January’s Seed Catalog Ritual

By Linda Wiggen Kraft

January is the beginning of a new garden year and time of the Seed Catalog Ritual. A time of dreaming, planning and planting those perfect gardens in the heart of a gardener, where gardens first need to grow.

The ritual is pretty much the same each year. A list of the seed companies whose catalogs I want to look at, a list of plants I want to check out and maybe grow from seed, and a list of plants I have successfully grown and want to grow again. My first choice for seeds is from companies that are committed to heirlooms, organically grown and non-gmo seeds.

I gather the lists, the pile of catalogs, my laptop computer, a cup of warm tea and a blanket. I find a comfortable spot where I can wrap the blanket around myself, sip my tea and look at the catalogs in paper or online. I first look at the printed catalogs. I skim each page and turn down the corners of pages I want to come back to. I go online next. I jot down the pages I want to come back to online as I continue browsing.

In this first part of the Seed Catalog Ritual, I don’t look for anything specific. It is a wide search and exploration of all the beautiful plants for flower and edible gardens. This wide exploration brings the feeling of unlimited possibility. A sense of awe and gratitude over takes me for the shapes, colors and tastes that are available from these little miracles of seeds. All we have to do is plant the seeds and this universe of wonder comes alive. Often hours and hours pass in this euphoria of plant possibilities as I look at the catalogs.

I then begin to look at the lists of plants I want to check out and ones I want to grow again. This begins the narrowing down of possibilities as I am brought back to the limits of space, climate, time and money. How much space do I really have, how much sun shines in those spaces, what can be planted in cool weather and what needs to wait, how much care can I give, how much money can I spend? These are all questions that I start to ask as I narrow my choices.

There are twenty different kinds of tomatoes that are all appealing, but I know tomatoes will grow in only a couple of places with enough sun. The squirrels leave the small tomatoes alone. I have three perfect trellises already in place. One tomato package of heirloom cherry seeds will do. My favorite flower to grow from seed is zinnia and my favorite zinnia is Queen Lime Red, a mixture of greens, yellows and pinks. Although I love most of the colors and shapes, this year I will only try apricot cactus zinnia and white polar bear.

I imagine each area of my gardens and what space for plants this year. I am adding more edibles into my flower garden, so I want ones that are first of all tasty, but also look good in my front yard. The yellow cherry tomatoes and ruby swiss chard fit into the color scheme. As I get more specific, it doesn’t take long to figure out what seeds I can realistically grow. I make my lists, send in my orders and let those seeds take root in my heart and mind as I wait for the time to plant.

Here are my favorite seed companies. They all have online catalogs. Some are only online. Additional online searches with bring up hard to find and other special seeds you may be looking for.

Linda Wiggen Kraft can be contacted at 314-504-4266 or visit www.creativityforthesoul.com.