The first seed catalog came the other day. Thank goodness it didn't get tossed in the recycle along with the deluge of other catalogs that have been gunking up my mailbox. I've just had a flashback to when I was very young, this will date me, and the Sears Wishbook came. I pored over every page of the toy section wishing for stuff that Santa could bring me. Well, that's how I am now when a favorite seed catalog comes. Late yesterday, as the Mayacoba beans (from Rancho Gordo) were simmering on the stove for dinner, I plunked down on the loveseat in the kitchen (yup, just about in the kitchen), my honey presented me with a glass of wine, and I dove into the Fedco catalog.
I love reading this catalog. It's not one of those glossy things with lots of pretty tempting photographs, which are all too often misleading - just 'cause it's pretty doesn't mean it's tasty. (Not that I don't enjoy reading those catalogs too!) The Fedco catalog is old fashioned, folksy fun. It's full of fabulous drawings and graphics and lots of good information. Many of the seeds are organically grown and many of the seeds come from small growers and they do not sell GMO seeds. Actually, I think they don't sell any seeds, GMO or not, from companys that produce GMO seeds.
Fedco first came to my attention when I read about Piracicaba broccoli in an article by Barbara Damrosch. I had to try the broccoli, so as soon as their new catalog came out I ordered up, along with a few other goodies such as the Golden Chard that I've been enjoying for months now.
Anyway, I started by reading the letter to customers. One very interesting tidbit from that letter is that some varieties are not being offered this year because wholesalers could not find growers for certain crops. Why? Because of the ethanol boom. And, this lust for ethanol crops is also driving up the cost of seeds, not just commodities, but the seeds that you and I buy for our own gardens. Which brings me to another thing that I like about Fedco seeds, you can buy small quantities of seeds. I try to grow a little bit of a wide variety vegetables so I don't need big packets of seeds.
Well, I managed to keep my fling with Fedco pretty short. I skimmed over sections that I didn't need to expand my collection of. No beans, no corn, no peas, cucumbers, melons or squash. You would understand my ability to resist temptation if you saw my box of seeds! No carrots. Oh, beets, how about some of the Golden Grex. Rat-tail radish, gotta grow those again! No onions, spinach, lettuce, or greens. No wait, Asian greens - Senposai sounds good. No brassicas (plenty of Piracicaba seeds left), but... kohlrabi, can't resist the Gigante Kohlrabi. Celeriac.. haven't tried that in years.. Diamante Celeriac into the cart. Eggplant, I need to find an eggplant that will produce in my cool summer climate - give Diamond a try. No peppers. Aaah, Tomatoes, need to replenish the Aunt Ruby's German Green. Gotta try the WOW! cherry tomato that is better? than sungold and open-pollinated to boot. And one more, let's try a new paste tomato - Blue Beech. OK that's it. I placed my order last night before I could be tempted to add more. Besides, a couple of my choices were in short supply and the catalog urged me to order early!