Thursday, December 29, 2011

December Reading: Seed Catalogs I Love

At the end of December, I think I get more excited about the first seed catalogs arriving than opening presents. It makes winter not seem so long, to think that I can already start planning the garden (as if I had not started already, I say).

So far, I have received catalogs from Baker Creek, Johnnie's, Bountiful Gardens, and Guerney's. I love receiving catalogs because I can compare easily, circle items, and make notes in the margin. However, most seed companies not only have websites but have the exact catalog available as a PDF online. In the case of insanely beautiful catalogs like Baker Creek (below), seeing the catalog is always a treat. They feature full-color, vibrant images of many of the fruits and vegetables available.

So here's my take on the catalogs so far:
  • Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds - all heirlooms; lots of new and odd varieties; the most beautiful catalog around. I also love that they organize their tomatoes by color. Go straight to the PDF catalog here.
  • Johnny's Selected Seeds - your best option if you are planting a large space and want good seeds (including many organics and in pellet form) in bulk; good selection of cover crops; unsurpassed for selection of greens and green mixes; great options for northern gardeners (they are based in Maine). We mainly order our supplies like row covers here.
  • Bountiful Gardens - they sell heirloom, untreated, and open-pollinated varieties; their focus on sustainable agriculture is inspiring & they offer many edible perennials (like Good King Henry and Seakale) you won't find many other places; also hard-to-find edible tree and shrub seeds; grain seed in manageable amounts; great book and paper selection in the back.
  • Guerney's - an old standby, Guerney's has your classic varieties and, as my mom always points out, they have quite a few good options for norther climates. They offer quite a few plants/starts--so not just seeds--including trees and dwarf tree varieties. They also almost always have insanely good sales going on. But they don't ship potatoes to Montana!

I will likely post what seeds we actually buy soon...