Time to Break Out Your Seed Catalogs

Craig McCord

Craig McCord › Craig possesses 23 guitars and cannot play any of them. He likes fresh grilled sardines with a ...


This is the time of the year to pore over your favorite seed catalogs.

It’s getting close to the time when the dormant soil warms to the task of producing good food.

We admire those who can’t wait to put in their vegetable gardens at the first sign of spring.

The positive side of the ledger tells us that there’s plenty of satisfaction to make it all worth it but, as we all know, it involves lots of work.

Robert Brault said it best when he said, “If you’ve never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden.”

This post is not an encyclopedic look into vegetable gardening. No, this is meant to be a starting point.

Now is the time to dog ear the pages of your seed catalogs, to starting sketching out your plot, and to get excited about the possibilities of this year’s garden.


Seed Savers Exchange has an interesting garden planner. Their website explains:

Our Garden Planner makes it easy to draw out your vegetable beds, add plants and move them around to get the perfect layout. Either feet and inches or metric units are supported and any shape of garden can be created.

Whether you use traditional row planting, raised beds or Square Foot Gardening the Seed Savers Exchange Garden Planner adapts to suit your gardening style.

Their planner contains a database of over 180 vegetables, herbs and fruits with detailed growing information “just a click away”. There is a free 30-day trial where a full-feature version of the Garden Planner is available. You can create up to 5 plans with all the advanced features. There is no obligation, but at the end of the trail period one may decide to subscribe for $25 per year. You can investigate their planner and watch an informative video about how it works here.


It is impossible to grow great-tasting vegetables and fruits without planting great seeds.

We are partial to Jere Gettle’s Baker Creek Seeds, from southern Missouri. He sat down with Slow Films to give his opinions on seeds and how important they are in all of our lives. He has heirloom, rare and hard-to-find seeds and his catalog is gorgeous.

Of course, Baker Creek Seed is not the only catalog out there.

On his blog, William Rubel has an exhaustive review of what he considers the top-tier seed companies. (yes, Baker Creek is on his list!) Here’s what he says on his site:

Online vegetable seed catalogs offer an almost unlimited wealth of choices for the home gardener and small farmer. I try in my reviews of seed companies to highlight good collections of heirloom vegetable seeds, and seed collections with strong regional offerings.

From Amishland Heirloom Seeds to Vreeken’s Zaden (It’s a Dutch site but it’s indexed by by Dutch, English, and Latin plant names.) Mr. Rubel has complied one of the most comprehensive list of seed suppliers we have seen in a long time. Definitely worth checking out.


Garden Tool Company is a great source for gardeners. They have a common sense approach to tools. This is from their site:

While some would tell you that there is some magic list of garden tools that every gardener should have, the simple fact is, gardeners come in all shapes, sizes and needs.

We are short and tall, right and left handed, large vegetable garden, a small flower bed or our favorite plants on the balcony, but one thing we all have in common is, we want our garden tools to last and to work as hard as we do.

Like us, garden tools too come in all shapes, sizes and ways we can use them. A simple hand hoe that may be perfect for someone weeding a flower bed may also be the favorite tool for a vegetable gardener making furrows for seeds.


Organic Gardening has 7 secrets for a high-yield-vegetable garden. This is good, valuable information.

This quote from Lester Brown is on Food Matters and it refers to their number 3 reason for growing one’s own food from their Top 10 Reasons to grow your Own Organic Food.

“We have not inherited the Earth from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children.”

This is Food Matters reason number three: To protect future generations.

That seems reason enough for us. Have a good growing season, everybody.

What did we leave out of this post? Give us your good ideas about growing your own food. What are you gardening secrets?

Photo credit: Craig McCord