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Garden catalogs are coming early.

Byline: Paul Rogers

COLUMN: Roots o Wisdom

Thirty-five days until the Winter Solstice, the official beginning of winter, why have garden seed catalogs begun to fill mailboxes? There are several reasons, but even more interesting are the locations of the seed houses and their primary orientation. Homeowners can assume that several major gardening trends are in operation. I rate it as highly unusual that gardening catalogs are competing with Christmas catalogs for space in my mailbox before the end of November.

Look with me at the first four seed catalogs to arrive. Three of four catalogs are from locally based companies. Three out of four, not the same three, have a strong organic and heirloom-plant orientation. All four have earned excellent reputations for their vegetable seed offerings in addition to their sales of flower seeds.

Who are these companies that are providing gardeners with an early "fix" for their addiction to all things horticultural? One is Johnny's Selected Seeds, 955 Benton Avenue, Winslow, ME 04901-2601. Their phone number is (877) JOHNNYS or (508) 564-5597, and to find them on the Web visit www.Johnnyseeds.com. The front cover shows peppers, garlic and Chinese Lanterns. The back cover features an Acorn squash named Honey Bear, which is an All-American Selections Winner for 2009.

Before even opening this 200-page dream-book, we read that it contains 300 organic products and 200 new products. For those gardeners who know of this 36-year-old company, no praise by me is needed. New gardeners, however, are in for a treat. They will discover what a dedicated staff with a commitment to excellence has been sharing with gardeners for almost four decades.

Not too distant in miles or orientation from Johnny's is the Pinetree Garden Seeds company, P.O. Box 300, New Gloucester, ME, 04260. Reach them by phone at (207) 926-3400 and through the Web at www.superseeds.com. Their emphasis of heirloom varieties of vegetables like Jacob's Cattle beans, Round Black radish, Moon & Stars watermelon, Black Krim tomato and Alderman peas provides a welcome opportunity to acquire and grow vegetables that have praise-worthy track records reaching back more than 100 years.

The third seed company no more needs an introduction than Johnny's. Stokes Seeds Inc., Box 548, Buffalo, NY, 14240-0548 has been providing quality seed to gardeners in Canada and the US for 127 years. Reach them by phone at (800) 263-7233 or online at www.stokeseeds.com. The trial and research grounds at Stokes have been the breeding and testing sites of numerous northern-hardy vegetables and flowers. If you do not believe that vegetables can be beautiful, turn to page 21 and experience the pictures of cauliflower!

Again, we need not travel far to look in at High Mowing Organic Seeds, 76 Quarry Road, Wolcott, VT, 05680. Their phone number is (802) 472-6174 and Web address is www.highmowingseeds.com. They are a young company, only 12 years old, but they project the vigor, idealism and energy that is the basis for service and success.

One only needs to reflect that in only a dozen years they have produced a USDA 100 percent certified organic seeds company in a climate that is damp, cold, with a short growing season and long winters.

As with the other three seed companies, High Mowing Organic Seeds has earned our support and business.
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Title Annotation:LIVING
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 20, 2008
Words:554
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