Seeds and dreams

“For gardeners, this is the season of lists and callow hopefulness; hundreds of thousands of bewitched readers are poring over their catalogues, making lists for their seed and plant orders, dreaming their dreams.”  – Katharine White, Onward & Upward in the Garden (1979)

I spend hours and hours, day after day, pouring over my seed catalogs, this time of year. Especially on the coldest days, the appeal of the colorful pictures of bright carrots, red melon flesh, brilliant purple cauliflower is most intense. It’s much like reading cookbooks on Yom Kippur, the most serious fast day for the Jews. And, of course, I skim the web and every vegetable and herb gardening site I can find. Here are my favorites for summer dreaming in the dead of winter – all organic and often heirloom, tailored to my heartland locale.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Seed Savers Exchange

Seeds from Italy: Taste the Difference (great varieties of garlic; all Italian seeds carefully grown and tested in Massachussets and the results cataloged in detail.  I learn many growing tips and best practices from this wonderful, annotated catalog. And I discovered rapini or broccoli rabe.) Seeds from Italy is the only seed nursery I know that gives small, kitchen gardeners as much status in ordering good seeds as large, commercial growers. Unfortunately, other seed nurseries give their best seed to big, commercial growers and the poorer seed to small, kitchen gardeners. Hurrah for Seeds from Italy!

Sand Hill Preservation Center: heirloom seeds and poultry (best heirloom sweet potatoes, great reading and amazing information about chickens and sweet potatoes!)

Mountain Valley Growers: for their many varieties of herbs

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds: for rare and hard to find seeds

Prairie Moon Nursery

And what are your favorites?

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