Winter Catalog Gardening

Thomas J. Koske  |  8/8/2006 12:08:08 AM

seed

Plan ahead early.

One way to garden in winter.

Thumbing through colorful catalogs and dreaming of the next season's harvest is one way to make winter seem a little warmer and move a little faster. Choosing and purchasing fresh vegetable seeds is one of the most enjoyable gardening pastimes, but you must start soon to get seed on time. Many transplanted crops will require at least 8 weeks of growing before transplanting if started during the cool months. Your Internet orders should get processed quickly and many vendors take phone orders with a credit card.

If you begin an Internet search with the words ‘seed catalog,’ you will get about three dozen sites to try, but be more specific in a search and get closer results. Many seed supplies have their catalogs accessible online. Many include many pictures as well descriptions.

Popular catalogs for Louisiana varieties include Twilley Seed, Stokes, Rupp, Burpee, Harris Seeds, Willhite Seed, BWI, and Johnny’s Select Seed. There are other smaller specialty retailers like Totally Tomatoes, Tomato Growers Supply, Filaree Garlics and others. Try searching for a topic like garlic, shallot, hot pepper, tomatoes, etc. A few seed companies also feature certified ‘organic seed, which is required for organic production.

Seed purchased from a dependable commercial seed company will provide a good start toward realizing your vision of bounty. Consult your notes about last season's varieties or promise yourself to start a garden log next season. With such records you'll know the germination qualities, vigor of plants and tendencies toward insects and diseases.

From this information you can determine whether one seed company is not meeting your needs or whether the varieties you have chosen are unsuitable for your area or gardening style. For example, if powdery mildew is a big problem on squash plants in your area, next year you may want to look for mildew-resistant varieties.

For varietal recommendations, check out the vegetable cultivar selections on this LSU AgCenter Web site or get the guide publication #1980 from your parish LSU AgCenter office. Public libraries usually can go to these Web sites and print out the information for you.

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