also looking forward to the Prairie Sun Seed Festival, coming up in February.  We got the most amazing bean seeds there last year and there were many fascinating things to see.

Gardeners always have lots to look forward to, don’t we!  Stay warm, dear friends, and have a good week!    



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