Holiday season came early this year


Ugh:  yet another photo of a page out of a book that you probably can’t read!

I curled up in bed with my highlighter and my 2009 Fedco Seeds catalog yesterday.

I will not claim that this outfit is all things to all gardeners, because it is not.  Even if Fedco has a nationwide reach now, it is avowedly pro-Maine in its seed selections as far as climate goes.  The seeds it sells that won’t reliably perform well in its home state tend to get a big disclaimer in their description, to the effect that the variety “will grow in a good season.”  Point taken.  And every year, I always have to go to another seed outfit or two to retrieve all that I need for the homestead, but every year, Fedco reliably adds a wanted item to its catalog, usually a year after I have bought the variety elsewhere.  (Good King Henry is this year’s addition.)

But I will show you why I love this catalog so:  Here is a photo of the example page showing how people should fill in group orders. As an example, it used the Wall Street recipients of the government’s $700B federal bailout, and addressed the order to The Bail Outs, c/o Henry (Hank) Paulson.

Now who said gardening wasn’t a political act?

15 responses to “Holiday season came early this year

  1. Ahh, the Fedco wishbook. I LOVE it, the pilitical commentary, the awareness raising about the state of seeds and agriculture, and the fabulous seed descriptions. Those writers could sell fur coats in hell.

    I’ve been trying to save my seed catalog reading until the dark dreary days in January.

  2. You are seriously threatening my resolve to delay garden dreaming until after the holidays, when I may desperately need a distraction. Post holiday season has always been a busy time for me, but if the gloom continues as predicted, stenciling could get bumped right off of people’s lists.
    I’ll need a huge stack of catalogs to get through the quiet days. Do you think Hank will send me some bailout bucks for my seed orders?

  3. LOL! I curled up with the Fedco catalog (and highlighter) a couple of nights ago. Glad to see I’m not the only one doing that kind of bedtime reading! My husband just rolls his eyes.

    After so many varieties sold out early last year, and the cruddy growing weather this year, I’m not putting off my orders. My neighbors and I are getting together right after Xmas, and getting our orders in!

  4. Good King Henry, I’ve had this on my wanted list for a while now. Dave Jacke highly recommends this variety. So many perennials out there with lots of breeding potential.

  5. It’s snowing! How you do dat?

  6. Thank the Heavens,Till I read cookiecrumb’s post I thought the letters were dripping on my computer.

  7. Okay, okay. I was going to put this off for a month at least. But between you and Sharon, you’ve convinced me to get the seed order sorted out more or less right away. So I sat down and went through my plans and the catalogs for a few hours. The bulk of my order will go to Fedco, but some things I’ll need to order through Seed Saver’s Exchange. Possibly one item through Seeds of Change too. No one has everything I want. Now I’m just waiting to hear from a friend to see if we can combine orders and save on shipping, tightwad that I am.

    Hope you’re enjoying your weekend, El.

  8. Ah, the Fedco catalog! As soon as it arrived in the mail, it topped everything else on my stack of bedside reading. I happily marked it up with my red pen that night, dreaming of spring. I love Fedco.

  9. Ah, Ali of the Delayed Gratification. I am with you, actually; probably won’t actually order anything until Jan. but it’s nice to stop and think now. Distracts me from what should really be accomplished, anyway…

    Pamela, Hank might not send you a check but Obama might. What more earnest way of shoring up the economy than growing something, eh? I told Tom that if we do get another stimulus check, we shouldn’t bank this one but I should get another thing knocked off my homestead list (dehydrator, grain mill, more orchard trees). I actually look forward to January, frankly!!

    Linda, yeah, that ain’t the half of it. This catalog is great for a whole bunch of reasons.

    Kristi, I wonder how many of us were curled up in bed with highlighters last week? Tens, hundreds? Thousands? But yes, it’s a good idea that you guys are planning to get your stuff in early. I ordered last December and they were already out of the Gilfeather turnip and something else that I had my hopes on…sorry to put a fire under you but there doesn’t seem to be such a thing as “too early” with this outfit.

    TLG, I will let you know about Good King Henry this spring. It takes 2 years to get going. But, like anything that was commonly grown before that has lost favor: there has to be a good reason for it. With Good King Henry it’s that it’s nothing more than a weed, really, and it can’t be stored at all: two good reasons it’s not widely grown. I was intrigued by the idea of growing a fresh veg 2 weeks before Asparagus Season.

    CC, John: I hope it didn’t freak you out too much. I likes me some snow and as far as cutesy effects this is kind of benign. It’s only temporary though.

    Kate, it’s great you have someone to piggyback your order with! I am all for that kind of thrift, frankly. Mentally, I haven’t really fully gone there, but I do have a running list in my head of things that I do not save the seeds of (cucumbers, broccoli family) and things that I plain ran out of (celeriac). And then there’s the Reward the Hardworking Gardener list. And on and on.

    Annika, isn’t it great? I actually did spend a late night thinking about new garden possibilities the night I marked up my catalog!

  10. I don’t understand “avowedly pro-Maine.”

    Maine’s climate goes all the way from 5a at the coast (where I am) to Zone 3b in Aroostook County, on the Canadian border. According to the USDA maps, Michigan goes from 3b to one small pocket of 6b. Not much different.

    If Fedco’s seeds do well in what is essentially five different growing zones in Maine, I’m not getting why that is significant for Michigan. … ?

    • Hey Firefly. I guess I don’t understand it either, but Fedco’s copy seems often to midline in mid-Maine, which according to your checking, would be zone 4. Nothing at all wrong with living in Zone 4, don’t get me wrong…but, isn’t one of the best things about gardening to be found in IGNORING hardiness labels? Anyway, I think anyone who reads the catalog would quickly notice they tend to favor crops that work well in short seasons. There are no cowpeas, hardly any melons, only 2 varieties of okra, no peanuts, etc. That’s all I meant by avowedly pro-Maine. I guess if anything some descriptions sound either defeatist (can’t be grown here reliably) or congratulatory (can be grown in a good season) depending on your outlook. But yes, gardening in Michigan can be done in extremis, just like lots of other things here…unemployment, weather, plant closings, foreclosures, gun ownership, etc. etc.

  11. Growing food it totally a political act. More so each day as our ‘powers that be’ pass more and more ridiculous legislation that erodes our food security and food sovereignty!

  12. Don’t mind me, I’m groggy from the short days and lack of sunshine — now I can see, especially with a greenhouse, why short-season limits on seeds might not work so well.

    I thought you meant there was something significant about the Michigan climate not revealed in the hardiness maps.

    Instead, it was something significant in the *gardener* not revealed by the hardiness zone maps. 😉

  13. HDR, I agree. Who’d have thought something so…traditional as food-growing could have a radicalist tinge to it? I guess it does if you don’t buy Monsanto’s seed! Save your seeds, I say.

    Firefly, well, actually what you caught in me is a touch of jealousy. Maine and Minnesota both are pretty pro-native. Michigan isn’t, hardly. And it should be considering all the good that IS grown and made and done here. I am trying to do what I can to show how wonderful I think life here can be but I do run into Defeat 101 at every flipping turn so I get pretty exasperated, quickly. Especially when the economy nosedives! Well hell our apples, cherries, blueberries and peaches don’t care, you know?

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