It used to be an annual ritual after the holidays to sit down and peruse the seed catalogs that had just arrived in the mail. These days, the catalogs arrive early, but I still resist the temptation and don't look at them until January.
While the big companies dominate the seed catalog industry, I like looking at some of the smaller, more specialized seed catalogs. They may focus on one vegetable, like unusual heirlooms or varieties from foreign countries. For any gardener, it's always great to try something new.
I do have some tips, though, for a gardener venturing into the land of the unusual varieties:
- First of all, remember where you live. Vermont has a short growing season with not many summer days that are truly hot.
- Stick with varieties that grow successfully in similar climates. Even with that, you still may have a failure.
And now for this week's tip: Use branches from your live Christmas tree to cover tender perennials such as lavender and hardy hibiscus. Not only do the evergreen boughs prevent freezing and thawing, they collect snow to provide more insulation.