Dream­ing of seeds: Mak­ing the most of seed cat­a­logues

How to make the most of your seed cat­a­logue or­ders

Ontario Gardener Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Ta­nia Mof­fat

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!

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