Next to actually gardening, I enjoy going over the spring seed catalogs as they arrive. It certainly helps beat the winter blues and it’s never too early to start planning for next year’s garden.
Here are a few things I’d like to share from the catalogs I’ve been browsing through the last few days, including a great sale.
Yes, Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Co. is offering 50% off everything in their catalog, including online sales. But you must hurry, as marketers like to say, the offer won’t last (you must order by 2/10/2016). I’ve taken advantage of this offer before and I’ll tell you it’s a good way to get some items on the cheap.
New This Year
I don’t know how they keep coming up with new items in these seed catalogs, knowing how long it takes to breed new plants. But they do and they’re worth a look. Usually, plant breeders are trying to improve on taste, yield, disease resistance and even appearance.
Burpees is one of the leaders in plant breeding and have come up with a new eggplant, “Meatball Hybrid,” which is being hailed as a meat substitute, that is, it is filling and has the texture of meat without the fat or calories. They’ve come up with a new tomato to serve with it, “Madame Marmande Hybrid.” My mouth is watering as I look at the picture of this combination being served with chives sprinkled over top.
Burpees is also offering a new blueberry, called “Razz,” which is hardy to zone 4 and has a hint of raspberry flavor to it. While you’re at it, check out Sweet Kiss, a patio type strawberry that produces a lot of berries.
I’ve really come to like Johnny’s Selected Seeds. They’ve been around now since 1973. I feel confident that everything they sell has been tested not only in their test plots, but by other gardeners and market growers. If you’ve had trouble growing anything in the garden, especially crops like cauliflower and Brussel sprouts, check out their catalog. They offer a large selection for different growing conditions and provide detailed growing instructions.
New this year from Johnny’s is a basil called Elidia, a container basil that also will do well in a raised bed garden. They’re also offering a new strawberry, Albion. Albion is a hardy strawberry with good disease resistance and fruits the first year, according to Johnny’s. Fidelio parsley is another newbie to check out. They say it’s a compact plant with large leaves for harvest. And if you’re looking for a smaller spaghetti squash, a “personal size,” look no further than Angel Hair. This new variety of one of my favorite vegetables is excellent for a one or two person household. I suspect it was bred to fulfill a demand for a smaller variety of spaghetti squash.
Seeds in bulk
If you’re growing for the farmer’s market or need a good deal on a larger quantity of seed, take a look at the 2016 HPS catalog. I like to grow about 100 Celebrity tomato plants for myself and to give away. I’ve found HPS has the best deal for the larger quantity I need. They also have some new products this year, including Spineless Perfection zucchini; Artwork Hybrid, an AAS winning broccoli, and Hestia Hybrid Brussel Sprouts, also an AAS winner. If you’re new to AAS, it stands for All American Selections. I’ve found these vegetables really do live up to the hype. The AAS varieties I’ve grown, which have included Celebrity tomato and Jasper cherry tomatoes, have all been prolific producers of diseased-free fruit.
Well, I hope this has stimulated your desire to get started gardening, at least on paper. If you have any suggestions for new varieties or other comments, please leave them below.