|Have you ever seen a Backpacker tomato?|
Seed catalogs get gardeners through the cold months, the rain, the snow, the wind, and the lack of eggs from lazy chickens. Right about now, when the last few struggling plants have blackened and shriveled back into the mulch that covered their roots through the first freezing nights and blankets of snow, the mind of a city farmer turns to thoughts of spring.
|Our trusty Subaru beneath a cozy blanket of snow. Heated seats and all-wheel drive make snow like this a pure joy.|
Well, almost every city farmer thinks of spring. There are many weeks to get to that phase, and in the meantime..... I love winter. It's such a wonderful season of darkness and slowing down (when we can), of warm fires and hot chocolate, baking and simmering, twinkling lights and the smell of snow in the air. We took a day trip to Leavenworth last weekend. It snowed at least fifteen inches in five hours. We shopped and walked through the bustling streets of the small tourist town, aka Bavarian Vegas, which was the description offered by one group of people who slid past us on the icy path. The lights came on in the early evening, and we watched children sled down a small hill in the center of town. It sealed the deal that the holidays were really upon us. We might just make that trip a seasonal tradition.
|What happens in Leavenworth, stays in Leavenworth.|
And while I'm off the subject, let me also mention that I am especially grateful for the three week break from college. I apologize for my lack of presence lately, but essays and exams take over my life at times. Working full time and going to school full time leaves room for little else, so I'm trying to savor as much of the season as I can before the rush comes back to our day-to-day.
But back to the seeds. And spring. I do love spring, despite the fact that I must give up winter to get to it. Spring always starts with a stirring desire to plant seeds in little pots. I get to the point in winter where I genuinely need little green things around me. It's like a desire to nest. I get broody and need to feel dirt under my fingers.
|See what I mean? Centerfold. I thought about taking this on my train ride to work, but I think I'd actually blush if I got busted staring at the winter squash.|
I know this is coming, and I am armed with catalogs. This year I was especially on top of things, and the seeds are not only ordered, they have indeed arrived. They'll sit in the shortbread tin on the counter until the days begin to warm and the planting itch starts. If only I had known a new catalog was on its way.
Enter Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
In all honesty, I cannot say that I have ever seen a more beautiful seed catalog in my many years of gardening and farming. It was more like a magazine, a full spread of lingerie-like-lettuces and centerfold squashes ready to jump from the pages and plant themselves in the waiting raised beds of my imagination. Page after page of sweet and hot peppers made me salivate for the salsa I've never made but dreamt about. Clusters of bright red, striped green, flat, skinny, round, ripe tomatoes tempted me and made me forget, if only for a moment, that the more tropical plants barely survive in our cool, northern climate. Nine types of rutabaga, twice as many turnips, mysteries from Siberia and parts of Russia, stabilized and imported for you to welcome into your vegetable rows amazed me. I began to rethink that seed order, paid for and received, planned, simply waiting for an opportunity, sitting in a shortbread tin with stray packets of those little dessicants they put in shoe boxes. How could I not include these new (old) heirloom plants? Would I find satisfaction with my meager stock of plain cukes and ordinary beans? More importantly, how could I get away with making another seed order without my girlfriend catching me?
Maybe you don't need this kind of conflict in your life. If that's the case, forget I mentioned this HEART-STOPPINGLY-GORGEOUS seed catalog. Spare yourself the agony of choosing between the hundreds of varieties of names like Hero of Lockinge Melon, or Little Fingers Eggplant, or Crapaudine Beet.
But if you're at a friend's house, and you see this catalog lying around, tempting you with glimpses of full color photographs and delectible descriptions, resist the urge to pick it up before you're ruined like me. I don't think I can ever go back to the pale, two-dimensional life of other seed catalogs again.