The 2023 garden, seed and supplies catalog arrived weeks before the 2022 garden was completed. I tried to ignore the catalog, but when it was recommended to me (by her wife Nancy), I saw some ideas for gift giving.
The warm autumn didn’t allow us to complete the gardening tasks such as final weeding, harvesting the leeks, and raking the parts of the garden that were still raking until the first week of December. That’s when we usually start preparing for Christmas.
I usually don’t start digging through the catalog until after Christmas (and continue until Groundhog Day) in preparation for next spring. As a service to our readers, we’ve spent some time picking some of our favorite highlights. But keep in mind I haven’t fully read it yet.
Fedco takes a lot of time for several reasons. First, it comes as his two separate publications: 176-page Fedco Seeds and Supplies and 72-page Fedco Trees, Shrubs and Perennials. Both are black and white on basic newsprint and aren’t as flashy as their competitors.
In addition to great seed, perennial, woody and bulbous options, the catalog is filled with stories, descriptions, editorials and pen-and-ink drawings that will keep you entertained for days.
A short article in the tree catalog titled “The Good, the Bad, the Knotweed” says, “The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 93.4% of the world’s oceans,” according to the Gulf of Maine Institute. . A changing climate means trees that aren’t native to Maine may need to be welcomed.
Nikos Kavanya says in the catalog introduction that he will be leaving the company after more than 40 years. I have always enjoyed her insight.
Typical of the non-gardening but still interesting items in the apples section of the Trees catalog is the “No Direction Home”. This work states that horses were native to North America when land bridges to Asia existed. Those horses scattered apple seeds all over Asia and the Caucasus Mountains of Europe. I have nothing to refute or support that information, but it’s something to think about.
New Gloucester’s Pinetree Garden Seeds are also a favorite. With 43 years of business, the company specializes in small packet seeds. This means that people with small garden plots can plant whole packets and don’t have to worry about storing seeds over the winter.
One item I absolutely want to try is the Clancy Potatoes. In July I discovered that some of my potatoes were bearing little tomato-like seeds. They are called potato berries and contain seeds. I read at the time that it was impractical to plant these seeds because they don’t replicate their parents.Clancy, winner of the 2019 All-America Selection, grows from seed. The skin of the potato is reddish, and the pulp is rather creamy. It can be grown in containers or grown directly in the garden.
We grow a lot of potatoes and store them as seed potatoes for each season. Clancy’s food potential is not needed. The real purpose of our garden is to entertain us. I think this potato is interesting.
Wood Prairie Farms was the first company I purchased many of the seed potatoes that I grow each year. Wood Prairie Farms is a family-owned organic potato farm in Aroostook County that has expanded to other organic seeds and vegetables.
Wood Prairie Farm is offering four new potato varieties this year. The one that seems to me the best is Salpo Mila, a red-skinned, disease-resistant variety from Hungary. The company’s website says many varieties are out of stock and may sell out.
Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Winslow has an attractive 208-page glossy catalog that sells a wide variety of vegetables (many of which have been developed by its staff) in addition to gardening supplies. Fedco and Pinetree also sell garden supplies.
I wrote about the National Selection Award-winning Sweet Jade Squash and its creator last week, but that’s just one of about 75 referrals listed throughout the catalog. In addition to Sweet Jade, we may order other new varieties.
I try to do most of my plant and seed purchases with businesses in Maine. I have met many of their workers and written about them. I like helping the local economy.
But sometimes we buy from out-of-state catalogs. Our favorite is the Old House Gardens in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They specialize in vintage spring and fall bulbous plants, some dating back to the 1600s. Some growers in Maine produce Old House Gardens bulbs, and they received a warm welcome when I visited town for my niece’s wedding.
More catalogs are coming. Reading them and researching more of the ones mentioned here should keep you entertained on many cold Maine days.
Tom Atwell is a freelance writer gardening in Cape Elizabeth. Contact information is as follows: [email protected]