Thursday, January 29, 2009


This morning, I looked at Skippy's Garden, and realized with a shock that if I want to play with seeds this year I've got to get a move on.

Skippy lives in Boston. Apparently, their last day of potential frost is May 5. So she's planting 8-10 weeks ahead of that, which is...February! We live in Zone 6. Boston is in Zone Really Freaking Cold and Snowy (also Zone 6, through some USDA Hocus Pocus). Soooo...that means I'm late.

Ok. Ok. I can handle this.

Out came the seed catalogs, and Iain and I spent part of the afternoon saying profound things like, "Ooooo...that's pretty." At first, I thought I was going to have trouble selecting a catalog or two from the pile.

But actually, that turned out to be easy. Just check the address on the back. Yup. Yup. Many (many) of the seed companies who send you catalogs are actually owned by one major seed distributor in Wisconsin. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But if you think you're ordering Vermont seeds from the Great Vermont Bean and Seed Company - think again.

So I narrowed my shopping down to Burpee (which also owns Cook's Garden), Bluestone Perennials, Park Seed, and Pinetree Garden. Oh, and Stark Brothers, because they were so incredibly nice about the raspberries I sent to Miriam last year.

I've picked out a couple of fruit trees (apricot and cherry, for sure. I want fruit that cannot be purchased in stores or at the farmer's market), some blueberry and raspberry bushes, and a variety of flowers for the bed around the junipers. I also found a great system that will allow me to build a raised bed without tools or fuss. Yeah! I'm going to use it to cover up the spot where no grass will grow. So this weekend I'll be ordering seeds and a couple of cheap-o seed starting kits and the fun begins ASAP.

And last, but not least, I decided today to look into a rainwater cache system. Last summer we had to drip irrigate the junipers like mad. That's fine, but I'd like to use rainwater for that, if possible. Plus, there's a local tax credit for saving rainwater.

If you're thinking about buying seeds, one thing I'd recommend is that you check out Dave's Garden. It's an amazing site where people rate their experiences with seed companies. This is where I learned about Pinetree Gardens, a Maine company run by people who appear to be authentic New Englanders (ie, grumpy but really honest and hardworking). Also, the site can help you steer away from companies that don't do a great job.


SarahHub said...

Can you post pictures? Because I know I'll never plant anything I can't buy at Lowe's...

Miriam said...

We like Baker's Heirloom Seeds too. They have all sorts of heirloom, non-modified seeds. Exciting! We too need to get a move on. Especially since Will is gone for most of February...