If you're a Plantaholic like me, the New Year means one thing -- it's time to sit down and enjoy all the plant and seed catalogs that arrived in the mail over the past month or so.
This is serious stuff for us Hort Heads (that's short for horticulture -- for the non-gardeners among us). Getting ready to see the latest varieties of mint discovered by Richters (the Herb Gods in Canada) or the hottest hues in annuals introduced at White Flower Farm (just over the border in Litchfield, Conn.!) requires a certain amount of pre-reading ceremony. My tradition goes this way: Resist reading the catalogs as they arrive and collect them in a pile until the first week in January. Select day with block of uninterrupted time. Prepare beverage (a nice pot of tea works well) and grab a handful of sticky notes or page markers and highlighters. Get out garden notebook/diary. Hide Visa card. Find cozy spot. Read. Mark favorites. Dream.
Even if the holidays brought me, say, a gift certificate to White Flower Farm in Litchfield or Phantom Gardener in Rhinebeck or my local Adams Fairacre Farms or Catskill Native Nursery in Kerhonkson – I still need to go through the plant catalog routine. It’s an obsession. ☺
Speaking of plants and seeds, I received this recent e-mail from the Hudson Valley Seed Library, which is a wonderful, relatively new organization with a great purpose.
This February, the Hudson Valley Seed Library will be offering seeds from over 35 varieties of vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Varieties were carefully selected based on adaptability to our region, historical significance, excellent flavor, and unusual beauty. Seeds came from the most reputable, responsible, and sustainable sources. No seeds in the collection are GE or even affiliated with any bio-tech corporations, most are organic, all are open-pollinated, and a unique selection were locally grown. This year’s seed company sources include Seed Saver’s Exchange, Baker Creek, and FEDCO. Locally grown seeds in the Seed Library came from the Gardiner Library, unique donations from backyard gardeners, and seeds saved during a workshop at Phillies Bridge Farm.
For the first time, seeds will be available for sale and check-out at multiple locations. Sites include the Gardiner Library, the February 9th and March 8th Winter Sun Farm winter markets at Deyo Hall, and other High Falls, New Paltz, and Woodstock locations to be announced. The book library part for the Seed Library has grown as well. We have added another 25 books on seeds, seed saving, food politics, heirloom gardening, and horticultural history. Another exciting new part of the library is our collection of seed ephemera. Vintage seed packets, catalogs, advertisements, and more will be on display starting in February.
The Hudson Valley Seed Library is actively looking for donations and volunteers. We especially need help creating a website, printing materials, filling seed packets, and growing out local varieties to increase seed stock. Those donating time or money can receive free seeds and be included in print and online publicity. Hudson Valley Seed Library members can send in special seed requests by January 4th , receive discounts on attending seed saving workshops and purchasing seeds, and check out Seed Library seeds for free. Seed Library membership is free by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For seed related news, issues, book reviews, seed saving tips, and the latest Seed Library happenings, subscribe to the fledgling Seed Library Blog at seedlibrary.blogspot.com.