Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Provocative Enticements: Seed Catalogues

Our weather has been great the past couple of weeks! That is if you like balmy, spring-like days with temperatures in the mid-80's. It's a bit unusual and somewhat disappointing if you're a gardener who enjoys colder weather for the holiday season, though for me exceptionally enjoyable, even though the mosquito population is growing exponentially! Amazingly, I found myself mowing the yard Friday evening. Turfgrass has begun growing thanks to warmer weather but it's also a quick way to tidy lawn areas, corral fallen leaves, then shredding leaves into mulch. Fortunately for us, a mild version of winter appears headed in our direction for a visit.

For most of us, the holidays are hurried and stressful. We scurry about to search for the perfect Christmas gift, figure out travel plans (us or them), food to prepare, maximize comfort level in our home for family and friends, and the list goes on and on! Years ago, I decided I needed a simple way to remove holiday stress before "the festivities" begin, which I'll share with you now. No matter how busy you are, just STOP and take a day off, use it as your mental health day. Typically, I choose dreary or cold rainy days, as they are my personal favorites. Turn off the television, grab a pen or marker, then find the most comfortable spot in your home because it's time for a much-needed distraction. You'll also want to grab the ever-increasing stack of garden and seed catalogues which you've stockpiled over the past several weeks (it's okay, we're gardeners that's what we do). Soon you feel relaxed, stress-free, and dreaming of new spring flower and vegetable gardens.

Seed catalogues are filled with detailed, useful information for gardeners and reviewing them provides an opportunity to learn about new plant varieties available and figure out if they are a good match for our gardens. Perhaps you are searching for open-pollinated varieties of heirloom seed or maybe hybridized seed which are more robust? Most of you receive many seed catalogues beginning in October through the end of December. There are some good seed companies providing us with a plethora of seed varieties to choose from like: Seeds 'N Such, Totally Tomatoes, Jung Seeds & Plants, and Johnny's Selected Seeds, to name but a few providers.

In this gardener's opinion, two of my most favorite seed catalogues are distributed by the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed company. They have a couple of seed catalogues which I eagerly anticipate yearly; one catalogue, the Rare Seed catalogue (containing approximately 90 beautifully illustrated pages) is a quick go-to and easily utilized reference. But this gardeners' hands-down, all-time yearly favorite gardening catalogue is the "The Whole Seed Catalogue" also from Baker Creek which is known as the "world's largest seed catalogue", containing a whopping 530 beautifully illustrated, detailed, and informative pages. This catalogue is a limited-print edition and requires purchase at a cost of $15. Please don't think I'm a paid endorser for Baker Creek catalogues as this isn't the case but gardeners, this gardening enthusiast is simply stating if you have never experienced the pleasure of reading "The Whole Seed Catalogue" from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, cover to cover, try and locate or borrow a copy. Ask fellow gardening friends or neighbors who have one, you will not be disappointed and what a fantastic resource it is!

The Farmer's Almanac states the last frost date for our area is March 10th. Weather patterns are changing, becoming less predictable, so from the end of February to the end of March is the window of last frost opportunity. If you want to get an early start for spring planting, some gardeners start seeds indoors, a cold frame or a greenhouse. Starting plants from seeds is also economical since plants are more expensive to purchase. The sooner the better-having seeds on hand now will provide you with time necessary to grow seedlings and make them ready for transplanting. If you are new to gardening or have never germinated seeds before you will find information in seed catalogues useful for starting seeds, so when outdoor temperature begins warming and stabilizing, you can plant your seedlings in your garden. So long for now gardeners, let's go out and grow ourselves a greener, more sustainable world, one plant at a time!

If you have specific gardening questions or would like more information, send me an email: [email protected] or contact the Orange County Master Gardeners Helpline: (409) 882-7010 or visit our website: https://txmg.org/orange, Facebook: Orange County Texas Master Gardeners Association or Email: [email protected].


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