America Loves Seed Catalogs!
America Loves Seed Catalogs!
By: Bob Alexander
Seed catalogs that began arriving just after Christmas, tells me that the season is about to change. Marvelous scenes of warmer and sunnier days fill the pages of these vegetable wish books that come in the mail.
Gardeners all over America await their arrival with an expectancy that borders on agricultural madness. Normal men might get excited in anticipation of the next edition of a sports publication or magazines with slick center-folds. I go wild over photographs of naked yellow squash.
The first catalog arrived and on its cover was a photo of giant blueberries on one side of the page and a picture of green snow peas on the other. I was almost giddy as I opened the magazine and saw fingers of mouth watering asparagus and golden early sugar sweet corn ready to throw in the pot.
Cabin fever has gotten to most of us by now. It has been a tough winter for most of the country and even down around the Gulf of Mexico, the weather has been unusually cool. Seed catalogs have never been more welcome!
Viewing all the images of breathtaking fruits and vegetables, visions of having the best garden ever, suddenly appear. Farmers and gardeners are eternal optimists. They have to believe that this year's crop is going to be better than the year before.
Seed catalogs do much more than provide us with new seeds for planting. They give us hope that there will be better times; that we are going to leave winter behind and bask in the summer sun again
Besides multicolored shots of practically every vegetable imaginable, there are exotic flowers as well as fruit tree plants awaiting new homes all over the country. It's illegal to ship citrus trees to Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. This is to prevent the spread of Citrus Canker and Citrus Greening, both bacterial diseases that can kill seedlings and adult trees alike.
Planning is always a part of dreaming and home vegetable gardens are no exception. During the worst part of winter, I go to the table with a clean sheet of paper, pencil and a plastic ruler. This is when I really begin to watch my summer garden plot take shape.
Before I can make a roster of my summer vegetables, I have to lay out my plot of soil for early planting. Potatoes, lettuce and onions can be planted in the early spring. Here in the south I stick my potato eyes in the ground the first of February. In March the other seeds are buried under a light cover of soil.
The sun sets on the right side of my garden. I start my sketch with plants that grow close to the earth, like squash, cucumbers, onions, carrots and other short vegetables on the right side of my paper plot. Vegetables like corn and pole beans can't hide the afternoon sun from the smaller plants.
Next I draw in taller plants like Blue lake beans, Purple Hull peas and Okra. Tomatoes and peppers are next in the row for summer growing. I probably should keep different varieties of tomatoes in separate areas to avoid cross pollination, but it seems silly to come between a Rutgers and a Better Boy tomato. Let true love blossom.
Corn comes last in the draft of my garden. I usually plant four rows of a sweet corn. I'm torn between an old favorite, Silver Queen, or sowing something new like a yellow sweet hybrid. Lucky for me catalogs detail growing periods and when to plant.
Sadly, some of my old favorite catalogs are no longer available by mail. In today's economy the cost of sending a beautiful dream book to your home is not feasible for some seed companies.
The internet has taken over and if you are looking for something to grow in your back yard, you have to surf the web. Somehow it's not the same as relaxing with a cup of coffee and a brand new seed catalog.
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at: http://www.redfishbob.com http://www.bluemarlinbob.com
(ArticlesBase SC #1816986)