Seed Catalog Frenzy

Author Photo
By Sheila Julson

Here in Wisconsin, we’re in the midst of yet another Arctic blast. Many schools and businesses are closed, energetic housebound kids are driving parents bonkers, games of fetch with our canines are played indoors (oops, there goes the lamp!), and it’s even too cold to partake in our fun winter activities like ice skating or sledding.

Yet being shut in for a couple of days gives me time to examine the seed catalogs that have arrived; a sign that warmer days are ahead. During my first read through the catalogs, I have my trustee Sharpie to mark everything of interest. I begin slowly, placing an “X” next to items I wish to order.

It wasn’t long before I had three varieties of bok choy, Calabrese and purple sprouting broccoli, and four types of carrots marked with a large X. Resembling a student attempting to finish a test before the bell rang, I hunched over the catalog, fingers firmly grasped around the Sharpie, as I rapidly marked more and more veggie varieties that looked good, or that I’ve seen in tasty recipes. I wanted to try anything and everything.

By the time I got to the Greens category – not even halfway through the alphabet – I was over $100 in, and I would need two more backyards. Yet I kept going: oasis chrysanthemum greens, salad rocket arugula, Endive di Rufec (don’t know what that is, but it’s sounds tasty and exotic), Italiko Rosso Chicory, Southern Giant Mustard Greens …

As the wind howled outside and rattled the panes of glass in the windows of my 1925 home, I envisioned warm summer days surrounded by the greenery from my bountiful garden. Not price, nor lack of space, nor climate conditions could stop me and my Sharpie as I madly kept going: Genovese basil, lemon basil, Thai basil, cilantro, bouquet dill, lemongrass, sage, thyme, baby lettuce blend, organic lettuce blend, buttercrunch lettuce, romaine lettuce blend.

Peas! Peppers! I marked golden sweet peas, Oregon sugar pod II pea, Jupiter bell pepper, early jalapeno pepper …

By the time I got through the Tomatoes section, every seed variety had a faded “X” next to it as my Sharpie ran dry. Had I ordered every X’ed item, the bill would have been a few hundred dollars and I would have needed a couple of greenhouses or hoop houses to get the seedlings started. Oh, and about three more acres of land.

Another blast of wind blew against my window and rattled the pane with all its might, shaking me from my Supergarden fantasy. I sadly realized that I would have to grab a new Sharpie and start Round Two; a reality round based on my budget, space, and the growing climate of the Midwest.

But that can wait until the next day I’m housebound.

Published on Jan 28, 2014