More of my favorite seed catalogs. Don’t miss Part 1!
Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Another Maine company, Johnny’s is responsible for the development of over a dozen familiar varieties such as Diva cucumbers (I love these), Lipstick and Carmen peppers, and AAS winter Bright Lights chard. Maybe it’s due to their breeding program, but somehow their catalog seems more scientific than those from other companies. I like to keep it on hand just as a reference, although I’ve purchased seeds from them as well. They include a germination chart for each crop, showing the optimal soil temperatures for sowing. Since I time my spring planting by a combination of calendar and soil thermometer, this is very useful information. They also carry a big selection of organic seeds.
Vermont Bean Seed Company
With a name like that, you’d expect the catalog to be full of beans, and it is. There are heirloom dried beans, pole beans, bush beans, Romano and wax beans. But they also sell other vegetable seeds and flowers. In fact, this is one of the few catalogs that lists “days to bloom” for their flower seeds. I can’t begin to tell you how helpful that is, gardening as I do with barely a four-month growing season (and cool nights)!
Territorial Seed Company
Located in Oregon, this company specializes in seeds that are suited for their cool climate. Obviously, many of their offerings won’t do well in Colorado. However, they have an excellent selection of garlic at reasonable prices (my favorite is Music) and pages and pages of scrumptious-looking lettuce. I’m particularly partial to butterhead lettuce, and they carry a lot of choices. My favorite is Optima.
If you want the ultimate color photograph-filled catalog, this is it. These photos are almost obscene—eye candy for the winter gardener. I look at the huge tomatoes and peppers (Park’s Whoppers!), and plants buried under brilliant blossoms, and imagine them all growing in my yard. Unfortunately, mine will never look like theirs; they get that big partly because they were grown in South Carolina. Yeah. Make sure you look at the days-to-maturity information before ordering. Still, they have a wide variety of flowers, in particular, and I’ve happily grown my own bedding plants and perennials from their seeds.
In spite of the name, they sell other veggies as well, but the overwhelming bulk of the catalog is devoted to tomatoes. I am constantly amazed at the number of varieties, and how much they differ from one another. This is the only source I know of for Early Goliath, my favorite tomato variety. It seems silly to pay more for shipping than for the seeds, so I try to combine orders with some friends. At least tomato seeds keep well, so I only have to order every five years or so.
For a bit of help in deciphering seed catalog lingo, see last year’s post, Seed Catalogs.
What are your favorite catalogs? Why?