Dreaming of seeds: Making the most of seed catalogues
How to make the most of your seed catalogue orders
It’s that time of year again and you likely have been doing a little day-dreaming as you cruise through the seed catalogues that have been arriving in the mail. It’s a great way to while away the winter hours and ponder next year’s garden.
It is easy to get carried away in your daydreams and forget, or worse, regret, your purchases later. Instead of aimlessly flipping pages ordering items that you may already have, here are our tips for getting the most out of your catalogue orders this year.
1. Keep a record of what you order every year. Note which company your ordered from, the variety of seeds, how they performed and your satisfaction with them. It’s a time taker, but keeping a gardening journal is a great way to remember what worked for you, what didn’t and what you enjoyed. Sometimes weather, planting locations and timing can affect seed performance so notations of these facts along with any obstacles you faced that year will also help you make an informed decision when ordering.
2. Proper planning. Sketch out your garden and keep a photocopy with your gardening information. Whether you’re planning a new garden or determining what to place in an existing garden space that needs filling, record the light that area of the yard receives and consider what type of soil is located there. Then, you can make a list of plants that meet your growing criteria and weed them down to the varieties you want to try this year. Vegetable gardeners will find it helpful to keep a history of where crops have been
grown in previous years in order to rotate crops and note which plants did or did not grow well together.
3. Know your zone and growing season. If you have a short growing season, which most of us do, remember that depending on the seeds you buy that you may need to start them indoors. Are you prepared for that? Do you have ample space for seed starting; sunny windows, seed trays and warmth? If not and you really want to grow these types of plants then you may need to purchase a grow light. If you are looking at perennials consider your zone, if you are a confident gardener you can try to push the limits but novices should heed zone recommendations to ensure success.
4. Make your wish list. Gather all of your catalogues and highlight or make a wish list of all the seeds you want from each one, then begin narrowing it down based on your budget and which varieties from which companies interest you most.
If you’re not receiving seed catalogues then you are missing out. They are a great way to stay on top of some of the new varieties that are being introduced to the market, the current trends, plant growing requirements and descriptions. There are some core catalogues that you just have to have, like T&T Seeds, Vessey’s and West Coast Seeds just to name a few, but some of the smaller companies have unique products that are well worth your time to investigate. Here is a list of some of Canada’s great seed companies. Check them out online or call them up and ask for a catalogue, don’t wait, start your planning now!