Guide to Seed Catalogs

Guide to Seed Catalogs

Alfrea Farming expert – Julie / March 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of year! Yes that’s right, it’s time to start making plans for your garden. It may be cold and gray outside but my table is full of color thanks to the beautiful seed catalogs I’ve received.

So how do you choose what to grow when the possibilities seem endless?

Here are 6 tips to Seed Catalogs.

1 – Not everything grows everywhere

Find out what plant hardiness zone you are in and learn what crops can grow in your area. Here in New Jersey, I’m in Zone 7.

2 – Grow what you like to eat

It seems obvious, but many newbie gardeners often overlook this and go for more exotic crops. Keeping a garden thriving in the heat of Summer requires some motivation. That mojo can be hard to muster if you’re not dreaming of the delicious dishes you plan on creating with your harvest.

3 – Buy from a reputable seed source

Those seeds sitting in your local hardware store might be a few years old leading to poor germination and a lack luster garden. If you do a quick search online for the best organic seed companies you’ll find some great options.

Some of the best seed connections on-line:

4 – All varieties are not created equal

Take tomatoes for example. Some varieties, especially heirlooms, can be the most delicious, but they can also be very hard to grow. They are more susceptible to disease and can crack and split very easily. Be honest with yourself. Are you willing to be give the time and attention an heirloom tomato may need or are you better off with an easier to grow hybrid? Read the seed catalog descriptions and talk to other local gardeners or farmers to see if they have any insight about what varieties will work well in your area.

5 – Assume 20% crop lost

Inevitably, poor germination, disease or pests will likely take out about 20% or your crop. That’s okay, especially when you plan for it. Order enough seed to cover any issue that you may encounter.

6 – Organic, treated, hybrid, heirloom?

It’s important to understand the terminology a seed company is using to describe their seeds. Make sure you find the companies definitions and understand what it is you are buying. No matter what seeds you choose, it’s important to remember, gardening is just as much art as it is science. No matter the outcome of your garden, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the land which you can use to improve your garden each year.

Cross reference Alfrea blog postings:

Happy Gardening!

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Our Land Sharing option helps people who want to rent a garden plot, find landowners to want their space put to productive use. By starting a garden share, you can:

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