Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, etc., the holiday season is jammed packed with happy possibilities that, from Thanksgiving to New Years, seem endless.  However, once January 2nd arrives, the merrymaking is over for many people (Valentine’s Day doesn’t count ;-) ) and the only thing they can do is wait for the end of Winter/the beginning of Spring. I have discovered a cure for the winter blah’s in the form of gardening/seed catalogs.  I love to garden and nothing gives me more pleasure than to discover a few seed catalogs in my mailbox on a cold, snowy afternoon.  I can spend hours searching through the glossy pages that show hundreds of different types of vegetables, flowers, fruit trees, gardening equipment….

Once the catalogs have been initially perused, I then set about deciding what types of veggies seeds that I will need for the next growing season and compare & contrast different varieties in search of that perfect tomato/carrot/watermelon for my east Tennessee garden.  I also make charts to show me which catalog has the best prices.  Who needs television?  :-)

From 2005 to 2015, I lived in apartments and had been making due with small container gardens on my small apartment porches/balconies for the entire decade.  Interestingly, I managed to grow quite a lot of veggies & herbs in pots and, even now that I’m living in a house with larger gardening spaces, I still maintain many plants in containers on my sunny deck. However, nothing beats the effort of planting in the actual earth.  It’s great exercise!

What am I planning to grow this year?  Tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, green onions, carrots, spinach, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, zucchini, pumpkins, eggplant, watermelon/cantaloupe, sweet potatoes/regular potatoes, annual flowers, basil, parsley, chives…  Wow, that’s a lot! I hope my back can take it; this aging thing is not fun!  I also have a small orchard of apple trees, but I haven’t yet harvested any fruit. Maybe this year will be fruitful.  (Get it?!) 

  

Why do I do this?  Partially for the fresh produce; partially for the exercise & fresh air and for the mental & emotional therapy I garner from being outside and playing in the dirt.  Nothing gives me as much satisfaction when I garden…well, maybe knitting & chocolate!  <grin>

Here are websites for a few of my favorite gardening/seed catalogs:

Stark Brothers: A great source for fruit trees & plants http://www.starkbros.com/

Pinetree Garden Seeds & Accessories: Great selection & good prices http://www.superseeds.com/

Territorial Seed Company: Good selection + growing tips http://www.territorialseed.com/

Tomato Growers Supply Co.: Every tomato type you would ever want to choose from http://www.tomatogrowers.com/

Gurneys: Good selection with good deals www.gurneys.com 

Sow True Seed:  Offers non-GMO & Organic seeds; located in Asheville, NC www.sowtrueseed.com/

Select Seeds: Beautiful flowers, many of them for pollinators. www.selectseeds.com 

Seeds ‘n Such: Good selection and prices www.SeedsNSuch.com 

Park Seed: Seeds, plants & supplies www.ParkSeed.com 

I hope you get inspired to grow some plants for yourself; vegetables, herbs, flowers.  If you’ve never gardened before, I recommend starting out slowly.  Go to a gardening center and buy tomato plants, marigolds, basil, pansies to plant.  There are many gardening websites and books available to learn from. Enjoy!  

Pam, the Wooly Dragon