This is where the seeds for my 2011 garden will come from this year. These are the finalists out of many. I have read most of the ones that were sent to me and the ones above offer what I feel I am looking for the most in seeds that I will buy and use to grow food for us to eat. It is amazing that so many seed catalogs exist. As a new gardener here on Glen Road, I have to say that a lot of trees go into the production of all the seed catalogs that are sent out over the fall and winter months. Here’s hoping that most gardeners are also fans of recycling! When I say I am a new gardener, I really mean that I’m a gardener who took a very long break. My first gardening stint ended years ago when I left home to go to college and started back up when I moved to Connecticut and finally built a raised bed garden in 2010. So not so much a new gardener, but more of a gardener that took a very long break from 18 years old to 47 years old.
My parents and my grandmother were very big gardeners. My parents moved from a small farm town with a big garden into a bigger city, but they still have a nice size garden that they tend to even to this day. So, needless to say, I got into gardening from a very early age and being in the garden is one of my earliest memories. I remember being very young and digging up horseradish and grinding it with my grandma on the picnic table in the backyard. I remember joining the 4-H organization for gardening and winning a blue ribbon at the fair. I also remember crying when my father ordered my brother and I out on a Saturday morning to weed the garden.
Garden seeds were also one of my earliest entrepreneurial endeavors. Back in Iowa, 10-year-old kids like me at the time could request a box of seeds from the Burpee Seed Company and then work to sell them to friends, family and neighbors. In those days, the seeds weren’t sold for much and my profit margin was slim. At the end of the spring selling season, you put your unsold seeds and your proceeds for seed packages sold (less your profit) into an envelope and sent it back to Burpee. I remember the box showing up at the post office and my heart pounding. Inside were the usual seed suspects,: beans, cucumbers, lettuce, zinnias, spinach, to name a few. I would then harass any adult I ran into to buy seeds. I harassed adults to buy seeds that didn’t even have a garden. Some people were forthright and said “NO, GO HOME NOW BEFORE I CALL YOUR MOTHER!” and others were very kind and bought four or five packets. Knowing how bad I wanted to have a little money, I mainly remember my parents and grandma buying most of the leftovers and planting them in their own gardens. I’m still waiting for Burpee to contact me and give me my “Seed Salesman of the Year” award.
In looking for seeds for the 2011 garden, I made a very short list of what I was looking for in the companies I would use to buy seeds for the new growing season. Here is that initial list (in bold type) lifted from a little journal I keep. The journal is not like any diary of secret thoughts and loves lost, but more a journal of things I write down to remember later when I have the time to research and investigate. My memory is sometimes a little cloudy these days! Here is what I wrote:
- Seed companies I use should tell me that they have adopted the “Safe Seed Pledge”. I have read a lot about genetically modified seeds. I personally do not feel that a seed produced outside of normal reproductive methods is one that I want to plant, grow and eventually eat. I can’t find any proof that they are good for us. I can’t find any proof that they are bad for us. So until I find out one way or the other, I don’t want them in my garden. The “Safe Seed Pledge” tells me that the seed company is one that does not knowingly buy or sell genetically modified seeds.
- Seed companies I use should offer a large selection of organic seeds and be able to provide a copy of their organic product verification form. I most closely associate the term organic to be one that symbolizes that no chemicals were used in the raising and harvesting of the seeds I am using. Chemicals are not good for the environment and not good for me. I am sure there is much more to the term organic, but I always think about the non-use of chemicals. I don’t want seeds that aren’t organic because I don’t want the chemicals inside of me or in the environment that I live in here in Connecticut.
- Seed companies I use should give me detailed explanations on how to sow the seeds and what I should do and expect during their growing season. I am a perfectionist, which is not something I am particularly proud of in my life, but is something that I need to confess and accept. I want my garden to look great and produce to the best of its ability. I think that the plants are my babies and I want to do what is right for them. I could spend hours doing research on the internet, but who has the time. I want a company that spells it out for me in a concise manner. God forbid that I should do something wrong!
So you have seen the finalists in the picture above. Now it is time to announce the winner for seed catalog to use the most for Glen Road’s 2011 garden. The winner is…..
Johnny’s Selected Seeds! You can find them at www.johnnyseeds.com. Johnny’s Selected Seeds is a privately held, employee-owned seed producer and merchant headquartered in Winslow, Maine. The company was established in 1973 by Founder and Chairman Rob Johnston, Jr. Johnny’s mission is helping families, friends and communities to feed one another by providing superior seeds, tools, information and service. Their products include vegetable seeds, medicinal and culinary herb seeds, flower seeds, cover crops, farm seed and pasture mixes, fruit plants and seeds, and high quality, problem-solving tools and supplies. They carry sizes ranging from small to large to suit the needs of home gardeners and small growers as well as retailers and wholesalers. Johnny’s Selected Seeds also meets my three criteria in a big way. They adhere to the “Safe Seed Pledge”. They offer a wide variety of organic seed and have the proper certificates. The also give great “how to” information for this perfectionist. I have placed the bulk of my order with them and will share my goodies with you when they arrive.
Here’s hoping for a great 2011 garden here in Connecticut. I hope you will be with me every step of the way. I’m looking at the raised bed garden I built right now through the window and it is still covered in snow. Can anything grow there this spring and summer? Let’s hope so. It all starts with the right seeds. Do you have any seed or gardening advice that you want to share with the “new again” gardener here on Acorns On Glen?